The historic triangle of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, Virginia, are wonderful places for Americans to experience. With knowledgeable historians, park rangers, and archaeologists all around, these historic sites and museums will inform and excite guests about what happened in America’s past. Based on my experience with visiting the historic triangle two weeks ago, I want to offer a few tips to those who plan to visit in the future.
First of all, Williamsburg is best experienced in the last week of March through early May. Not many live-museum actors work in the “off-season” of January through March. Many colonial houses are closed that would be open later into the season, and there are no colonial soldier marches in the streets or live-action scenes. The weather can also be unpredictable early in the year, ranging from temperatures in the 70’s to the 40’s all in one week. If visiting during Spring Break, Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens offer a package that includes unlimited access to both attractions for the entire week for $100. This is by far the best deal available for families, considering that a single-day ticket to Busch Gardens costs $80. Anyone can walk around Williamsburg to look at the buildings, but to go in they must have a pass. I went in early March and decided that there was not enough activity available to justify buying a pass. However, walking around and enjoying the scenery was still an incredible experience.
My favorite site was Jamestown, which consisted of a national park side and a commercial replica side. I recommend arriving at Jamestown as soon as it opens at 9 am. With only time for one side, I visited the Jamestown National Park, which was the remnants of the actual site of the first permanent English settlement. It consisted of a tour led by park rangers, archaeologists, and an archaeological museum filled with over two million uncovered discoveries about the colonists. The replica of Jamestown looks just as archaeologists and historians believe it to have looked in the 17th century. It is a living museum just like Colonial Williamsburg and has replica ships to walk aboard as well.
Yorktown has recently added more activities to its agenda and now consists of a brand new Revolutionary War Museum as well as the actual battlefield of Yorktown. The battlefield is a national park and offers tours by park rangers just like Jamestown. An additional way to tour this site is by buying a car tour guide CD in the gift shop of the national park building for $5. It was much longer than expected, and I did not make it through every stop.
The national parks close at dusk and the museums close at 5pm, so getting an early start to everything that the historic triangle has to offer is the best way to make the most of a visit. Every park and museum is very well managed and provides an amazing opportunity to learn about the origins of the United States of America.