Best Family Vacations Within 2 Hours of Richmond

Family vacationsFor most families, summer means family vacations – and with good reason. Not only is the weather warm and sunny, but with kids out of school and many sports and extracurricular activities on hold, schedules become more flexible…for the kids, at least. For parents, on the other hand, getting away for a long summer vacation may prove more difficult thanks to the demands of work, budgets and life in general. And while it’s nice to daydream about taking the family to Hawaii or on a two-week Caribbean cruise, sometimes we need to find something a little closer to home.

With its central location in the state of Virginia, Richmond is perfectly situated to offer a wide variety of family vacations that are fun, exciting, diverse, and best of all, within a two-hour drive of the city.

If you’re looking for a fun but easy-to-access family vacation idea, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re looking to camp, explore historical sites, ride roller coasters, or just sit on the beach with your toes in the sand, the perfect family getaway is closer than you think.

We’ve collected a few of our favorite vacation ideas for each of the following categories:

BEACH AND COASTAL VACATIONS
LAKES
THEME PARKS / RESORTS
HISTORY

BEACH AND COASTAL FAMILY VACATIONS

From the popular boardwalk at Virginia Beach to the quieter neighborhoods along the coastline to quaint Chesapeake Bay and Potomac River beach towns, you’ll find plenty of sand, sun and fun on Virginia’s shores. Be sure to check out our suggestions below and visit our Guide to the Best Beaches in Virginia for even more ideas.

Virginia Beach Area

Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 45 minutes

The Virginia Beach Oceanfront isn’t just a popular destination for Virginia residents, people from all over the East Coast head to Virginia’s shoreline to enjoy golden sands, rolling surf and the busy boardwalk. Known as “the resort area,” the oceanfront tends to be a more commercial getaway than some of the quieter beaches of the Chesapeake Bay or Sandbridge area. But when it comes to non-stop family fun, Virginia Beach oceanfront does not disappoint with a surplus of great restaurants, shopping and family-friendly activities.

Summertime is an especially popular time at the oceanfront with ongoing concerts and festivals, as well special daily events and permanent attractions. Enjoy the activity along the three-mile boardwalk or take the family out for local activities like Rudee Tours’ fishing or dolphin watching tours, Ocean Breeze Waterpark or the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.

To get the most out of your Virginia Beach experience, check out Visit Virginia Beach: Resort for tips and recommendations on where to stay and eat, as well as up-to-date listings all of the many activities available during the busy summer months.

 

Sandbridge

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 2 hours

If you’re looking for a quieter, residential beach experience (but don’t want to drive all the way to the Outer Banks), then Sandbridge offers the perfect option for you and your family. Located just south of the Virginia Beach resort area, Sandbridge offers five miles of coastline featuring quiet beach houses, restaurants and shops. Because Sandbridge tends to have more homes than condos or hotels, it’s an ideal place to take a vacation with extended family or with groups of friends and their families.

If you get tired of the beach (is that possible?) or simply need activities to keep everyone entertained, you’ll find plenty of local attractions like Hunt Club Farm, Sandbridge Little Island Park and Fishing Pier, or Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Want to explore some of the area’s history? Try First Landing State Park to see where English colonists first landed in 1607.

For local house rentals, attractions and tips for making the most of the Sandbridge area, be sure to take a look at Visit Virginia Beach: Sandbridge for up-to-date information, ideas and vacation inspiration.

 

Chesapeake Bay Area

The Chesapeake Bay is not only the nation’s largest estuary, it also offers some of Virginia’s best vacation spots. While the Chesapeake Bay extends into Maryland to the north, the southern point lands in Virginia and encompasses a number of beautiful small towns, historic sites and quiet beaches. The bay has long been known for its crabbing and oysters, both of which have seen a resurgence over the last few years. If you’re looking for a quiet family getaway, try some of these quaint towns:

Cape Charles

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 2 hours

The Town of Cape Charles boasts a long history beginning in 1886 when it served as the economic center of Northampton County. Today, it is a peaceful, waterfront haven along the Chesapeake Bay with historic sites, cultural attractions, local restaurants (with plenty of fresh seafood), galleries, boutiques and more. As for beach life, in addition to Cape Charles Town Beach with its park-like setting, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for crabbing, fishing, kayaking, and paddle boarding. Check out the Cape Charles Fishing Pier, book tours or rent kayaks at Southeast Expeditions, or learn local history at the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center.

For ideas on where to stay, what to see and up-to-date listing of local events, visit Cape Charles by the Bay.

 

Colonial Beach

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 20 minutes

As its name implies, Colonial Beach offers plentiful beaches with banks along both the Potomac River to the east and Monroe Bay to the west. In fact, this historic waterfront town actually boasts the second longest public beach in the state.

Located on the Northern Neck of Virginia in Westmoreland County, Colonial Beach is a haven for history with the birthplaces and historic homes of George Washington, Robert E. Lee, and James Monroe all close by. Thanks to its small size, it’s easy to make a peaceful getaway in Colonial Beach, but with water surrounding it on three sides, it is also ideal for boaters, fishers, kayakers or water sports’ enthusiasts. Of course, if it’s just a day at the beach you’re looking for, the brackish water of the Potomac offers a calm alternative to Atlantic Ocean beaches, while making sure you don’t miss out on sun or sand.

For ideas on where to stay and what to do, visit Colonial Beach Virginia or Colonial Beach Virginia Attractions.

 

Gloucester

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 5 minutes

The City of Gloucester is located in Gloucester County on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.  Surrounded by tidal rivers, creeks and even a lake, waterfront adventures are never scarce. But if it’s a beach you’re looking for, then Gloucester Point Beach Park will satisfy your craving for sand and sun. Featuring a shoreline, shade and plenty of public amenities, the park offers a beach experience, but keeps you close to dozens of other attractions.

If you’re looking to explore history, try sites like the Rosewell Ruins, site of a former colonial plantation; Colonial Court Circle where you can see historical reenactments and take self-guided tours; and Werewocomoco, the village where John Smith met Chief Powhatan and his daughter, Pocahontas. If you want to get out on the water, check out Beaverdam Park for fishing and boating, take kayak tours with Bay Country Kayaking, or head down the York River for a chartered sailboat tour with Williamsburg Charter Sails.

For ideas on where to stay, local restaurants, shopping and additional sites and attractions, visit the official Gloucester website.

LAKES

Virginia is home to dozens of lakes both large and small. Many of these lakes are located within state parks, near campgrounds or offer cabin facilities ideal for a family vacation. Best of all, a number of them can be easily reached from Richmond within two hours or less. Here are a few of the best lakes for spending a long weekend, a week, or even longer:

Lake Anna

Spotsylvania / Louisa / Orange County
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 10 minutes

As one of the largest inland lakes in the state, Lake Anna covers more than 20 square miles and stretches through parts of Louisa, Orange and Spotsylvania County. One of the most popular places to access this beautiful body of water is at the aptly named Lake Anna State Park in Spotsylvania. For longer stays, take advantage of cabins at the park. With six camping cabins, and 10 two-bedroom cabins, most of which have lake views, it’s easy to turn a visit the lake into a fun-filled family vacation. Enjoy swimming, boating and fishing, or take advantage of the many hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. If you prefer historical and educational activities, stop by the Lake Anna State Park visitor center where you can learn local history, see exhibits that highlight the area’s gold mining past or plan a visit to the Goodwin Gold Mine to pan for gold and take guided tours.

For accommodations or activities outside of the park, try the popular Christopher Run Campground in Mineral; learn to wakeboard or paddleboard at Wake Anna Surf and Ski in Spotsylvania; or camp and rent a pontoon boat at Duke’s Creek Marina in Bumpass.

Find a complete listing of area attractions, places to stay, boat rentals and more at Lake Anna Online.

 

Kerr Lake

Clarksville
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hours, 45 minutes

As the state’s largest lake, Kerr Lake covers 50,000 acres and features 850 miles of shoreline in Virginia and North Carolina. Sometimes known as Bugg’s Island Lake, it serves as a favorite fishing, boating and recreational spot for Virginians and North Carolinians alike.

Two state parks offer access to this beautiful lake. Occoneechee State Park offers picnic shelters, an amphitheater, a playground, boat rentals, and a marina , as well as 20 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails. For history buffs, the visitor center and museum highlight the history of the indigenous Occoneechee Native American tribe.

Although not directly on the lake, Staunton River State Park also offers lake access in addition to camping, fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming pools, boat launches and more than 17 miles of multi-use trails. Stop by River Traders in Scottsburg just outside the park for kayak and canoe rentals, as well as fishing supplies.

Outsides of the state parks, Kerr Lake is surrounded by a number of beautiful small towns like Clarksville, which is heralded as Virginia’s only lakeside town and welcome vacationers with activities, events and music festivals, especially during the summer months. If you’re planning a visit to Clarksville, stay at the lakeside Magnuson Hotel; visit local wineries like the Three Sisters of Shiny Rock; see historical sites like the Prestwould Plantation and Gardens; or rent a pontoon boat at Clarksville Water Sports.

To plan your family vacation at Kerr Lake, see a complete listing of recreation areas and public beaches along the lake, check out other small town like Boydton, or visit the Kerr Lake Guide for listings of upcoming lakeside events and festivals.

 

Lake Gaston

Bracey, VA / Littleton, NC
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Like Kerr Lake, Lake Gaston rests on the border between Virginia and North Carolina. With 350 miles of shoreline, the lake has long been a favorite vacation spot with many beautiful privately owned homes, as well as vacation rental homes, lining its shores.

Filled with activities, both on and off the water, Lake Gaston provides the perfect setting for family fun. For your adventurers, AF Wake in Littleton, NC (about 1 hours, 35 minutes from Richmond) offers wakeboarding and stand-up paddle boarding lessons seven days a week; or you can rent a pontoon boat at the Holly Grove Marina in Bracey, VA and try your hand at fishing or water skiing. For those who prefer to stay off the water, Rosemont Winery in LaCrosse, Virginia, offers a tranquil afternoon of delicious wines and beautiful scenery, while Roanoke Rapids, NC is just a short distance away for shopping and more.

For accommodations, camping is never out of the question with Lake Gaston Americamps in Bracey. Or reserve a rustic cabin or waterfront home at Stonehouse Timber Lodge and enjoy a camp-like atmosphere. For rental homes, try sites like Lakeside Rentals, VRBO, or even Airbnb for the best deals waterfront homes.

 

Sherando Lake

Lyndhurst / Waynesboro
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Located in the George Washington National Park, this beautiful lake is a big draw for locals and visitors alike. The Sherando Lake Recreation Area, known locally as the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge,” offers shady picnic areas, a sandy beach for swimming and sunbathing, onsite camping and plenty of opportunities for fishing, boating and hiking.

For other unique vacations near the lake, check out Cabin Creekwood, a nine-cabin resort with a swimming pool, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking and much more. Be sure to check out their family packages and other specials. Or try Royal Oaks Cabin Resort with cabins and chalets that offer mountain views, hot tubs and plenty of modern amenities. Both resorts are located in Lyndhurst, about one and a half hours from Richmond.

Local attractions include the P. Buckley Moss Gallery in Waynesboro, the American Shakespeare Center and Blackfriar’s Playhouse in Staunton, and the Oak Grove Theater, also in Staunton.

THEME PARKS / RESORTS

While many families make the long trek to Florida every few years to visit sites like Disney World or Universal Studios, Richmonders don’t have to go nearly so far to find family-friendly resorts and theme parks. If it’s rides, water parks and adventure-filled days that you are looking for, the following places will more than fit the bill – all within two hours or less.

Busch Gardens

Williamsburg
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 55 minutes

Sure, Disney World is great, but why travel all that way when “The World’s Most Beautiful Theme Park” is less than an hour away? Every year since 1990, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has received the National Amusement Park Historical Association’s “Most Beautiful Park” award, as well as many other awards and recognitions.

This European-themed park offers world-class rollers coasters, rides, shows and experiences perfect for all ages. Plus, it features nature exhibits, award-winning food, shopping, seasonal events and vacation packages designed to help you make the most of your visit. With easy access from Richmond, Williamsburg and Virginia Beach, you can make Busch Gardens a destination of its own or add it on to existing plans.

Visit Busch Gardens’ Preferred Hotel Partners and other Partner Hotels to find the best accommodations for your family.

 

Great Wolf Lodge

Williamsburg
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 45 minutes

Great Wolf Lodge, another popular Williamsburg destination, is the resort designed specifically with kids (and their parents) in mind. Featuring a 79,000 square foot water park, your kids can get their fill of fun with fast-paced slides for teens and kid-friendly pools and splash features for the little ones, while you kick back in the park’s “hot springs.”

You’ll find plenty more entertainment outside of the water, including live shows, story times and character appearances, plus attractions like a ropes course, a 4-D movie theater, mini-golf, the MagiQuest adventure game, bowling and more. To relax, mom (and dad) can enjoy premiere spa services and fitness facilities – or you can treat your little princess to Scoops, the spa designed just for kids. And with guest rooms, family suites and tent-, cave-, or cabin-themed suites available, you’ll have plenty of room to kick back and relax after a long day of fun.

Be sure to see what special offers are currently available to start planning your Great Wolf Lodge getaway.

 

King’s Dominion

Doswell
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 25 minutes

While King’s Dominion is best known for its replica Eiffel Tower and thrill-inducing roller coasters, this premier theme park actually offers two parks in one. Soak City, King’s Dominion’s in-house water park, comes complete with 15 slides, rides and water-filled attractions for all ages, as well as cabana rentals for those who prefer to stay poolside.

Outside of the water park, you’ll find adventure for the whole family. The park’s 20 thrill rides and roller coasters are enough to keep you busy for hours. But be sure to take a break for one of the many shows, special events and exhibits, like Dinosaurs Alive, as well. For the little ones, or those less inclined toward fast-paced rides, King’s Dominion offer more than 30 family friendly and kid friendly rides, ensuring that the whole family has fun from start to finish.

To want to make King’s Dominion into more than just a family “day-cation,” visit Camp Wilderness for campsites, cabins and RV camping (along with a free shuttle to King’s Dominion every day). Or visit King’s Dominion’s Preferred Hotel Partners for discounted hotel packages right by the park.

 

Kingsmill Resort

Williamsburg
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour

If you want to turn your family vacation into an upscale getaway, Kingsmill Resort is the place to do it. Featuring riverside luxury along the James River with easy access to Williamsburg, Virginia Beach and Richmond, Kingsmill is like a world unto itself.

This AAA 4 Diamond condominium resort offers recreation and relaxation in equal proportions. If you’re looking to wind down, take advantage of luxury spa services or Kingsmill’s premier golf course. Or get the whole family moving with recreational activities like bike rentals, tennis, jet skis, paddle boarding, kayaking, Segway tours, nature trails, and much more. Plus, with free shuttles and package specials for local attractions like Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg, the fun goes well beyond Kingsmill’s gates.

Be sure to check out Kingsmill’s current family package specials, including the Signature Family Fun Package, the Ultimate Family Fun Package and the Stay and Play Package.

 

Massanutten Resort

McGaheysville (Rockingham County)
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 2 hours

While thousands of skiers flock to the mountains of Massanutten in the winter to take advantage of its snow-covered slopes, Massanutten Resort is far more than just a winter getaway. With activities for all four seasons, Massanutten has become a favorite vacation spot for the entire mid-Atlantic region.

Relax with premier spa services and shopping, or get your blood pumping with a year-round indoor and seasonal outdoor waterpark; a family adventure park offering zip lines, canopy tours, summer tubing and more; mountain biking; an escape room; golf courses; and much, much more. Featuring year-round events and festivals, the resort also offers classes, live music and interactive entertainment (murder mystery dinner, anyone?) for the whole family.

To book your stay, see current specials and packages or visit the Massanutten Reservation page.

 

Water Country USA   

Williamsburg
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 56 minutes

As the sister park and next door neighbor of Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Water County USA is the perfect add-on for a Busch Gardens or Colonial Williamsburg getaway – or as a standalone destination on its own.

In addition to live shows, dining and shopping, the park serves up 16 adrenaline-pumping slides and water attractions that will keep your whole family entertained for hours. And for little swimmers, the park provides several kid-friendly water play areas that will let them splash (safely) to their hearts’ content.

To get the best deals on family fun at Water Country USA, check out their tickets page for single-day tickets, combo tickets (including Busch Gardens and/or Colonial Williamsburg admissions) and annual pass specials.

 

Wintergreen Resort

Roseland (Nelson County)
Approximate driving time from Richmond: 2 hours

Like Massanutten Resort, Wintergreen Resort is a favorite ski destination for Virginians during the winter months. But with four seasons of activities, it’s also the perfect place to plan a family vacation

Start with the Discovery Ridge Adventure Center, which includes indoor activities like video gaming and a mechanical bull; or enjoy outdoor activities like a bungee trampoline, mini-golf, a climbing tower, zip lines, archery, and more. For the little ones, The Treehouse offers kids’ programs throughout the year. And the whole family can go swimming at the year-round Aquatic and Fitness Center, make a splash at the outdoor Stoney Creek Pool, or head to Lake Monocan for sandy beaches, water sports and swimming. Prefer bikes? Try Wintergreen’s premier mountain biking trails. And, of course, be sure to throw in a round of golf, a game of tennis, or a family hike.  And when you’re ready for a break, head to the spa, catch one of the resort’s ongoing special events, or enjoy a meal at one of Wintergreen’s many restaurants.

For lodging, the options are plentiful with guest rooms, condos and vacation home rentals available. Be sure to check out the current specials and packages before you book!

HISTORY

Anyone who knows the early history of our nation (and beyond) knows that Virginia has pretty solid bragging rights when it comes to historical sites and events. In fact, there is so much history in Virginia, much of it in the area’s surrounding Richmond, that it can be hard to narrow down the choices.

The following sites represent some of the more historically dense areas around Richmond (aside from Washington, DC and Northern Virginia) that make for ideal  family vacation destinations.

Charles City County

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 45 minutes

Virginia’s scenic Route 5 between Richmond and Williamsburg winds through Charles City County and offers a wealth of history along the way. The county is filled with historic sites, offering you and your family a chance to see some of the area’s oldest history in a day, a weekend or longer. Visit Berkeley Plantation, site of the nation’s first Thanksgiving in 1619 and birthplace of both Benjamin Harrison (signer of the Declaration of Independence) and William Henry Harrison (ninth president of the United States); Sherwood Forest Plantation, home to the tenth president of the United States, John Tyler; Shirley Plantation, a working farm that was Virginia’s first plantation (c.1613) and is the oldest family-owned business the nation; and Westover Plantation, built in 1730 by Richmond’s founder, William Byrd II. Other plantation homes include North Bend Plantation and Belle Air Plantation, as well as Edgewood Plantation and Piney Grove at Southall’s Plantation, both of which now serve as historic bed and breakfasts.

For more more places to stay, local events, historic sites, including Civil War sites and local history, visit the official Charles City County website.

 

Charlottesville

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Beautiful streets, ample shopping and plenty of arts and culture make Charlottesville a tourist destination in its own right. But for history buffs, the city holds even greater treasures, including the University of Virginia, the “academic village” founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819; Monticello, Jefferson’s private plantation home and one of his architectural masterpieces; and Ash Lawn-Highland, the historic home of Jefferson’s friend and fellow president, James Monroe.

In addition to these famous landmarks, Charlottesville offers countless other smaller historical sites in and near the city, including the Court Square of Charlottesville, Edgar Allan Poe’s Room at the University of Virginia, the site of Jack Jouett’s Historic Ride (hailed as the “Paul Revere of the South,”), the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center (both Lewis Clark called Albemarle County home), Michie Tavern (1784 tavern still serving traditional colonial fare). To learn more about these sites and the many other people and places that shaped this area, visit the Albemarle Historical Society.

Want to plan a Charlottesville family vacation? Learn about accommodations, history, dining, and local events at Visit Charlottesville.

Other significant sites near Charlottesville:
BarboursvilleBarboursville Ruins. From Richmond: 1 hour, 20 minutes. From Charlottesville: 30 minutes

Orange – James and Dolley Madison’s home, Montpelier. From Richmond: 1 hour, 30 minutes. From Charlottesville: 40 minutes.

ScottsvilleHatton Ferry, the only poled ferry still in existence today. From Richmond: 1 hour, 30 minutes. From Charlottesville: 30 minutes

Staunton – The Frontier Culture Museum, American Shakespeare Theatre and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. From Richmond: 1 hour, 40 minutes. From Charlottesville: 30 minutes.

 

Fredericksburg

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour

It’s easy for Fredericksburg to get overlooked in the shadow of Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. But this city along the I-95 corridor is well worth the visit. In addition to being home to the beautiful Mary Washington University, it offers a powerful history of its own.

For instance, George Washington had many notable connections with Fredericksburg and the surrounding areas. Start your tour with his boyhood home at Ferry Farm and his sister’s plantation at Kenmore. Then visit the pre-Revolutionary apothecary shop of his friend, Hugh Mercer, tour the Mary Washington house where his mother lived, and stop by the Rising Sun Tavern built by his youngest brother, Charles in 1760. While you’re there, be sure take trolley tours or carriage rides through the city and learn more about the area’s rich Native American history, Colonial history, Revolutionary War history, Civil War history (including five major battle sites), African American history, and much more.

Find out how to access Fredericksburg’s diverse history at Visit Fredericksburg, plus be sure to check out vacation packages to find the perfect historic getaway for your family.

 

Historic Triangle: Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 50 minutes – 1 hour

The Historic Triangle refers to the three colonial strongholds of Historic Jamestowne and the Jamestown Settlement, Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown. Connected by the 23-mile Colonial Parkway, these areas represent some of the most significant history in Virginia, as well as the entire nation.

Find Historic Triangle Package deals at Colonial Williamsburg or create a complete vacation package, including other local attractions, at Visit Williamsburg.

Historic Jamestowne

Historic Jamestowne is the site of the first permanent English colony in the nation’s history. Founded in 1607, the colony faced legendary challenges from the elements, starvation and local Native American tribes, but somehow found the strength to survive. Since 1994, the Jamestown Rediscovery Project has undertaken educational, historical and archaeological exploration of the site, which is at the original location of James Fort and the beginning of Jamestown. Today, visitors can explore ruins, see historical reenactments and learn more about the men and women who struggled to keep the colony alive.

Jamestown Settlement

Just down the road from Historic Jamestowne, the Jamestown Settlement is an in-depth living history museum, complete with costumed interpreters and re-creations of the original settlement. Visitors can walk through the reconstructed fort, see colonial houses, visit a Powhatan village, climb aboard re-creations of the original Colonial ships, and see historical reenactments of the daily lives of colonists, soldiers and Native Americans alike. The Settlement offers exhibits, films and galleries that explore the history of English settlers like Captain John Smith, as well as famous Native American figures like Chief Powhatan and his daughter, Pocahontas.

Find Jamestown vacation packages and specials and learn about other important historical sites at www.historyisfun.org.

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg operates as the world’s largest living history museum and features an historic area that showcases some of the nation’s finest Colonial restorations and replications. History comes alive as costumed historical interpreters walk streets that have been restored to their original glory, while visitors receive a firsthand look at the businesses, government, and daily lives of Virginia’s early colonists. In addition to hands-on, interactive exhibits, events and museums, Colonial Williamsburg also offers unique dining and shopping opportunities, as well as special events throughout the year.

Colonial Williamsburg offers a number of places to stay and vacation packages, as well as sales and admission specials.  Learn everything you need to plan your Colonial Williamsburg vacation at Colonial Williamsburg.

Yorktown

Not only was Yorktown the site where British forces surrendered to General George Washington, signaling the end of the Revolutionary War, it also serves as a charming waterfront town with ample modern amenities. Along the Riverwalk Landing, you’ll find boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and stunning York River views. But to uncover the area’s history, you can’t miss the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, an outdoor living history museum that re-creates Colonial and Revolutionary War times with live demonstrations, army encampments and a Revolution-era farm based on an actual Yorktown family. Likewise, at the Yorktown Battlefield, you can witness the site of the final major engagement of the Revolutionary War, while exploring historic buildings, archaeological sites and monuments. With artifacts spanning 400 years of history, the York County Historical Museum is a perfect way to wrap up your Yorktown history tour.

For a complete list of activities, accommodations, events and historical sites available in Yorktown, visit the official Yorktown Tourism page.

 

Surry County

Approximate driving time from Richmond: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Not far from the larger historical fanfare of the Historic Triangle lies the quiet county of Surry, Virginia. Steeped in history, Surry County lies just opposite Jamestown on the banks of the James River. Significant historical sites include Bacon’s Castle, site of Bacon’s Rebellion in 1676 and the oldest brick dwelling in the United States; Smith’s Fort Plantation, which includes the ruins of a fort began by Captain John Smith in 1609 and a restored brick plantation home built in the mid-1750s; and Roger’s Store (c. 1897), a museum representing rural life in the county.

For larger exploration of the local history, geography and natural habitats, don’t miss Chippokes Plantation State Park, Farm and Forestry Museum. The park has served as a working farm since 1619 and features an antebellum mansion, restored outbuildings, formal gardens, and antique farm equipment, as well as modern recreational amenities. For overnight visits, stay at the park’s campground or reserve one of four overnight cabins. The park also offers picnicking, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a visitor center, and trails for biking, hiking and horseback riding.

See a complete list of Surry County attractions, find out where stay and explore local events at Surry County’s Tourism page.

 

We’re sure you’ll find some great ideas and inspiration from our list, but if you have a favorite nearby family vacation spot that we may have overlooked, we’d love to hear about it! Drop us a line at cs@richmondmom.com or leave a comment in the section below.

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Anna Strock
Anna has spent the last 18 years writing, directing creative projects, and trying to be the best mom possible to her three girls. When she's not exploring Richmond for the latest and greatest resources, offerings, and activities, she can be found daydreaming on travel blogs, drinking too much coffee, and running kids to endless activities.