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10 Free Things to do in Williamsburg VA

Millions of people visit America’s historic triangle each year to see the birthplace of America. Sites like Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown offer affordable admissions but you’ll be happy to know there are several free things to do in Williamsburg VA, too. Read on to discover 10 free things to do in Williamsburg, Virginia on your next vacation!

Seagulls fly over the water at the Jamestown Ferry
View on Jamestown Ferry: Maggie McCain/flickr

Fun & Free Things to Do in Williamsburg VA

1) Ride the Jamestown Ferry

Riding the Jamestown Ferry is free, but the experience is priceless! The 15-minute ride gives you a fantastic view of the shoreline.  During your trip, you can imagine what the European settlers saw when they first arrived in the area more than 400 years ago. 

2) Tour Colonial Williamsburg

The grounds of Colonial Williamsburg are open to visitors. You can tour the historic buildings, watch as historical interpreters stroll the streets and dine at one of the historic taverns. To go inside the buildings and museums, and be a part of the revolutionary city programs, you will need to purchase a Colonial Williamsburg ticket.

A cloudy sky and river at Colonial Parkway, which is among the free things to do in Williamsburg, VA
Colonial Parkway: Mobilus in Mobili/flickr

3) Take a Scenic Drive

The 23-mile Colonial Parkway connects the historic cities of Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown. Travel the route to see scenic views of both the James and York Rivers. Interpretative pull-offs are also located along the way. These opportunities provide information about the area’s rich history and are ideal for picnicking, picture-taking, and bird-watching.

4) Go for a Hike

When searching for free things to do in Williamsburg VA, head outside! The Greensprings Greenway Interpretive Trail is a 3-mile hike with a 600-foot boardwalk over wetlands. Plus, interpretive programs are also featured here, as are trail signs where visitors can retrace the footsteps of Native Americas and early colonists. Talk about walking through the steps of time!

A rainbow shines above the Riverwalk Landing in Williamsburg, VA
Riverwalk Landing

5) Attend a Summer Concert Series

During the summer season, several outdoor concerts are presented for free throughout the historic district. In Merchants Square you can enjoy the Summer Breeze Concert Series, while at the Riverwalk Landing you can take in the “Rhythms on the Riverwalk” concert series. 

6) Attend a Museum for Free

On select days throughout the year, Williamsburg museums offer free admission to visitors. Museums that participate in this promotion include the Waterman’s Museum, Historic Jamestowne, and the York County Historical Museum. Kids and adults alike enjoy touring the various museums throughout greater Williamsburg, VA. Plus, you’ll love the price of admission–free!

A garden with poppies, black-eyed susans, and other flowers against a white picket fence
Williamsburg Botanical Garden/Facebook

7) Visit a Williamsburg Park

The beauty of Virginia is on full display at area parks. One of the best parks to visit is Freedom Park, a 689-acre park with open meadows, mountain bike and hiking trails, an 18th-century graveyard, and one of the nation’s earliest free black settlements. The Williamsburg Botanical Garden is also located at Freedom Park.

Another popular choice is Waller Mill Park. A 286-acre lake is open for fishing, boating, pedal boating, canoeing, and kayaking, while hiking and biking trails are also available. For scenic views of Historic Jamestown and wildlife watching, head to Powhatan Creek Park.

8) U.S. Army Transportation Museum

Located in Ft. Eustis, about 12 minutes from Williamsburg, this museum covers over six acres and is devoted to the history of army transportation. And best of all, it’s absolutely free! Stroll through four outdoor exhibits as well as a 50,000 square foot facility boasting numerous interactive and interesting exhibits, models, and dioramas. 
The Norfolk Naval Base
Norfolk Naval Base: Ron Cogswell/flickr

9) Norfolk Naval Base

Drive down I-64, go through the Hampton Tunnel, and take a gander at the many ships in port at the World’s largest active Naval Base. If you are lucky, you may also see a ship entering or leaving port as it passes over the tunnel.     

10) Stroll the Yorktown Waterfront

The Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown is a quaint, beautiful place to take a stroll and enjoy views of the York River. A mile-long pedestrian riverwalk links Yorktown’s major attractions and benches lining the walk also offer visitors the chance to sit and admire the natural beauty of the York River. A free trolley runs daily spring through fall offering many stops throughout town and arrives approximately every 20 minutes to each stop.

Enjoy 10 Free Things to Do in Williamsburg VA

Which of our recommended free places and activities in Williamsburg will you visit? Let us know in the comments below.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Williamsburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.
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