Colonial National Historical Park

Colonial National Historical Park

Things To Do

Things To Do

Colonial National Historical Park is a multifaceted park providing something for everyone. For the nature lovers we have bird watching with over 200 various species. Wild life abounds with deer, raccoon, opossum, Red Tail Fox, Mink, Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey and many others. During the spring the fields are a rainbow of colors with wild flowers blossoming everywhere. In the fall the forest and tree lined parkway become a kaleidoscope of reds, orange, and browns.

For the health conscious you can walk, run or bike our Battlefield Tour roads, the Jamestown 3-5 mile loop drive or the Colonial Parkway. Or, if you prefer, you can drive these roads in the air-conditioned comfort of your automobile.

For the history minded our park spans the timelines from pre-colonization, through Colonial Virginia; from the end of English Colonial America through the American Revolutionary War; from America's Independence to the Civil War.

Guided Tours

Colonial National Historical Park has several types of guided tours and programs. There are self-guided tours, ranger and park guide tours, living history tours, glass-blowing demonstrations, and for our younger visitors hands-on programs like our pinch pot, non-firing artillery demonstrations, Young Soldiers program and the Junior Ranger Program. Please check the individual web sites for Jamestown and Yorktown for specific information about proprams and times for each of theses sites.

Self-Guided Tours:
Visitors are always welcome to roam our historic sites at their own leisure. Take your time and see what you want to see. For your convenience maps are available at the visitor centers.

Ranger and Park Guide Tours:
For those who like some kind of structured program Ranger and Park Guide Tours are available at both Jamestown and Yorktown. These tours will take you around to several stops on the historic Jamestown, through the town of York, and around the Yorktown Battlefield providing an in-depth history of what happened. Each Ranger and Park Guide tour will provide insight and some unique points of history that one normally does not get from the history books. Tour times are dependent on staffing. Tours generally last between 30 and 45 minutes.

Living History Tours:
Join a costumed interpreter portraying one of Jamestown's 17th century residents and hear of the trials, tribulations, successes and failures during Jamestown's 92 years as the social and political center of Virginia. Join such personalities as John Rolfe, Rachel Stanton, Joan Peirce, Captain Samuel Argall, and Lady Yeardley to travel back in time to when the foundations of who and what we are as a people and a nation were laid. Program times are generally 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on the dates noted below.

Schedule of Living History for 2007
July 1, 3-8, 10-15, 17-22, 24-28, 31
August 1-5, 7-12, 14, 15, 17-19, 22, 25, 26, 29, 31
September 1-3, 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26, 29
October 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, 31
November 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 23, 24

Bicycling Information

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 Yorktown Battlefield or Historic Jamestowne sites.
 
The Colonial Parkway, a 23-mile scenic three-lane highway, 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.
 
The National Park Service maintains and patrols the Parkway. Pull-offs of historical significance along the Parkway provides scenic views and historical information. In keeping with the natural beauty and the Colonial atmosphere of the route, the three-line roadway is not marked with white or yellow dividing lines. Composed of a cobble aggregate pavement, the highway simulates an early Colonial Virginia roadway and can present a rough, bumpy ride for bicyclists. The center lane of this three-lane roadway is for passing only; signs indicate no passing zones.
 

The Parkway has a tunnel under part of Colonial Williamsburg and regulations prohibit pedestrians or bicycles in the tunnel for safety reasons. To access the bicycle tunnel bypass from Yorktown, take the exit after the Parkway passes under Lafayette Street. At the "T" turn right onto England Street. Turn left onto Lafayette Street. Follow Lafayette Street to Henry Street and turn left again. Follow Henry Street until you reach Newport Avenue. Turn left and follow the signs to Jamestown via the Colonial Parkway. Turn right onto the Parkway.

There are two tour roads in Yorktown, the seven-mile Battlefield Tour Road, marked by red arrows, and the nine-mile Encampment Tour Road, marked by yellow arrows. The Battlefield Tour Road begins at the Visitor Center parking lot. The nine-mile Encampment Tour Road begins at Surrender Field. Both routes utilize other park roads and heavily-traveled state highways. (The Encampment Tour road has less traffic.) Motor vehicles may use all streets in Yorktown, except Main Street. Main Street closes to vehicular traffic Spring through Fall. On the Tobacco Road footbridge, bicyclists must dismount and walk across for safety reasons. Pick up maps of the tour roads and town from the Battlefield Visitor Center.

Jamestown has a one-way three/five mile scenic loop drive of the Island. This loop drive is open to pedestrians, bicycles and motor vehicles. Safety issues prohibit buses, motor homes or vehicles over 5-tons from using the Loop Drive. From the Historic Jamestowne parking lot, follow the signs to the loop drive. All state and local traffic regulations apply.