What’s there to do when visiting Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown with kids? I’m glad you asked. You can visit ships, farms, forts, Indian villages, army encampments, and that’s just to name a few. Here’s what you need to know about visiting Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown with kids.
Thank you, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, for hosting us. All opinions are my own.
Best Tips When Visiting Jamestown and Yorktown With Kids
When deciding where to visit and vacation with my family, I want them to experience something different each time. In my girls’ old elementary school, the 4th grade field trip was always to Jamestown Settlement. My oldest daughter couldn’t stop talking about it. Then we moved to Texas and changed schools.
Eventually we came back to Virginia, but their new schools didn’t have the same field trip. Luckily, we’re close enough to visit with our whole family. Admittedly, I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough for the little kids to do in Jamestown and Yorktown, but my fears were put to ease.
Between the exhibits and movies inside to the outdoor spaces, villages, and farms, your children can run out some energy!
Buy the Combo Ticket to Jamestown and Yorktown
One of the best tips when visiting Jamestown and Yorktown is to purchase the combination ticket! You won’t be able to do it all in one day. There are too many awesome things to see.
Visit Jamestown Settlement one day and then visit the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown the next day or vice versa. You decide. You’ll get 7 days of unlimited admission! Plus you’ll save 20% off the single admission price.
How much are tickets to Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown?
The combination tickets for adults are $26 and kids 6-12 are $12.50. Kids 6 and under are free! Purchase your tickets online!
Where to Stay When Visiting Jamestown and Yorktown
Staying in Williamsburg is close enough to both Jamestown and Yorktown, plus you get the benefit of all the restaurants nearby. We stayed at the Holiday Inn & Suites Williamsburg-Historic Gateway and had a fabulous time! With our larger family, we stayed in two connecting rooms, but they also offer suites.
The rooms were clean, had a mini fridge, a desk, and they also had an indoor pool! My kids loved being able to swim at night, and even sat in the hot tub for a few minutes. If there’s a pool, my kids are happy! Plus, the location was central to everything we needed.
Where to Eat in Jamestown and Yorktown
While visiting the Jamestown Settlement and American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, we didn’t want to leave the fun, so we ate at both food courts. The selection was plentiful, and the prices were reasonable.
In Yorktown I ate chili and cornbread while the kids opted for sandwiches and brownies as big as your head. The dining area at the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown is smaller and has a quaint feel and closes earlier than the museum hours.
At Jamestown Settlement, the quick-service dining location is bigger and has plenty of options for everyone like salads, pizza, chicken fingers, ice cream, and jello. Oh how we ate our weight in jello. We liked it so much, we ate there twice!
My best advice is to arrive early, like right when they open, or stay later. Jamestown Settlement is popular and can get crowded. I had to laugh as we walked to the Jamestown Settlement outside areas, and the people behind me yelled, “This is way better than Busch Gardens!” I admit, it is very impressive.
You get a real feel of what it was like to live in Jamestown at James Fort. You can walk through buildings and live a day in the life. You’ll see bedrooms, an Anglican church, furniture, kitchens, weapons, etc. Plus there are historical interpreters that give you more information and offer demonstrations on meal prep and how to fire a musket.
Jamestown Settlement Ships
Exploring the Jamestown Settlement ships were probably my 6-year-old’s favorite part. Being able to go onboard and below deck provided her a sense of adventure.
Re-creations of three ships that brought America’s first permanent English colonists to Virginia in 1607 are moored at Jamestown Settlement’s pier for visitors to board and explore.
Powhatan Indian Village
You can also explore the Powhatan way of life in a re-created village featuring reed-covered houses, crops and a ceremonial circle of carved wooden posts. Learn about the world of Pocahontas, daughter of Powhatan. The whole village was really beautiful.
TENACITY – Women of Jamestown and Early Virginia
As the mother of 5 girls, TENACITY was the exhibit I was waiting to see. TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia,” is a special yearlong exhibition on display November 10, 2018, to January 5, 2020. It explores little-known, captivating personal stories of real women in Jamestown and the early Virginia colony.
The exhibit is very powerful and meaningful, describing women in different roles, each offering their own contributions. At the end you can see examples of modern role models and even have your picture taken and added to a timeline for your personal contributions to the world. It made me grateful for the responsibility and honor of raising 5 young women.
The gift shop upstairs had a ton of merchandise reflecting the power and importance of women in history. I even purchased a “Votes for Women” mug. I loved it! It reminded me of Mary Poppins and the Sister Suffregette scene.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
If your kids are a fan of Hamilton, then they’ll love the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. My kids learned all about Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration of Independence and even read Common Sense by Thomas Paine, like the lyrics of The Schuyler Sisters.
The Continental Army Encampment
Here you’ll get to experience what life was like for a soldier in the Revolutionary War. You can walk into the tents, see their bedding and clothing, and talk to volunteers portraying soldiers.
The kids loved being able to be a part of the action. We saw a musket demonstration, and they all got to hold one. It was a lot heavier than they thought!
While learning in textbooks and online is a more practical way to learn America’s history, it’s the hands-on learning that makes a powerful impact. My 6-year-old loved pretending to write letters while sporting a revolutionary hat.
Her older sisters, meanwhile, decided to test out the sleeping quarters.
Jamestown and Yorktown For Little Ones
If you have little ones and are visiting Jamestown and Yorktown, I suggest doing a combination of indoor and outdoor activities. Watch a movie, then take a look outside. Come back and explore more exhibits, then venture outdoors again.
We also grabbed lunch, made pressed pennies, got snacks, and explored. Everyone had a great time, and I think my husband could have stayed there for several more days reading all the information at every gallery.
If I say the phrase, “History is fun!” I may get some eye rolls from a couple of my kids. But when I say, let’s go pretend we’re a colonist, their smiles get big, and they know exactly what I’m talking about.
Learn more about what we experienced at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown in this video!