Hot Tips & Cool Sips: The Top Five Reasons to Visit
Yorktown This Summer!
Well, as of July 3, we are officially in the dog days of summer. From now until August 11, you can expect the hottest and sultriest weeks of the season. For many of us, that means more beach plans and time spent near the water. Whether it’s an early morning kayak trip on the York River, a sunset sail on the Schooner Alliance, or an air-conditioned tour of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown—we're taking a look at just some of the many ways to beat the heat when you Visit Yorktown!
# 1 – Outdoor Fun
Feel the Wind in Your Hair!
Pirate Adventure Cruises
Water isn’t just for drinking; it’s also for sailing. And Captain Mayhem is looking for new recruits aboard the Schooner Alliance! Join his band of marauders during a Pirate Adventure Cruise on the York River. Children get to raise the sails, steer the angry seas, and even fire a cannon! Tickets are $29 for kids (12 and under) and $41 for adults. These kid-focused cruises depart from Riverwalk Landing at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Sitting under the shade of the sails with the breeze blowing in off the water makes this one of our favorite ways to explore Yorktown in the summer. You can also book daytime history sails or, even better, sunset sails with wine and beer for sale. Don’t forget to pack your sunscreen along with your spirit of adventure.
The Alliance will remain at port in Yorktown through the beginning of November when it traditionally heads south for the winter.
Patriot Tours & Provisions
If you’re looking for a bit of a slower pace to take in the water views—consider coasting down the river in a rented kayak or paddle board from Patriot Tours. You can also rent a bicycle to ride in and around Historic Yorktown, exploring the trails on the Battlefield shielded by the cover of the centuries old trees.
Yorktown Ghost Walks
Another time to take advantage of slightly cooler temps is after the sun goes down. You may not feel the wind in your hair on this one – but you’re likely to feel the hair on your arms stand up and may even get some goosebumps. Learn about the history and haunts of Colonial Yorktown as told by actual paranormal investigators when you book a Yorktown Ghost Walk. These year-round tours run Monday through Thursday at 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. (757.759.1320). Tickets are $10 per person, with a 20% discount for military and first responders.
#2 - Special Events
Evening Concerts, Farmers Markets & More!
Sounds of Summer Concerts
Thursday Evenings | 7 to 9:30 p.m.
Yorktown's Sounds of Summer concert series runs Thursday nights from 7 to 9:30 p.m. through August 26 and we can’t think of a better way to enjoy FREE entertainment for the whole family. While our days have gotten longer, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy the performance, dancing under the stars.
Make sure you get there early to enjoy dinner or dessert at any of Historic Yorktown's waterfront restaurants, including Water Street Grille, Riverwalk Restaurant, Carrot Tree, Umi Sushi, Ben & Jerry's, Yorktown Pub, and Larry's. There will also be a rotating food truck at each concert to serve up some delicious grab-and-go options!
See a band you like? Add it to your calendar so you don’t forget!
July 15: Bachelor Boys Band
July 22: Band of Oz
July 29: Soul Expressions
August 5: The Uptown Band
August 12: Another Level
August 19: Slapnation (rescheduled date)
August 26: Tidewater Drive Band (rescheduled date)
Yorktown's Waterfront Farmers Markets!
Saturdays | 8 a.m. to 12 p.m..
If ever there was a reason to get up and at ‘em early on a Saturday, Yorktown Market Days is it! Enjoy spectacular views of the York River before the real heat of the day. You'll also find live music on select days, weekly food trucks, and a fantastic variety of vendors and artists at Riverwalk Landing. You don’t want to miss National Farmers Market Week on August 7. Learn how your produce is grown, where your seafood is caught, and how your meats are butchered. More than 40 vendors and artists line the Riverwalk selling Virginia-grown products, scratch-made baked goods, and handcrafted works of art.
Seafood Festival & Running of the Blue Crabs
July 17 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Join in a day of fun and great seafood at the Watermen’s Museum, including music, crafts, and vendors from local providers. You can eat at picnic tables under the tent or purchase fresh items to prepare at home. In conjunction with its Summer Seafood Fest, the Watermen’s Museum invites you to join in the inaugural Running of the Blue Crabs at 10 a.m. This fun-filled family event will take place just down the street from the Museum, led by costumed Blue Crabs and officiated by King Neptune himself. The sideways stroll down the Riverwalk will begin at the gazebo near the entrance to the Riverwalk Landing piers, proceed through Riverwalk Landing’s shops and restaurants, and end at the Museum. Each walker under the age of 18 will receive a participation prize donated by Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Patriot Tours & Provisions, and Carrot Tree.
#3 - Sip, Sip, Hooray!
Ice Cold Beer, Bourbon-Flavored Milk Shakes & Alcoholic Slushies!
Historic Yorktown includes several one-of-a-kind eateries with vast menus ranging from fresh seafood, sushi, artisan brick-oven pizzas, wings, and burgers to gourmet cakes and desserts. And while all the grub is amazing, we want to take a minute to talk about…the drinks. Yes, bartender; I’ll have another!
Water Street Grille & Riverwalk Restaurant
Water Street Grille keeps more than 20 micro-brews on a rotated tap, so expect something different every time you stop in. Can’t decide what to order? Consider a flight and sample different brews. Once you find your favorite, grab a growler to take home or back to your hotel room or timeshare. During the summer, you can also expect live music on Friday and Saturday nights! Next door at Riverwalk Restaurant, grab a flight of chilled rosés to enjoy at the bar or out on the patio.
Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
A trip to Riverwalk Landing with the kids isn’t complete without a sweet treat. Ben & Jerry’s has quite a few options to cool down even if you have peanut allergies, gluten allergies, or are lactose intolerant. Ask to try their non-dairy flavors and those made with sunflower seed butter. They recently added Whiskey Biz™ to the lineup. Ummmmm, make mine a double! It’s Brown Butter Bourbon Ice Cream with Blonde Brownies & Whiskey Caramel Swirls.
Ben & Jerry’s isn’t the only one with a fun menu. Riverwalk Landing’s newest resident, Gangsta Dog, sells 12 different flavors of ice cream for your pup! We stopped by to get the scoop. The main ingredient is lactose-free milk, some sugar, and natural flavoring like peanut butter, pumpkin, vanilla, cheese, maple bacon, and more They’re made for dog owners to mix at home. Just add a little hot water to the mix, put it in the freezer, and voilà! They are perfect to travel with if you’re visiting. Oh, and that’s not all they serve. Check out their three different dog-friendly wines too: Pawrignon (rosé), Zinfantail (champagne), and Fetch Me Noir (basic red wine).
If your dog likes to swim, you'll also find water-proof collars and leashes as well as some really cool water toys made from recycled plastic.
After a long day of sunning and swimming at the beach, there's nothing better than a nice tall glass of cold lemonade. Unless it’s a nice tall glass of a Larry's hard lemonade slushie, that is! This delicious frozen concoction is made with their now-famous fruit-style beer brewed right here in Hampton Roads. It comes in Pink Slush, Yellow Slush, and Tie Die Slush flavors—just to name a few!
#4 Cool Ways to Learn History!
Costumed Interpreters, a 4-D Theater & Driving Tours
Yorktown’s chapter in American history is a significant one. And our historic sites reflect the culmination of the stories of Washington, Cornwallis, Lafayette, De Grasse, and the thousands of soldiers and sailors of the American, British, and French nations that make up the collective story of Yorktown.
American Revolution Museum at Yorktown
One of your first stops when you visit, to learn more about our nation's story, should definitely be the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. Cool off in the air-conditioned indoor galleries with period artifacts and immersive environments and films like “The Siege of Yorktown." It's shown on a 180-degree surround screen complete with dramatic special effects like smoke and vibrations from the cannon and musket fire!
The film features portrayals of allied Generals Washington and Rochambeau, British General Cornwallis, as well as Alexander Hamilton in his first military role in the Continental Army and his famous words – “Rush On Boys!” – as the militia secures Redoubts 9 and 10. Ticket info here.
Remember, if you live in York County, James City County, or the city of Williamsburg—admission to the museum is free with proof of residency. Huzzah!
Colonial NHP - Yorktown Battlefield
Explore the fields, earthworks, and historic buildings where American independence was won. Driving tours of the battlefield include siege lines and encampment areas. Due to COVID-19, interpretive rangers will be available at the outdoor tent only, five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Park Store and restrooms inside the Yorktown Battlefield Visitors Center will remain open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
These experiences are administered by the National Park Service as part of Colonial National Historical Park.
There's also quite a bit of knowledge - available, literally, at your fingertips. Make sure you download the new FREE mobile app, Yorktown Tour Guide before your visit. The GPS-enabled app takes you on three distinct tours (two driving and one walking) of Historic Yorktown, the Battlefield, and the Allied Encampment. There are 21 stops in all, each with audio interpretation. It's like having your own personal tour guide! The app is available through the App Store and Google Play. You can also check out their web version. Learn more here. This resource was conveniently released during the pandemic, and is the result of a collaborative effort between the American Battlefield Trust and the National Park Service.
Located just upriver from the Riverwalk Landing shops and restaurants is the Watermen's Museum, whose mission is to demonstrate the role Chesapeake Bay watermen—from pre-colonial to modern times—played in the shaping of our nation. The Museum includes historical exhibits depicting military and civilian water craft and activities, crafts and methods of their trade, and a look into the lives of the people who have worked and fought on the water.
After filling your brain with knowledge, make sure to stop in their gift shop, which is stocked with more than 500 maritime items! You’ll find everything from children's books and beautiful serving and entertaining pieces to cute little Christmas ornaments or summer souvenirs - you choose!
York County Historical Museum
You can also stop by the York County Historical Museum (located inside York Hall at 301 Main Street) to explore artifacts representing Yorktown from the time of the earliest Native Americans all the way through World War II. Call ahead because hours are based on availability (757.890.4122). Make sure you stop by the Gallery at York Hall on the main level to purchase a unique souvenir handcrafted by a local artist, to remind you of your vacation and enjoy live music in the lobby on select Sunday afternoons this summer.
# 5 – Air-Conditioned Ride Around Town
The FREE Yorktown Trolley isn’t just one of the best ways to see Historic Yorktown; it’s also a great place to take a break and cool down while you plan your next meal or adventure! The designated route takes you from the Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center all the way to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, making several convenient stops along the way. Each trolley is ADA accessible and features both an infotainment and interactive tracking system. Just download the SPOT ETA app and get an estimated time of the trolley’s arrival at various attractions. Trolleys #4 and #5 also boast individual adjustable air vents and a stabilized chassis system, making for a smooth and comfortable ride around town! (Please remember, under current orders, face masks are still required on public transportation, which includes the Trolley).
This is just a small glimpse of all there is to do in Yorktown. Be sure to follow Visit Yorktown on Facebook for special event announcements, new product alerts, fresh menu items, and more. And, York County residents - don’t forget to use your Citizen Rewards Card for discounts at several Historic Yorktown businesses!