Williamsburg, VA  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Williamsburg Area Features


Photo Credit: Hampton CVB

Vibrant Hampton, a seaside city with exciting attractions and heritage sites, lures visitors with its family-friendly offerings. Whether it’s Civil War landmarks and historic fortresses like Fort Monroe National Monument, African American heritage sites, the NASA legacy of space exploration at the Virginia Air & Space Center or the seafaring legends founded on four centuries of Chesapeake Bay living, the destination appeals to visitors of all ages and interests.

An ideal way to explore Hampton is to purchase a Sea to Stars Ticket, which includes admission to Virginia Air & Space Center’s exhibits and 3-D Digital IMAX®, Hampton History Museum, the Hampton Carousel and a fascinating three-hour tour aboard the Miss Hampton II. Tickets are $39 for adults and $25 for youth ages 4 -11, and are available at the Hampton Visitor Center.

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.

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, and more. In addition, the museum houses the actual room where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned during the Civil War.

With many attractions located within a short walk of the Hampton Visitor Center, guests can easily explore Downtown Hampton on foot. Discover St. John’s Church, the historic Hampton Carousel (built by European artisans in 1920), harbor tours, charter-fishing vessels, and the Virginia Air & Space Center with its soaring roofline. The center offers displays of suspended aircraft, flight simulators and IMAX® films that provide hours of family entertainment.

The Hampton History Museum, also located downtown, showcases Hampton’s remarkable heritage as the nation’s oldest continuous English-speaking settlement. 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 tour aboard the Miss Hampton II winds visitors down the Hampton River past Hampton University and Fort Monroe to Fort Wool, where the vessel docks and passengers explore the island garrison located in the middle of Hampton Roads Harbor. The tour continues to Naval Station Norfolk, concluding with a history of the Battle of the Ironclads.

Hampton University Museum, the oldest African American museum in the U.S., is a short walk or drive from downtown Hampton. The museum’s collection contains more than 9,000 works of African, Pacific, Native American and African American fine and contemporary art and artifacts. The museum and university celebrate their 150th anniversary this year.

Hampton’s location on the Chesapeake Bay makes it the perfect place to take advantage of a day at the beach. Paradise Ocean Club at Fort Monroe offers private cabana rentals, swimming pool, and a private beach. Hampton Watersports, located at Buckroe Beach and other waterfront locations, offers a wide range of watercraft rentals in the summer, including jet skis, kayaks, paddleboards, and more.

Hampton’s decadent dining and eclectic retail round out the visitor experience. Hip, locally-owned establishments in Downtown, Phoebus, and Fort Monroe, including several new microbreweries, have mass appeal. Trendy eateries, as well as innovative special event venues, are complemented by specialty boutiques and national favorites presented at Peninsula Town Center, where visitors who come for a meal are compelled to stay for the day.

At VisitHampton.com you’ll find great destination information that unlocks the treasures of this maritime trove. For a free Hampton visitor guide, call 800-800-2202.

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