What are the best places to stay in Williamsburg?

Steeped in colonial charm and, along with nearby Jamestown and Yorktown, part of Virginia’s Historic Triangle, Williamsburg is home to some of the most well-regarded luxury hotels in the country.
 
Adjacent to the city’s historical center on East Francis Street is the opulent Williamsburg Inn, a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel with 62 elegant guest rooms and suites that authentically capture the spirit of colonial America. Located in one of the best areas of the city, this Williamsburg hotel offers a slew of upscale amenities, including a spring-fed swimming pool, a full-service gym, clay tennis courts and a world-class restaurant.
 
If a quiet country respite is what you’re after, look no further than Wedmore Place. Located three miles from downtown Williamsburg on a 300-acre farm with a history dating all the way back to 1615, this sprawling, old European-style estate is highlighted by acres of wine vineyards, a luxury spa, an excellent fitness center, a pool terrace and a wood-burning fireplace in every room.
 
Finally, golfers might look towards scenic Kingsmill Resort, which is situated on the stunning James River and features three championship courses, a golf academy, a golf school for kids and a full-service pro shop. When you’re not hitting the links, you’ll enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, access to a world-class spa and dining at five onsite restaurants.

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    What should I pack for a trip to Williamsburg?

    Deciding what to pack for a trip to Williamsburg, Va., depends on when you’re traveling and what you plan to do during your visit.
     
    For example, if you’re going to take advantage of the numerous championship-level golf courses in the area, you’ll obviously want to pack your golf gear. Though if you don’t want to hassle with your clubs, rentals are available at many courses. If you’re visiting Williamsburg with kids during the summer, our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend packing bathing suits so you can cool down at Water Country USA, the largest water park in Virginia.
     
    Regardless of when you visit, sightseeing will likely cover some part of your trip, so be sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes so you can comfortably cover all of Williamsburg’s fascinating historical attractions. Bring a good camera with ample memory card space, too, so you can capture the historical city.
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    What is the shopping scene like in Williamsburg?

    The shopping scene in historic Williamsburg, Va., features an abundance of quaint shops and boutiques where you can stock up on everything from colonial souvenirs to modern fashion accessories.
     
    Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend starting your shopping excursions at Merchants Square, which is located right next to Colonial Williamsburg’s historic center and perfectly embodies the city’s retail spirit. This charming 18th-century-style district is dotted with more than 40 shops and restaurants including bookstores, fashion outlets, artisanal food shops and more.
     
    Another good option in the heart of the city is High Street, which offers more than 200,000 square feet of retail space and a variety of dining options.
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    What is Williamsburg’s Historic Triangle?

    Known as the “birthplace of American democracy” and also commonly referred to as “America’s Historic Triangle,” the Historic Triangle is composed of three culturally rich Virginia cities — Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. All three cities are linked by the 23-mile Colonial Parkway, which our Forbes Travel Guide editors count as one of the most scenic drives in this part of the country.
     
    The Historic Triangle is home to some of the state’s best and most-visited attractions, including period-accurate Colonial Williamsburg, the Jamestown Settlement, Yorktown Battlefield, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, as well as the College of William and Mary, which was founded in 1693 and is the second-oldest (behind Harvard) higher-education institution in the States.
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  • On June 13, 2012
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    How can I get around Williamsburg?

    If you’re flying into Williamsburg, Va., the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport is likely where you’ll land. Once you arrive, though, our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend renting a car, since the main way of getting around the city and other area attractions is by driving (or walking, when you’re downtown).
     
    That said, you can take advantage of the Williamsburg Area Transport system, which will take you to some of the most popular local attractions for just $2 a day. Another fun way to get around is by taking the Williamsburg Trolley, which makes continuous stops throughout well-trafficked areas like Merchants Square, High Street, New Town, Williamsburg Shopping Center and the College of William & Mary.
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    Where are the best golf courses in Williamsburg?

    Scenic Williamsburg, Va., is a true golfer’s paradise where you’ll have no difficulty planning a memorable golf vacation or weekend getaway on the links. You’ll be able to choose from a slew of championship courses of varying expertise levels, but there are two golf resorts our Forbes Travel Guide editors think should be at the top of your list.
     
    Situated along the sparkling waters of the James River six miles from the center of Williamsburg, Kingsmill Resort features three stunning courses — the River, Plantation and Woods — that each offer 18 challenging holes suitable for all skill levels.
     
    It won’t take long to see why the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club was honored with the Gold Medal Award by Golf Magazine. You’ll be able to take your pick from the Gold, Green or nine-hole Spotswood course — the latter voted by Golf Range Magazine as one of the “Top Short Courses in America” — as you tee off amid lush woodlands and are surrounded by picturesque ravines.
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    What is the restaurant scene like in Williamsburg?

    Whether you want to dine in an atmosphere that channels the area’s historic charm or leave the history behind and feast on gourmet cuisine in contemporary surroundings, the restaurant scene in Williamsburg, Va., has options.
     
    The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Williamsburg Inn might be the city’s best spot for foodies. Here, enjoy a multi-course menu at the hotel’s popular Regency Room, which serves classic upscale cuisine such as duck-bacon-wrapped scallops, lobster bisque, bourbon-brined skinless duck breast and black sea bass. For more casual fare, the Williamsburg hotel’s Terrace Room offers everything from succulent Kobe beef burgers to short ribs and pastas.
     
    To experience the authentic ambience of an 18th-century restaurant once favored by former president George Washington, head to Christiana Campbell’s Tavern. It specializes in the same seafood-inspired fare that the first U.S. president may have enjoyed during the colonial days. Reservations are required at the family-friendly restaurant.
     
    Two other 18th-century-style restaurants our Forbes Travel Guide editors feel are worth checking out are Chowning’s Tavern, a legendary spot that pays homage to the birth of the modern sandwich, and King’s Arms Tavern, which serves traditional Southern fare, decadent desserts and unique cocktails.
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    What are the best historical attractions in Williamsburg?

    Along with the nearby towns of Jamestown and Yorktown, Williamsburg forms part of Virginia’s famed Historic Triangle, which has historical significance dating back to the United States’ colonial era and has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.
     
    At the town’s center is Colonial Williamsburg, which has a number of historical attractions, an 18th-century-style tavern, shops and more. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors recommend stopping by the Governor’s Palace, the former home of the Colony of Virginia’s Royal Governors, as well as the Great Hopes Plantation, which shows the ways in which slaves lived and were treated during the Civil War.
     
    Though it has largely been restored, Colonial Williamsburg stretches over 300 acres and remains the country’s closest representation of a colonial-era American city.
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    What is the best time to visit Williamsburg?

    Though you’ll have no shortage of fun things to do throughout the day no matter when you visit Williamsburg, Va., our Forbes Travel Guide editors do think some times of the year are better to make your trip than others.
     
    October brings some of the most idyllic weather and is the best time of the year for many outdoor activities, but if you’re traveling with school-age kids there’s a good chance you’ll be visiting Williamsburg during the summer, the peak season. If that’s the case, try to plan your trip for May and June, when temperatures are more moderate.
     
    Williamsburg still sees plenty of visitors during the off-season months, but it is of course much colder at those times. We will say, however, that Virginia’s Historic Triangle (Williamsburg, Yorktown and Jamestown) looks particularly charming covered in a blanket of snow.
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    What are the best things to do with kids in Williamsburg?

    Your kids will never have a dull moment in Williamsburg, Va., a historic destination offering plenty of educational activities with a fun spin.
     
    While your visit likely will begin in the city’s historic center, Williamsburg is home to much more than just cobblestone streets and colonial-era architecture. Kids will love ambling through the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museum, a 9,000-square-foot space housing more than 350 remarkable exhibits and artifacts in 11 thematic galleries. Admission and a show at the 4D auditorium costs $19.99 for kids ages 5 to 12 and $22.99 for adults.
     
    Busch Gardens Williamsburg features 383 acres of thrilling roller coaster rides, lively Broadway-style performances, animal shows and delicious international cuisine. It’s easy to see why this is one of our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ recommended respites from Williamsburg’s colonial attractions.
     
    If you’re in Williamsburg during the summer, beat the heat by pairing a visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg with a trip to nearby Water Country USA, the largest water park in Virginia. Here, kids can splash around on more than 30 fun-filled water rides while you kick back and relax at a shady private cabana. For families with very small children, keep in mind that some of the rides do have minimum height requirements.
  • On June 13, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best places to stay in Williamsburg?

    Steeped in colonial charm and, along with nearby Jamestown and Yorktown, part of Virginia’s Historic Triangle, Williamsburg is home to some of the most well-regarded luxury hotels in the country.
     
    Adjacent to the city’s historical center on East Francis Street is the opulent Williamsburg Inn, a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel with 62 elegant guest rooms and suites that authentically capture the spirit of colonial America. Located in one of the best areas of the city, this Williamsburg hotel offers a slew of upscale amenities, including a spring-fed swimming pool, a full-service gym, clay tennis courts and a world-class restaurant.
     
    If a quiet country respite is what you’re after, look no further than Wedmore Place. Located three miles from downtown Williamsburg on a 300-acre farm with a history dating all the way back to 1615, this sprawling, old European-style estate is highlighted by acres of wine vineyards, a luxury spa, an excellent fitness center, a pool terrace and a wood-burning fireplace in every room.
     
    Finally, golfers might look towards scenic Kingsmill Resort, which is situated on the stunning James River and features three championship courses, a golf academy, a golf school for kids and a full-service pro shop. When you’re not hitting the links, you’ll enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, access to a world-class spa and dining at five onsite restaurants.