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Go back in time to Williamsburg, Virginia, America’s first outdoor vacation destination established in 1609. Greater Williamsburg is known for its historic sites but also offers kayaking, boating, sailing (pirate cruises and tall ship schooners), fishing, zip lining, Segway tours, golf and biking.

From 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg was the thriving center of the American colonies. This area is all about walking, learning and experiencing. You’ll visit blacksmith shops, apothecaries, brickyards, carpenter yards, colonial yards and other historic sites and meet people dressed in 18th-century garb, who’ll tell you all about life in the 1700s.

The museums at Colonial Williamsburg recently completed a $41.7 million expansion project. New exhibition highlights include “Early American Faces” and “American Folk Pottery: Art and Tradition.” 

Busch Gardens

Visit Berkeley Plantation, part of Greater Williamsburg, where the settlers observed the first official Thanksgiving in America in 1619. Colonial National Historical Park features Yorktown Battlefield, Historic Jamestowne and the Colonial Parkway—a beautiful place to bike and bird-watch. There are also ghost tours, art museums and 20+ guided and self-guided tours.

The Williamsburg Winery is a beautiful spot for dinner and an outdoor tasting flight. Stop at Honey Butter’s Kitchen for a Southern-inspired lunch of shrimp and grits, garlic fried potatoes, corn cakes and BBQ.

Save a day for Busch Gardens, where the adventurous can ride the Pantheon, the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster, expected to open this year. For water park fun, stay at Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. Kingsmill Resort or Williamsburg Lodge are other popular family-friendly hotel options and Colonial House offers an authentic historic experience in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg.