Your 5-Day Road Trip

History comes to life on this road trip across Virginia.

Your journey starts in Coastal Virginia, where you’ll spend three days at living history sites and museums that recreate life in the 17th and 18th centuries. Then visit the homes of former early American presidents in Central and Northern Virginia.

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The Journey Begins

Arrive in Williamsburg, where you can stay in the heart of America’s Historic Triangle at one of Colonial Williamsburg’s official resorts, such as a colonial house or the Williamsburg Lodge.

Once you arrive, visit a Colonial Williamsburg ticketing location to redeem your discounted America’s Historic Triangle ticket, which includes admission to Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, and Yorktown Battlefield.

Fuel the adventure ahead with dinner at a historic tavern.

Learn more about Colonial Williamsburg.

Save 10% on America’s Historic Triangle Ticket

Day 1

Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Ships
Jamestown GalleriesJamestown VillageJamestown Blacksmith

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Jamestown Settlement is a living history museum that tells the story of 17th-century Virginia, from the arrival of English colonists in Jamestown in 1607 to the events that planted the seeds of a new nation.

The world of Jamestown, America’s first permanent English colony, comes to life through film, immersive gallery exhibits, and outdoor living history.

  • Explore the cultures of the Powhatan Indians, English colonists, and west central Africans who converged at Jamestown. View 1600s artifacts and dynamic films, including the 4D experiential film “Bacon’s Rebellion.”

  • Outdoors, climb aboard a re-creation of one of three 1607 ships to learn about the 144-day journey across the Atlantic.

  • Hear a matchlock musket fire in the re-created colonial fort and learn about the Virginia Company of London's 1610-14 military outpost. 

  • See the Powhatan way of life in a re-creation of a Paspahegh town, based on archaeological discoveries of a site near Jamestown.

Learn more about Jamestown Settlement.

Historic Jamestowne

John Smith Statue
Archaeology
Yamestowne Tag
Jamestowne Fort

Drive Time from Jamestown Settlement: 5 Minutes
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Walk in the footsteps of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas at the original site of Jamestown.

  • Witness the moment of discovery as Jamestown Rediscovery archaeologists excavate the 1607 James Fort site.

  • Explore the Archaearium, Historic Jamestowne’s award-winning archaeology museum, featuring more than 4,000 artifacts recovered from the fort.

  • Visit the Memorial Church and 17th-century church tower; stand in the exact spot where the first legislative assembly met in 1619.

  • Join a walking tour with an archaeologist or park ranger to dig deeper into Jamestown history and learn more about our recent excavations.

  • Stop at the Glasshouse of 1608 to observe artisans practice glassmaking, one of the earliest industries attempted on the island.

  • Walk, run, bike, or drive the Jamestown Island Loop Drive, a five mile self-guided driving tour that explores the natural environment and history of the island.

Learn more about Historic Jamestowne.

Day 2

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg Carriage

Drive Time from Historic Jamestowne: 20 Minutes 
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Spend a day at Colonial Williamsburg, the largest outdoor living history museum in the United States.

See what life was like under British rule for 18th-century Virginians living in the colonial capital of Williamsburg.

  • Tour the Governor’s Palace, where you’ll explore the seat of Royal power in Virginia with costumed interpreter tour guides.

  • Meet Nation Builders, historic figures associated with 18th-century Williamsburg who made significant contributions to the American story. 

  • See 18th-century crafts including blacksmithing, weaving, and carpentry throughout the Historic Area.

  • Take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the colonial capital.

  • At night, take the Haunted Williamsburg tour to hear colonial ghost stories and tales of creepy modern-day encounters.

Learn more about Colonial Williamsburg.

Thomas Jefferson
Characters
Demonstration

Day 3

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Colonial Farm
Encampment
Film

Drive Time from Colonial Williamsburg: 20 Minutes
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At the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, hear the story of the nation’s founding, from the twilight of the colonial period to the dawn of the Constitution and beyond.

  • Discover the people and events of the American Revolution through indoor galleries that feature period artifacts, immersive environments, and films.

  • Cover your ears for daily artillery firing demonstrations in a re-created Continental Army encampment.

  • Learn about period cooking, farming, and fiber arts at a re-created Revolution-era farm, based on a real 18th-century York County family.

  • Take in “The Siege of Yorktown,” an experiential 4D film with a 180-degree surround screen and dramatic special effects.

Learn more about the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown.

Historic Yorktown

Nelson House

Nelson House, Yorktown

Drive Time from the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown: 2 Minutes

Stroll along the Yorktown riverfront and visit charming boutiques and locally-owned restaurants, such as: 

View more shops and restaurants at VisitYorktown.com

Yorktown Battlefield

Yorktown Battlefield

Drive time from Historic Yorktown: 5 Minutes
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At Yorktown Battlefield, see the fields, earthworks, and historic buildings where American independence was won. 

In the fall of 1781, allied American and French forces besieged General Charles Lord Cornwallis’s British army. Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, ending the war and ensuring independence.

Use the online Yorktown tour guide to take two self-guided driving tours of the battlefield.

Day 4

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Monticello
Inside the Mansion
Trails

Drive Time from Yorktown Battlefield: 2 hours
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Looking for an outing that combines fun, learning, and plenty of fresh air? Visit Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop plantation outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.

  • Explore the first floor of the house on your self-guided tour — don’t forget your camera! Photography is  allowed inside the iconic house.

  • Visit outdoor educational stations to learn about slavery and Monticello’s enslaved community. Meet Thomas Jefferson, interpreted by Bill Barker, on select days.

  • Stop for lunch or snacks at Monticello Farm Table, an on-site café serving seasonal fruits and vegetables grown in Monticello’s gardens.

  • Enjoy miles of scenic hikes on the Saunders-Monticello Trail.

  • Bring the whole family! Monticello offers free admission for children age 11 and under. Kids age 12 to 18 visit for just $10.

Learn more about Monticello.

Save 20% at The Shop at Monticello and Farm Shop

Charlottesville

Charlottesville

Copyright 2017, Sanjay Suchak

Drive Time from Monticello: 10 minutes

Charlottesville is home to the historic pedestrian Downtown Mall, which is one of the longest of its kind in the country. Featuring restaurants, stores, and shops, the Downtown Mall is vibrant year-round and open to visitors looking to dine al fresco.

A mile down the street, head over to the University of Virginia (which Thomas Jefferson founded – and is a UNESCO World Heritage site) for a tour of the prestigious grounds. Don’t forget to glimpse inside the iconic rotunda.

If you’re spending more than a day in the area, venture out to Albemarle County to a vineyard (or two!), one of the top wine destinations in the world, with more than 35 wineries from which to choose.

Hiking and biking options are plentiful in the region, including trails that wind throughout the City and Albemarle County. The Blue Ridge Parkway meets the renowned Shenandoah National Park, just a 30-minute drive from downtown Charlottesville.

Discover more about Charlottesville & Albemarle County at www.visitcharlottesville.org.

James Madison’s Montpelier

Montpelier

Drive Time from Charlottesville: 45 minutes
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Montpelier is the home of fourth President James Madison and his wife Dolley Madison, America's first "First Lady.” It was also home to six generations of enslaved African Americans.

  • Take a guided “Highlights of Montpelier Tour,” which includes three select rooms in the Mansion and outdoor locations. You’ll hear about the personal and professional life of America's fourth president, how he and Dolley lived and entertained, and how he became known as "Father of the Constitution."  

  • Hike more than 8 miles of trails that wind through horse pastures, wildflower meadows, and forests, and see spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • Wander the two-acre Annie duPont Formal Garden featuring formal walkways, sweeping beds, an herb garden, and marble lions and urns.

  • Visit the Madison family and enslaved cemeteries; Mr. Madison’s Temple; and active archaeological dig sites (seasonal).

  • Spend time in the Museum Shop, which features beautifully-handcrafted and locally sourced items, children’s activities, books, and more.

Learn more about Montpelier.

Save 20% at the Montpelier Gift Shop

Day 5

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon Mansion
Dogs Welcome
Martha Washington

Drive time from Montpelier: 2 hours
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The final day of your road trip takes you to Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. 

Start your day in the colonial city of Alexandria and breakfast at one of the many restaurants in Old Town, Alexandria.

Then drive up the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway to George Washington’s estate that sits on the bank of the Potomac River.

  • Tour the Mansion that the first president shared with his wife Martha.

  • Explore the landscape, including Mount Vernon’s four gardens and a working farm, where you’ll meet heritage-breed animals.

  • Take the free Enslaved People of Mount Vernon tour to learn about those who were enslaved at Mount Vernon.

  • See George and Martha Washington’s final resting place.

  • View original artifacts, including George Washington’s sword, inside the museum.

View more activities at Mount Vernon.

Save 20% on Mount Vernon Admission 

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Discounts for Your Road Trip

Save at the historic sites featured in our road trip.

This website was created in collaboration with:

  • Colonial Williamsburg

  • Historic Jamestowne

  • Jamestown Settlement

  • American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

  • Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

  • James Madison’s Montpelier

  • George Washington’s Mount Vernon

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