“America’s First Outdoor Vacation Destination” Opens for Vacations and the Great Escape
Bring on Summer! Greater Williamsburg Announces Reopening Dates for Popular Attractions, Lodging, Restaurants and More
Greater Williamsburg, Virginia, which some say is America’s first outdoor vacation destination established in 1609, is easily accessible by car from many East Coast cities and is now back in business welcoming vacationers from near and far. Area attractions, lodging, dining, and other industry partners have started to reopen or begun to announce reopening plans and timelines along with some exciting improvements and updates.
While there are new restrictions and guidelines being followed in this post-quarantine world, the major attractions that make this iconic destination so famous are open or will open soon, including Colonial Williamsburg, American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne, Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, most restaurants, hotels, resorts, wineries, breweries and more.
To encourage visitation to the region, the Williamsburg Tourism Council has launched a new “Life. At Your Pace” marketing campaign to remind guests that the region’s varied and diverse attractions and experiences – from kayaking to Segway tours of battlefields, from brew pubs to amusement parks and golf – offer everyone from all walks of life multiple experiences that allow them to explore at their own pace and comfort level.
Travelers should come to Williamsburg prepared and follow all CDC and local health guidance including practicing good hygiene and social distancing, wearing facial coverings in public spaces both indoors and outdoors, and staying home and not visiting while sick. For a full and most up-to-date list of what is open as well as health and wellness guidelines, visit www.visitwilliamsburg.com.
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DESTINATION UPDATE BY ATTRACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES
As of June 23, 2020, here is an overview of what’s open in Greater Williamsburg. As information continues to change, please visit respective websites for updates and the latest policies.
- Restaurants in Merchants Square have expanded outdoor seating areas, which has also been enhanced with the addition of new outdoor dining furniture on Duke of Gloucester Street from North Henry to Boundary Street. New restaurants include David Everett’s La Piazza, offering handmade pastas and light Mediterranean fare and Wythe Candy & Gourmet Shop, and there are also new stores catering to fashion, home furnishings, interior design, and gardening. Additional information can be found at merchantssquare.org.
- Colonial Williamsburg reopened several of its historic interpretation sites on a limited basis on June 14. The art museums, Governor’s Palace, Capitol, Courthouse, Weaver trade shop, Carpenter’s Yard, Peyton Randolph Yard, Colonial Garden, Magazine yard, Armoury Yard, Brickyard, George Wythe Yard and Curtis Square will operate at reduced capacity and follow site-specific guidelines developed as part of the foundation’s COVID-19 business resumption plan, consistent with the state’s Phase 2 requirements. The Williamsburg Lodge and the Market House, Colonial Williamsburg’s open-air market on Duke of Gloucester Street, is open. Several changes have been made to the guest experience for the initial reopening, including moving interpretive programming outdoors. Ticketed guests can also expect limited interaction with interpretive staff. The foundation will open additional sites and expand programming in coming weeks.
- JULY 4th: Colonial Williamsburg also has special programming to celebrate the Fourth of July, including readings of the Declaration of Independence, a dramatic program titled “Created Equal,” a pig roast at Chowning’s Tavern Garden, and more. Due to social-distancing requirements and state gathering restrictions intended to limit health risks associated with COVID-19, this year’s fireworks as well as performances by Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes & Drums are cancelled. A community-wide grand reopening event is planned for after the state enters Phase 3 of its “Forward Virginia” reopening plan. The latest information about July 4th programming in Colonial Williamsburg can be found at colonialwilliamsburg.org/july4.
- Williamsburg Premium Outlets has reopened with most store hours from noon to 7 p.m.
- Go Ape Treetop Adventure and Journey reopened its Freedom Park location in James City County on June 5. New regulations and procedures include reduced session capacities to adhere to social distancing requirements, advanced reservations, completing waivers online prior to arrival, and credit cards only.
- On June 10, the Colonial National Historical Park reopened access to the Colonial Parkway for vehicle traffic from Highway 199 (west of Colonial Williamsburg) to Jamestown Island. More details will be provided soon when full operations are resumed.
- Busch Gardens, Water Country USA and Great Wolf Lodge are slated to open soon…
- Yorktown Market Days returned to its regular time and waterfront location at Riverwalk Landing on June 13 and will run on Saturdays through the end of October, rain or shine, with the exceptions of July 4 and Oct. 3
- American Revolution Museum at Yorktown is scheduled to reopen on June 24. Adjustments to museum operations include limited capacity in the outdoor living-history areas including buildings and structures as well as the indoor museum theater, gallery films and galleries. Additional details on summer programming and special events will be announced soon.
- Special exhibition “The Forgotten Soldier: African Americans in the Revolutionary War” will also reopen on June 24 for an extended two-week showing through July 8. Forgotten Soldier explores the personal stories of enslaved and free African Americans on both sides of the American Revolution and illuminates the difficult choices and risks faced by African Americans during a revolutionary time in history and the varied and indispensable roles they played during the war and beyond.
- JULY 4th: Visitors can salute the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence during Liberty Celebration at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, including interpretive programs, artillery demonstrations, a rare July 1776 broadside of the Declaration of Independence, patriotic programming in outdoor recreations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm, and more.
- Yorktown’s Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival has been rescheduled for Aug. 9 from noon to 6 pm. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Attendees can sample more than 30 different craft beers, dig into some of the region’s finest BBQ, and listen to some of the best Blues musicians in Hampton Roads.
- Jamestown Settlement is scheduled to reopen on June 24. Adjustments to museum operations include limited capacity in the outdoor living-history areas including buildings, structures and ships as well as the indoor museum theater, gallery films and galleries. Additional details on summer programming and special events will be announced soon.
- Historic Jamestowne will reopen to the public on June 29. All public programs will take place outside and follow social distancing protocols. Tickets will be available for purchase starting June 22, and visitors are encouraged to purchase online at https://historicjamestowne.org/visit/tickets-2/. Contact-less payment will be available on-site (no cash accepted).