Tips for visiting Williamsburg with kids.

History Alive: Colonial Williamsburg with Kids

Would you like to take a step back in time?  How about when there wasn’t any electricity or cars?  That far back?  Well, you’re in luck!  Williamsburg, Virginia is that kinds of place.
Why should you visit Williamsburg?
The first words my 9 year old said were…
“This is just like Disney World, except educational!”
(translation:  Thanks mom and dad for taking me here, it’s great!)

The Governor’s Palace at Christmas
Tips for Traveling to Williamsburg with Kids:
1.  Get there as early as you can, it’s almost magical to watch the town wake up.
2.  Plan all of your stops around the hands-on activities for kids.  Our personal favorite was Powell House.  We played hoops and sticks in the yard, helped break eggs in the kitchen, made decorations for their party, made traditional crafts, and played games.
3.  Make time to run around!  Our boys loved the maze behind the palace.  The farm is also hands-on.
4.  The colonial shops and farm are kid friendly.  The people in character enjoy interacting with the kids and really make history come to life!  (this is all included in your admission)
5.  Our Governor’s Palace tour didn’t seem to be worth the wait.  You do not have to wait in line to look at the Palace’s kitchen, cellar, or maze.
6.  Consider purchasing their refillable mug.  You can refill them with coffee, soda, and frozen treats (in the summer).
7.  Let your kids lead the way with the kid-friendly map from the Visitor’s Center.
The people in character are enchanting.
Notes from Busy Kids:
  • I’ve been to Williamsburg before and I think this is the first time I’ve actually paid for a ticket.  A ticket allows you to ride the free shuttle buses, tour the palace, and go into other exhibits.  It is worth it and makes the experience more valuable to pay for your admission.
  • We purchased our tickets on-line and got a small discount.  You have to pick your tickets up at the Visitor’s Center.  *Make sure you leave plenty of time to go there.  It can take almost 1 hour to park, get tickets, watch the movie, get your bearings, and begin.
  • Parking is free at the Visitor’s Center and shuttles are available (with admission).  You can also walk to the Governor’s Palace from the Visitor’s Center in about 10 minutes.  No cars are allowed in the Historic Area.
  • At the Visitor’s Center they have a movie that is the “longest running movie in history”.  Do not worry, it’s only about 20 minutes!
  • If a British flag is flying in front of a building – it’s open for people with tickets!
  • We did not feel that the colonial area was very stroller or wheelchair friendly.
  • New phrase coined in Williamsburg – BHP “Beware Horse Poop” – it’s in the roads, watch out!
  • School-age girls (and boys) will enjoy the American Girl Felicity movie that takes place in Williamsburg.  American Girl Dolls were actually inspired there!
  • Carole Marsh writes some great children’s chapter books, including The Colonial Caper Mystery at Williamsburg or you might like If You Lived in Williamsburg in Colonial Days.  Check it out!
I love how “hands on” Williamsburg is!
Staying in the area a little longer?  Make sure you visit Jamestown and Christmas Town at Busch Gardens.
Special Thanks to Kerri and Charlie for their tips and photographs!
Kristen is the blogger behind Busy Kids Happy Mom, a site dedicated to fun, practical, and purposeful activities to do with your kids.  Follow Kristen on FacebookPinterest, and Busy Kids Happy Mom.
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About Kristen

Kristen is a Reading Specialist who currently works with children in Kindergarten through 3rd Grade. She is the blogger behind Busy Kids Happy Mom, a site dedicated to fun, practical, and purposeful activities to do with your kids. Follow Kristen on Facebook, Pinterest, and subscribe for updates.


  1. I loved Colonial Williamsburg when I was a kid. My dad was in the military, and we were stationed in Virginia for four years. I think we visited Williamsburg at least once a year. (Jamestown is another of my favorites.)

  2. I agree Trisha! I love how you step back in time, feels like you’re almost in another world. I definitely think it’s worth a day or two visit.

  3. I love Williamsburg at Christmas when the palace is decorated for the holidays!

  4. I live in Norfolk, VA… about 30-40 minutes away. We LOVE Williamsburg!
    You’re right, though, it’s not very wheelchair or stroller freindly because of all the steps to get into the exhibit buildings.
    BTW, we call horse poops “Road Apples”!! So we just say, “Watch out for the road apples.”

  5. Amber – Your comment on the poop cracked up my whole family! Especially the boys! :)

  6. oh this is the one thing I really really wanted to do with the kids, but never got too, when we were livng in VA! Looks like SO much fun….maybe one day we’ll make our way back 😉



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