Historic Jamestowne

Quick Facts

Historic Jamestowne

Virginia

(757) 229-1733

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Historic Jamestowne is the site of the first permanent English colony in North America. An island situated on the banks of the James River, Jamestown is a place of many beginnings representing the very foundations of whom and what we are as a people and a nation. Visit Historic Jamestowne and step back into history by walking the same grounds as John Smith and Pocahontas. There were other European settlements in America before Jamestown, but our language, the majority of our customs and our laws come from our English ancestry. Jamestown is the beginning of America. Visit the Memorial Church, which sits on the very site of the 1617 church. It is from here that the first permanent English settlement laid its roots in 1607. It is from here that the first representative legislative assembly in North America met in 1619. It is from here that three continents came together as Europeans encountered American Indians, and later brought enslaved Africans to this land. As the seat of Virginia government Jamestown became the focal point of Bacon's rebellion in 1676.

The "Olde Towne" section consists of 22.5 acres on the western end of Jamestown Island, which includes the original site of the 1607 fort and statehouse site of the late 17th century. Only the Church tower remains of the original Jamestown, but visitors can still walk the site of James Fort and James City proper. Additionally, the Jamestown Rediscovery Project, begun994 by Dr. William Kelso, has located over ninety percent of the 1607 fort on land. The Rediscovery team has excavated and studied structures, wells and burials, and has collected over a million and a half artifacts from the site. In 1893 the owners of the Island, Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. Barney, donated this plot of land to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now called Preservation Virginia). Visit Preservation Virginia's website to learn more about the rediscovery of the fort of 1607 at their website: preservationvirginia.org.

In the "New Towne" section, visitor can walk the streets of James City and see the foundations of homes, taverns and industrial complexes.

Map of Jamestown

Latitude, Longitude: 37.214199, -76.765595

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Activities

  • Bird Watching

    There several hundred species of birds visible on the island including two nesting pairs of bald eagles.

  • Bicycling

    Bicyclists may explore the park via Island Drive, which begins at the east end of the parking lot. A five-mile loop road follows the higher ground of the island, and the shorter, three-mile loop is accessible by bearing left at the second fork in the road. Bicyclists may use all paved roadways within the park and should follow the same laws and regulations that apply to the safe operation of motor vehicles as required in local and state laws. In order to conform to state laws, bicycles should travel in single file and stay on the right side of the road. Bicyclists should be aware that these roads have vehicular traffic and practice good defensive cycling techniques. Regulations prohibit bicycling on the actual Historic Jamestowne site. Another popular route is the Colonial Parkway, a 23-mile scenic three-lane highway that connects Yorktown Battlefield, Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestowne. (These three sites are known as the Historic Triangle.) The Parkway starts at the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center parking, heads west following the York River to Williamsburg, turns south to follow the James River, and ends up in the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center parking lot.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Island Drive is a popular way to explore the park. The drive begins at the east end of the parking lot. A five-mile loop road follows the higher ground of the island, and the shorter, three-mile loop is accessible by bearing left at the second fork in the road.

    The drive will introduce you to the natural environment which the English colonist encountered. Today, the Island Drive affords views of the island, James River, the marshlands, and regenerating forest. You will also see the "Gallery in the Woods,"a series of interpretive paintings illustrating the earliest industries attempted by the settlers. These paintings are located at pull offs along the drive.

    Please remember that the loop drive is also used by pedestrians and bike riders. Drive carefully and observe all speed limits. Due to weight limits of the loop drive bridges large vehicles, such as campers, RVs and buses, are not allowed.

    You may observe wildlife during your tour. Keep in mind that you should never feed or attempt to approach wild animals. Always admire them from a safe distance. This is the best way to ensure your safety, as well as theirs.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is permitted at Black Point only. A valid Virginia fishing license is required and all state rules and regulations apply. Visitors may fish along the rocky shoreline at Black Point, but not from the bridge.

  • Hiking

    Visitors can walk through the historic sites or walk along the loop drive. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes as the Historic site is about three-quarters of a mile long.

  • Historic Sites

    Visitors may explore the historic park on their own or participate in guided tours, which concentrate on America's beginnings with this First Permanent English Settlement at Jamestown. From these tours visitors can learn many little know facts about America's beginnings; from times of starvation and cannibalism to times of industry and prosperity; from times of martial law and harsh punishments to times of representative government; and from times of a work force of indentured servants to the arrival of the first Africans and the road to slavery.

  • Picnicking

    There are two small picnic areas in the Visitor Center parking lot (picnicking on the historic grounds is prohibited). The picnic tables are located on the east end of the parking lot. The larger area contains eight picnic benches and the smaller area contains four picnic benches. Each picnic bench can seat eight adults or perhaps 10 students. There are three vending machines on the back patio of the visitor center, which sell drinks, water and snacks. These vending machines are operated by Preservation Virginia through the museum gift shop. If you need assistance with the machines or change please see the gift shop attendants. These picnic areas are "Leave No Trace" areas. Please take your trash with you when you leave.

    Preservation Virginia also operates Dale House Café on the historic site at the Dale House along the river.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Visitors can look for mammals like raccoon, opossum, mink and red tail fox, and reptiles and amphibians such as turtles, lizards, snakes and frogs.

Seasonality/Weather

The best times to visit the Southeastern United States are fall and spring. Summer days are usually hot and humid.

During the summer season visitors should dress in light, comfortable clothing, wear comfortable shoes and use sunscreen. Carry a bottle of water with you. High temperatures and high humidity create higher risk of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Most of the Historic site is out-of-doors and although not a great distance from an air-conditioned building, staying properly hydrated will help prevent these illnesses. During the fall visitors should have a light jacket available as temperatures can drop suddenly. Winter temperatures can be unpredictable, ranging from mild to extremely cold. Use this link for a five day forecast of local conditions. The settlers wrote that at Jamestown "the air is alive with a buzz." The same can be said today. Visitors should be prepared for this onslaught by wearing appropriate clothing and/or insect repellant.

Directions

Driving

Situated on the banks of the James River, Jamestown is a short distance from many major roadways and highways. For a google map search or GPS, use the following address: 1368 Colonial Parkway, Jamestown, Virginia 23081.

FROM INTERSTATE 64 (I-64)

When traveling east or west on I-64 take exit 242A (Route 199 West). At the third stoplight, Jamestown Road, turn left. Follow Jamestown Road until you see the signs for Jamestown Settlement, a Virginia Living History Park and turn left. Follow the road around the Living History parking lot to the stop sign. Turn right onto the Colonial Parkway. About 100 yards down the road you will come to the entrance gate for Historic Jamestowne. Follow the road about a mile to the parking lot and Visitors Center. Welcome to Historic Jamestowne.

FROM WILLIAMSBURG

Take Jamestown Road, Route 31, south towards the James River. Turn left at the Jamestown Settlement sign (Rt 359) and follow the road around the parking lot until you come to the stop sign. Turn right onto the Colonial Parkway. Follow the parkway to the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center (about one mile). Again, welcome to Historic Jamestowne.

FROM THE YORKTOWN AREA

Take the Colonial Parkway to Route 199 West. Follow 199 West until you come to Jamestown Road. Turn left onto Jamestown Road. Follow Jamestown Road until you see the signs for Jamestown Settlement. Turn left at the Jamestown Settlement sign (Rt 359) and follow the road around the parking lot until you come to the stop sign. Turn right onto the Colonial Parkway. Follow the parkway to the Historic Jamestowne Visitor Center (about one mile). Again, welcome to Historic Jamestowne.

Flying

To Jamestown: Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (30-45 minutes east of Jamestown), Norfolk International Airport (over one hour east) and Richmond International Airport (over one hour west) provide commercial air service.

Public Transportation

AMTRAK has stations in Newport News and Williamsburg. Greyhound has commercial bus service to Newport News and Williamsburg. Rental cars and taxi service are available from all of these locations.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(757) 229-1733

Links