Williamsburg, VA  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Williamsburg Area Features


Photo Credit: Hampton CVB

The glistening waterfront, the Virginia Air & Space Center seemingly poised for flight, the eclectic shops of Phoebus, downtown Hampton and Coliseum Central, the history of Fort Monroe and Hampton University, and the serenity of the Chesapeake Bay are all features that set Hampton apart.

On November 1, 2011, President Barack Obama proclaimed Fort Monroe a national monument after nearly 180 years of a federal military presence at the moat-encircled stone fortification. Fort Monroe is also the site of the arrival of the first Africans in English North America in 1619.

Throw on some headphones and enjoy Hampton’s smartphone walking tours, a group of tours that interpret the city’s historic past while helping visitors discover present gems. There are six total routes: Hampton University Campus, downtown Hampton, Virginia Air & Space Center, Fort Monroe, Phoebus, and Hampton’s Historic Neighborhoods. Download tours free from iTunes or www.visithampton.com.

Just blocks from the Hampton Roads Convention Center and the majority of Hampton’s hotel inventory sits the Peninsula Town Center. The lifestyle activity hub features retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Hollister, and H & M, as well as restaurants like Sushi King, Monsoon, Sweet Teas, Avenue Blue, Park Lane Tavern, and Bar Louie’s. Don’t forget to catch a movie at Cinebistro, an ultra-luxurious movie theatre and dining experience.
Hampton’s remarkable heritage as the nation’s oldest continuous English-speaking settlement is showcased in the Hampton History Museum. Explorer Captain John Smith, Blackbeard the pirate, Booker T. Washington, and America’s first astronauts, the Mercury Seven, have all played integral parts in creating a distinctive Hampton timeline to be displayed in ten permanent galleries.

The visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center and Langley Air Force Base, the Virginia Air & Space Center, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2017, features the “Adventures in Flight” and “Space Quest” galleries as well as over 100 “hands-on” exhibits. See the Apollo 12 Command Module, a Mars meteorite, and a three-billion-year-old moon rock!

The Miss Hampton II, Hampton’s double-decked tour boat, offers daily narrated cruises of the Hampton Roads Harbor and Chesapeake Bay. Get a taste of Hampton’s seafaring culture as you take to the water to see local fishing boats, mighty commercial cargo ships, Blackbeard’s Point, and more.

Hampton University, founded in 1868, is a short walk from downtown. Hampton University Museum (the oldest African American Museum in the US) maintains a collection of more than 1,200 cultural artifacts and works of art.

The Casemate Museum chronicles the history of Fort Monroe and the Coast Artillery Corps with special emphasis on the Civil War. Each casemate showcases 19th and 20th century artifacts including artist renderings, uniforms, medical equipment, weapons, and more. In addition, the museum houses the actual room where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned during the Civil War.

Hampton ups the ante with the Sea to the Stars Ticket. Available at the Hampton Visitor Center, the ticket is good for a one-time admission to the Virginia Air & Space Center, IMAX® at the Virginia Air & Space Center, Miss Hampton II cruise, Hampton History Museum and the Hampton Carousel. The cost is $39 for adults, $25 youth ages 4 -11. For a free Hampton visitor guide and more information, call 800-800-2202 or go to www.visithampton.com

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