What better way to educate your student travel group on America’s history than to let them live it? Historic Williamsburg, Virginia, thrives with culture and tradition, a living history lesson where your student travelers can become part of the story. With plenty of interesting and educational attractions, Williamsburg makes for a perfect student trip.
Student Attractions in Williamsburg
There is so much to encounter in Williamsburg as well as neighboring Jamestown and Yorktown, it can be difficult to choose where to begin. But one thing is for sure: Once your student tour group sets foot in this historic colonial town, they will find it hard to leave. Entering Williamsburg allows student travelers to travel back in time, back to the eve of the American Revolution. A student trip to this part of the country isn’t complete without a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, a living history museum that encompasses 301 acres and 500 buildings, homes and taverns reconstructed to look the way they did back in the 18th century. The town features actors dressed in traditional costumes, performing historic daily tasks and crafts. Take your student tour group to some of the classic buildings like the Governor’s Palace, the Capitol and Bassett Hall. Colonial Williamsburg also offers many student educational programs that allow young kids and teenagers to engage in hands-on activities, experience the daily chores of the townsfolk or participate in evening storytelling and ghost tours.
Along the cobblestone streets of Williamsburg, your student tour group will find world-class museums that delve deep into the local culture and traditions that fueled the old Virginia capital city. The DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum houses an extensive collection of American and British antiques from furniture and textiles to paintings and firearms. Also in Williamsburg, student tour groups can explore the Abby Adrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.
If your student travel group visits Williamsburg during the summer months, there’s a good chance you’ll catch Revolutionary City!, a two-hour program that draws guests with re-enactments of some of the most monumental occasions that took place in our country’s history.
Williamsburg, however, does not stand alone in its historical significance. It is one of the three cities that make up America’s Historic Triangle. Jamestown and Yorktown sit a few miles away and provide even more insight into 17th and 18th century America. On the banks of the James River sit Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne, where explorers from the Virginia Company created the first permanent British settlement in the New World. Your student travelers will revel in the architecture, heritage and pride that can be found in Historic Jamestowne, not to mention the archeological findings on display at the excavation site near the town ruins. Your student tour group can let loose on the scenic, five-mile Jamestowne Island Trail. Next door, Jamestown Settlement showcases replicas of the three ships that arrived in 1607—Godspeed, Discovery and Susan Constant. Student travelers can also learn about the local Native American past by visiting the reconstructed Powhatan Indian Village.
A stone’s throw away from Williamsburg and Jamestown, Yorktown was the site of Gen. George Washington’s victory over Gen. Cornwallis, thus winning America’s freedom. Today, Yorktown Battlefield is a national landmark where student travel groups can tour Washington’s Headquarters, Surrender Field and Moore House. Take your student tour group to Yorktown Victory Center, whose galleries depict the life and times of the Revolution. In a simulated 1780s farm, student travelers can get hands-on experience at cultivating crops, preparing and preserving food, and turning wool into cloth.
Your student tour group can take a break from the history lesson and take part in some of Williamsburg’s more modern attractions. Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a European-flavored theme park full of gut-dropping rides and hours of entertainment. Student travelers find more thrills at Water Country USA, the Mid-Atlantic’s largest water park.
Student Sightseeing Tours in Williamsburg
In Colonial Williamsburg, student travel groups can schedule tours through the city streets led by costumed guides. Tours cover a vast array of topics from African-American and family life to garden walks and military traditions. Hauntings of Williamsburg tours guide student travel groups through the dark streets by candle light, telling ghostly tales and legends. This tour provider features other nighttime escapades, including Historical Investigations and Early American Medical Practices.
Colonial Tours is a company that offers historical walking tours of all three of the Triangle cities. Tours can be customized to fit your student trip schedule and curriculum.
Student Performance Venues in Williamsburg
Williamsburg has some great performance facilities where students can showcase their talents. The contemporary Riverwalk Landing features a performance pavilion where students can put on a concert for all strolling along the river or dining at a quaint cafe. The College of William and Mary, the country’s second oldest college, has an outdoor terrace next to its student center that performance groups are able to rent. President’s Park is an outdoor museum that features 42 statues of the nation’s past presidents. This popular tourist attraction offers a venue where student performance groups of up to 100 people can put on a concert. New Town is a hip shopping and dining area located next to the College of William and Mary. Student performance groups can rent out the facilities at Sullivan Square.
Eat and Be Merry: Top Student Dining in Williamsburg
How often do your student travelers get the chance to eat in an old-fashioned tavern? Colonial Williamsburg’s taverns serve up dishes inspired by 18th century fare. For a casual lunch, head over to Chowning’s Tavern, featuring warm stew and sandwiches. At night, Chowning’s turns into a true tavern with Gambols, a festive party full of strolling balladeers and costumed servers playing games with diners.
A popular, quick stop-off in Williamsburg is Retro’s Good Eats, a ’50s-style soda shop. Student tour groups can munch on hot dogs and hamburgers accompanied by hand-cut fries and ice cream shakes. Seasons Restaurant and Tavern serves up contemporary American cuisine in a casual, student-friendly atmosphere. Large and small student travel groups are welcome at this local hot spot, which actually houses two dining options in one. The quieter Seasons offers more upscale dishes that fit smaller parties, while Stephano’s Pizza and Subs is for the larger, rowdier crowds.
It wouldn’t be Williamsburg without a taste of the Atlantic Ocean. Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant is known as the birthplace of the Original Seafood Buffet. Student travelers can dive into over 70 delicious items as well as All You Can Eat Alaskan Snow Crab Legs. Captain George’s features a Student Dinner Theater, perfect for entertaining your school group.
Student Accommodations in Williamsburg
The Historic Triangle has 140 hotels to choose from and all offer decent rates, favorable amenities and convenient locations. The Williamsburg Days Inn Central has low nightly rates and offers complimentary breakfasts, plus it’s located less than half a mile from Williamsburg’s city center. 1776 Hotel Williamsburg is situated in the historic district and is a short distance away from Busch Gardens and the Governor’s Palace. There are a number of hotels outside of Williamsburg, near Yorktown and Jamestown, but the rates are not much different. However, if you’re looking to house your student travel group further from the hectic crowds around Williamsburg, consider places like Yorktown Motor Lodge or the Days Inn Oyster Point. Many chain hotels offer student lodging rates as well as complimentary breakfasts.
Williamsburg is the perfect student travel destination. It combines the history and traditions of Revolutionary times with upbeat and exciting entertainment that student travelers will truly enjoy.