24 hours in the historical triangle

First off, a primer for those who don’t know what the historical triangle is:

  • Williamsburg
  • Yorktown
  • Jamestown

They are all on the east coast of Virginia, very close to one another, and chock-full of historical significance (hence the name).

When we went there a few weekends ago, we didn’t think we’d hit all 3 angles of the triangle, since we only had about 24 hours. Plus, with toddler twins and general exhaustion, we figured it was best not to plan too much.

However, what we ended up doing was a great balance between doing stuff and not doing stuff (aka relaxing). Anyone on a speedy tour could definitely make this winning combination work!


  • Sleep in if you can
  • Travel to the Triangle (this took us 3 hours)
  • Arrive early afternoon
  • Instead of going to the Visitors’ Center and buying expensive tickets to the Williamsburg sights, drive right into the heart of downtown and park for free in a lot or for $1/hour in a garage
  • Have a tasty lunch at The Cheese Shop in Merchants’ Square in Williamsburg (http://www.cheeseshopwilliamsburg.com/)
  • Go to your hotel for a dip in the pool, a nap, or a chance to chill
  • Whenever you’re ready later in the afternoon, head out to the Yorktown Battlefield – the Visitors’ Center closes at 5:00, but you can still wander around the redoubts, climb the canons, and stop by Surrender Field – and it’s free after closing! This option probably only works in the summer though, because they close off all the other areas at sunset.
  • Get a good dinner – at a colonial Williamsburg tavern if you made a reservation and can shell out the cash, or at an Italian place like Maurizio’s on Route 60 – yum!


  • Start your day off early with a good breakfast and a drive out to Jamestown – you’ll be surprised at how much it’s like a quite famous Disney movie!
  • If it’s going to be a hot one, do yourself a favor and skip right past all the indoor exhibits when you arrive. Breeze past all of the cool and interesting parts of the grounds, and hurry out all the way to where the boat replicas are. Since you have to come back the same way anyway, you can get to the farthest point, and then take your time strolling back through the fort, the Indian Village and anything else you want to see!
  • Time for one more meal before heading out! Whatever you do, don’t go to an old tavern hoping you’ll get in because it’s only lunchtime. You’ll end up out in the Biergarten, eating hot dogs off paper plates like all the other poor slobs who didn’t beat the rush to make it to an inside table.

A few general notes:

  • If you have older kids, they might be ready for and enjoy the pricey Williamsburg tickets to walk through some of the renovated buildings etc. Don’t even bother with toddlers!
  • Of the three sights, Yorktown was my favorite, and it was the one we just kind of squeezed in at the last minute, so you never know. Enjoy your trip!

Leave a Reply