The much beloved and anticipated late spring weather of Williamsburg, Virginia has finally arrived! Tourists and locals alike are packing picnics and heading outdoors to enjoy some of the area’s best parks. Need an idea for your next adventure? We have compiled a list of the best parks in the greater WIlliamsburg area, as well as some suggestions of the best food to pack along for hiking, beach, and even boat and fishing activities.
This is our #1 pick for parks in the Williamsburg area. Freedom Park provides an experience for a wide range of guests. For the history lover, it provides cabin replicas from the nation’s earliest known Free Black Settlement, archeological research from the 1600s, as well as Revolutionary battle sites and other historical areas. This park also includes the Williamsburg Botanical Garden, which offers beautiful botany as well as events throughout the year. Freedom Park is also home to GoApe! This attraction is a tree-top ziplining adventure course, with a range of courses for adults and children.
In addition to the extra attractions, this park offers everything else you would expect from a Virginia state park, including hiking and biking trails, picnic shelters, fire pits, and more.
Picnic Suggestions: Picnic shelters and firepits really expand your picnic options. Think about bringing foods you can grill at the park! Bring the rest of your sides ready to serve on break-resistant plates with plasticware.
A few miles down the road from the historic Jamestown Settlement, located right on the James River, is the Jamestown Beach Event Park. This park offers a beautiful beach front, covered picnic areas with charcoal grills, observation piers, fishing areas, and paddleboating activities. They are unique in that they have concession areas providing snacks, ice cream, and ice for purchase, open seasonally from Memorial to Labor Day. This is a great alternative to driving all the way to Virginia Beach!
Picnic Suggestion: Beach picnics can be tricky with all the sand and the hot sun. Pack salads that are made with hearty vegetables or grains like quinoa or barley. These will hold up better than lettuce-based salads. Also, use vinegar, lemon, or mustard-based dressings that wont spoil in the heat like a mayonnaise or creamy dressing. In addition, pre-portion as much of your foods as possible. This allows everyone to eat out of pre-made containers, keeping the sand out. This will also prevent litter from plates blowing away.
This is the most traditional and largest park of the three, covering 2702 acres of land. This park offers extensive hiking and bike trails, playgrounds, picnic shelters, tables, and even a dog park. The park also has a 9-hole disc golf course. In the center of the park is a 360 acre lake. The park offers boat, kayak, and canoe rentals for fishing and recreation alike. No other park in the Williamsburg area offers quite the lake activities that Waller Mill Park does!
Picnic Suggestions: Boating picnics are the most challenging to execute, but they can also be the most peaceful and enjoyable! Everything needs to be pre-portioned ahead of time. Make foods that are hand-held, such as pressed sandwiches, seasoned pretzels, grilled potato wedges or trailmix. For special drinks, store in bottles for each person. The less “serving” the better!
These are just three of the amazing parks in Williamsburg, Virginia. Click here to see a list of more parks. Parks are an afforable way to get out and enjoy nature with family, friends, and great food!
A few more picnic tips:
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper. They wont blow away and are great for bigger picnic messes.
- Be aware of food temperature and safety. Limit perishable foods. Pack meats/perishable items with plenty of ice.
- Reduce paperwaste by using break-resistant plates or packing in resuable tupperware. Use recyclable materials to pack when possible.
- Pack desserts that can be serves room temperature, like cookies, bars, and pre-sliced fruits. (Grilled fruit is amazing for picnics!)
- Keep an eye on your litter! Leave these beautiful parks as clean as possible!