Free Things to Do in Williamsburg – 10 Must-Try Activities

Sparkling York River views, fascinating American Revolution history, and a healthy dash of colonial culture come together to make Williamsburg a destination on everyone’s lips.

Scurry away to this Virginia paradise to experience everything from heart-pounding hikes to world-class theme park adventures. However, a visit to Colonial Williamsburg doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Follow along to discover all of the free things to do in Williamsburg VA.

Rev that engine and rest your feet with a scenic car ride down the Colonial Parkway, or get a spine-tingling thrill when you pay a visit to the 18th-century graveyard at Freedom Park.

Soak in the ambiance of tri-cornered hats, breeches, and muskets with a stroll around the Colonial Williamsburg historic area. Or stop to smell the fragrance blooms in the Williamsburg Botanical Garden.

Ready to explore what to do in Williamsburg VA? Read on…

Williamsburg Hotels

Before we dive into all of the thrilling free things to do in Williamsburg VA this weekend, you’ll need to secure some lodgings. While we can’t wave a magic wand and grant you a luxury suite complete with a whirlpool spa for free, we can offer you the most diverse array of Williamsburg Hotels and Resorts.

Whether you are angling for budget-friendly options just moments from William and Mary, or are planning an excursion to Busch Gardens we have got you covered. As always, make your reservation stress free knowing you are guaranteed our lowest rates online.

If you’ve packed your britches and perfected your ‘Huzzah’ it’s time to hit the road and conquer the things to do near Williamsburg VA. While theme park tickets and hitting up the retail outlets can quickly drive up the price of your Virginia getaway, we are here to spill the details on completely free attractions in Williamsburg.

From ferry rides to historic reenactments, there are plenty of free things to do in Williamsburg VA!

Williamsburg Schooner Alliance

Jamestown Scotland Ferry

Free boat rides with a side of James River views? Yes, please! Score some gratis outdoor entertainment when you hop aboard the Jamestown Scotland Ferry. This free automobile and bus ferry service connects Jamestown in James City County with Scotland Wharf in Surry County.

Savor the fresh air and the same river scenery as the colonial settlers as you partake in this 15-minute journey. Once you reach the Surry side be sure to budget some time to visit one of the oldest working plantations in the U.S. – Chippokes Plantation State Park.

William and Mary

Exposed brick buildings, cobblestone-lined pathways, and lush quad spaces studded with oak trees come together to make an immaculate collegiate experience at William & Mary. The second oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and Thomas Jefferson’s alma mater, makes for a history-laden stop on any Williamsburg itinerary.

Take yourself on a self-guided tour of the school that produced four Supreme Court justices and 16 members of the Continental Congress. Stroll past the picturesque Wren Building constructed in 1700, or toss around a frisbee in the Sunken Garden aka the quad.

Looking to add a splash of local lore to your tour? Grab your special someone and head to Crim Dell Bridge. Legend has it that couples who cross the bridge are destined to be together forever.

Williamsburg Botanical Garden

Wildflowers, wetlands, and marshes, oh my! Enter a world of pollinators, preservation, and mindful sustainability when you visit the Williamsburg Botanical Garden. Explore a number of different ecosystems housed within the garden and arboretum. Let your nose be tantalized by the smell of fresh rosemary, chives, and Mountain Mint.

Or, watch American Lady and Monarch butterflies flock to their favorite plants. The garden even operates a special therapy area that allows interactive hands-on gardening for children and adults with or without physical disabilities. Feel free to bring along your camera to document the vibrant meadows of wildflowers and 15 species of daffodil bulbs.

Freedom Park

Sunny skies require a hearty picnic and a perfect park. Make your way to Freedom Park to enjoy a day of open meadows, hiking trails, and Revolutionary War History. Visitors of all ages will find lots to love within the park’s almost 700 acres which contain historically accurate recreated cabins, an 18th-century cemetery, and mountain bike trails.

In fact, Freedom Park is home to one of the nation’s earliest free black settlements and was also the site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Spencer’s Ordinary. Embrace the soothing sounds of gurgling creeks, or make use of the park’s picnic shelters and playground facilities post lunch.

Couple walking on the Riverwalk Landing with their gear for a picnic in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
photo credit: Visit Williamsburg via Facebook

Waller Mill Park

Seeking some H20-infused recreation? Swing by Waller Mill Park for over two thousand acres of outdoor recreation. This scenic public play space delivers fishing, pedal boating, kayaking, and canoeing facilities.

Opened in July 1972, locals and visitors alike flock here during the warmer months to explore both the upper and lower sections of the lake. Those traveling with kids can also take advantage of the play fields and playground areas. Feeling competitive? Try rounding up some friends and taking part in a few spirited games of cornhole.

Colonial Parkway

Are your ‘dogs’ barking for a break? Give your tired feet a reprieve, when you load up the car and cruise through the 23-mile scenic drive known as the Colonial Parkway. Run by the National Park System, this stunning roadway connects the Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown Historic Area.

Travel over this 60-year auto route to indulge in views of both the James and York Rivers. With multiple interpretive pull-offs, visitors will have ample opportunity to learn about the area’s history, bird watch, or picnic. Flowering trees and brick-built overpasses only add to the historic charm of this Virginia drive.

Ride the Yorktown Trolley

Three cheers for free public transit! Stay cool and see some of Williamsburg’s top sights with ease, when you let the Yorktown Trolley do the driving. Sit back and relax as you settle in for a 4-mile loop ride aboard this mahogany and brass-trimmed trolley.

Avoid the hassle of parking, and get complimentary service to 11 top tourist destinations including the historic Yorktown Village, the Riverwalk Landing, and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Your friendly driver will even dispense helpful tips and information regarding each trolley stop.

Sounds of Summer Concert Series

Groovy tunes set against the backdrop of a York River summer make for a lively Thursday night. Treat yourself to an outdoor concert free of charge when you schedule in the Sounds of Summer Concert Series. Prime yourself for an evening full of live music, mingling, and yummy eats.

These free outdoor concerts run from June through August and last from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pack up a snuggly blanket, chairs, and a small cooler, and you’ll be all set for a delicious al fresco dinner and show.

Sounds of Summer is a family-friendly event, and guests can hit up the dance floor, play cornhole, or peruse food truck offerings, making it among the cheap things to do in Williamsburg, VA.

Close up photo of a bottle of wine with lit candles next to it and a couple kissing in the background at Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
photo credit: Williamsburg Winery via Facebook

Free Things to Do in Colonial Williamsburg

Horse-drawn carriages, costumed guides, and revolutionary war soldiers. You can almost smell the canon fire and home-brewed ales and elixirs when you enter Colonial Williamsburg.

Although you will need a Colonial Williamsburg ticket to go inside the museum and buildings, you can absorb the historically accurate ambiance throughout the grounds and interact with interpreters. Seek out the Grand Union Flag outside of a building’s entrance, as this shows it is open to the public.

Enjoy live brass music in Merchants Square or pause to admire the building’s 18th-century-inspired architecture. Refuel after your tour of the historic area with a quick pint in one of the area’s charming taverns.

The heart of Colonial America, Williamsburg somehow manages to straddle the old and the new effortlessly. Here, visitors can envision what life was like at the Jamestown Settlement, or treat themselves to days of water park fun.

Thankfully, a getaway to the Colonial Capital doesn’t always mean shelling out tons of cash.

Relish river views and early settlement scenery with a free ferry ride, or secure your love story for years to come, when you cross the Crim Dell Bridge at William and Mary.

Hang out for an evening of hopping tunes, lawn games, and dancing with a summer concert series, or enjoy your tourism with a side of free trolley rides. Don’t miss out on the fun things to do in Williamsburg VA!

Free Things to Do In Williamsburg VA FAQs

Curious if the Colonial Williamsburg bus is free? You'll be delighted to know this historic destination offers a complimentary bus service to make your visit even more convenient. So, hop on and off as you explore the charming streets without worrying about any extra charges!

Wondering if Williamsburg, VA is a walkable city? You’re in luck! The City of Williamsburg is bicycle-friendly and is known for its easy walkability, making it a joy to explore its charming streets and historical sites on foot or by bike.

When planning your visit to the historic town of Williamsburg, VA, it's recommended to spend at least four days to fully immerse yourself in its rich colonial history and modern attractions. By dedicating at least four days, you'll ensure a more relaxed and complete experience, making the most out of every moment.

Wherever You Go in This Quaint Virginia Enclave You’ll be Blessed by an Abundance of Free Fun.

Tell us, what are your favorite free things to do Williamsburg VA?

Leave a comment below!


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Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...


2 comments about “Free Things to Do in Williamsburg – 10 Must-Try Activities”

Joan Mann

January 30, 2022 at 3:58 pm

Where is the pestatel with the big green rock located? I would like to know what that stone is.


Teresa

February 1, 2022 at 10:10 am

Hi Joan! Now we are curious too. 😊 Can you give us a bit more information so we can investigate further?


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