Williamsburg, VA  - Vacation Travel Guide

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Williamsburg Area Features

Enjoying Nature in our Natural Parks

Photo Credit: Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance

Just like in colonial times, natural settings are still abundant in the Historic Triangle. With the forests, rivers and grassy areas alongside gorgeous colonial backdrops, it’s no wonder that people like to play outdoors in this region. There are a lot of outdoor parks and recreational opportunities to choose from, so we’ve detailed some favorites that you may want to explore.

Freedom Park is located off Centerville Road in James City County and has a large variety of things to explore and do. Nestled within the 600-acre forest are trails for hiking and 20 miles of bike paths. Here you can also get a peek of the past at historic sites such as Revolutionary War battlegrounds, the remains of a home from the 17th century, and re-created buildings that accurately portray life in one of the nation’s first freed-slaves settlements. Nature lovers will enjoy birding, searching for wildlife, and touring the Williamsburg Botanical Gardens. Get an aerial view of the park and try zip-lining with Go Ape!

For the truly ambitious, bicyclists can take on the 51 miles of the Virginia Capital Trail. This paved trail connects Jamestown to Richmond with a lot to see and do along the way. Completed in 2015, the trail has restrooms, bike repair shops, and lodging and dining to make the journey a little easier. Hikers are also welcome on the trail and it’s a great place to walk your dog. Just remember to walk on the right so cyclists can pass you on the left.

In Williamsburg, visitors to Waller Mill Park will find ball fields, a disc-golf course, hiking trails and more. Many like to spend their time fishing or paddling around the lake that covers 360 acres. (Boats and fishing gear are available for rent.) The whole family will enjoy other features of the park including picnic areas, a playground and a dog park.

Located south of Yorktown is Newport News Park. Consisting of nearly 8,000 acres, it is one of the largest municipal parks east of the Mississippi River. Thirty miles of paths wind throughout the park and over bridged waterways. A unique feature of the park is the 5-star archery range, but there are also two golf courses, a ropes course, historic sites and more. Rent a rowboat or canoe for an enjoyable time on the water.

Fishing, boating, and hiking are just some of the activities the family can enjoy at York River State Park. This serene area boasts a beautiful natural setting and hours of fun. The park has more than nine trails spread over 30 miles for hiking, biking or horseback riding (mountain biking is only available on five dedicated trails). For a unique experience, stop by Fossil Beach on the Mattaponi Trail to look for shark’s teeth. Rent a canoe or kayak and paddle along the Taskinas Creek, exploring waterways and natural wildlife.

Many of these parks require a small fee for entry. There are also regulations pertaining to some activities such as horseback riding, fishing and boating, so be sure to double-check with each park you plan to visit. With a little proper planning, you’ll be able to escape to nature in no time. Almost all of the parks are dog friendly so your furry companions can join you for some exercise.

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