Jamestown picture
Tony the Misfit/Flickr

Key Info

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.9

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

You've probably heard the legends of the settlers that first arrived in the spring of 1607; of Captain John Smith's leadership; of Pocahontas' role in smoothing relations between the settlers and the Powhatan Confederacy. All these historical stories are on display in living museums, exhibits and monuments clustered around a parcel of land loosely known as "Jamestown." Despite its colloquial associations, this area is technically made up of several historic areas. First up: Historic Jamestowne, the actual archeological site on Jamestown Island where the original 1607 settlers were based. Next door is the Jamestown Settlement, a re-enactment museum with replicas of the settlers' ships, plus life-size models of their homes and the villages of the area's American Indians. And adjacent to that: Yorktown Victory Center, another open-air living museum that chronicles the British troops surrender to the United States at the Yorktown Battlefield in 1781.

As a whole, the Jamestown area receives favorable reviews for offering three intriguing historical attractions within one space. Travelers call Jamestown and its historic sites "captivating," "interesting" and a place where "history comes alive." Many were also impressed with the engaging tour guides.

The Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center are open every day (besides Christmas and New Year's Day) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (and until 6 p.m. June through August). Admission for adults costs $17 for a visit to Jamestown alone and $9.75 to visit only Yorktown Victory Center, or you can purchase a combo ticket and see both for $21.25. Discounts are available for kids 6 to 12. Visit the settlement's website for further details, including pricing for children. If you're only visiting Historic Jamestowne, note that this area is under the protection of the National Park Service. It's open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day, with a $14-per-person admission fee that's good for up to seven days.

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#1 Colonial Williamsburg

According to many, this site is like a Disney theme park for history fanatics. Plus, Colonial Williamsburg's appeal isn't just for kids but also for anyone who feels young at heart. Visitors to Colonial Williamsburg will be greeted with townspeople, shopkeepers, politicians, slaves and more who called the Revolutionary City home. More than 20 guided and self-guided tours are available on a daily basis, including ghost walks, garden tours, city itineraries and carriage rides. Travelers can also shop authentic wares and sample 18th-century-inspired meals.

Recent visitors praised Colonial Williamsburg, saying it offered an expertly recreated step back in time and helped them understand more about this period and our nation's history. This history-themed park also earns kudos for employing knowledgeable guides and maintaining pristine facilities throughout. However, travelers warn that the ticket prices to access Colonial Williamsburg are on the steep side.

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The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
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