Top local destinations

Rich in history, steeped in tradition and chock-full of fun, Eastern Virginia is loaded with visitor attractions and activities, making the area an ideal vacation spot for travelers. Here's an overview of some of the area's most popular things to see and do. We invite you to use our search forms to find upcoming events and even more great reasons to visit.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a 360-acre theme park with rides, shows and other attractions in nine re-created European hamlets. Other areas amusement parks include Water Country USA, near Williamsburg; Ocean Breeze Fun Park, in Virginia Beach; and Paramount's Kings Dominion, north of Richmond.

Museums and historical sites
The Peninsula and Williamsburg

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Colonial Williamsburg
is the world's largest outdoor museum, featuring 88 original Colonial dwellings, shops and outbuildings, hundreds of authentically reconstructed buildings, elaborate gardens, period crafts and cultural demonstrations. What to see there

At the site of the first permanent English settlement in the New World, archeologists on Historic Jamestowne are uncovering remains of the colonists' first fort. The island also offers a museum, a visitors center and costumed craftsmen demonstrating the art of 17th-century glassblowing. At Jamestown Settlement you'll find a re-creation of the fort built by settlers in 1607, a 17th-century Indian village and replicas of the sailing ships Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.

The Yorktown Victory Monument commemorates the victory over the British and serves as the backdrop for fireworks, concerts and other celebrations. Nearby, at the Yorktown Victory Center, exhibits, film and a living history encampment describe the events leading up to the American and French victory over the British under Lord Cornwallis.

The Mariners Museum contains one of the world's great collections of maritime artifacts, ship models, maritime paintings and decorative arts. The Hampton University Museum features changing exhibits of African-American and Native American art, plus one of the nation's leading permanent collections of African and African-American art. What to see there

The Virginia Air & Space Center traces the history of the area from the first landing of the English colonists to the NASA research that helped put men on the moon. The Virginia Living Museum features the natural habitats of native Virginia animals such as otters, eagles, bobcats and foxes in the outdoor area of the museum. Inside the museum are more exhibits and a planetarium. The Virginia War Museum, which houses one of the nation's largest collections of military artifacts, features uniforms, weapons, posters, photographs, insignia, vehicles and accouterments of U.S. military history from 1775 to the present.

See our guide to Downtown Hampton


The Chrysler Museum of Art exhibits contemporary and period art plus a permanent collection of more than 30,000 objects, including a world-renowned collection of glass and important holdings in Italian baroque art and 19th-century French paintings. What to see there

The MacArthur Memorial Museum is an exhibit, library and theater complex featuring memorabilia, archives and film on the life of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The high-tech interactive exhibits at

Nauticus, the National Maritime Center, give this new $52 million attraction the characteristics of both a museum and a theme park. Nauticus is also home of the battleship USS Wisconsin.

See our guide to Downtown Norfolk.


The Children's Museum of Virginia features more than 65 hands-on exhibits focusing on natural science and probes into magnetism, sound, light, electricity, computers, the environment and solar system. The museum also has a 64-seat planetarium.

See our guide to Olde Towne Portsmouth.

Virginia Beach

The Virginia Marine Science Museum features more than 800,000 gallons of aquariums and live animal habitats, over 300 hands-on exhibits, an outdoor aviary, 10 acres of marsh habitat and a 1/3-mile nature trail.


The Edgar Allan Poe Museum features the life and career of Edgar Allan Poe, documenting his accomplishments with pictures, relics, and verse, and focusing on his many years in Richmond. A highlight of the Museum of the Confederacy is the more than 100 artifacts and letters in the exhibit "The Hope of Eight Million People: The Confederate Soldier." The Science Museum of Virginia contains over 250 permanent hands-on exhibits designed to encourage visitors of all ages to experiment, learn, explore, and delve into scientific concepts.

Outer Banks of North Carolina

Roanoke Island Festival Park explores the island's role in history, including England's first attempt to colonize North America. Attractions include the Elizabeth II, a representative 16th century sailing vessel; "The Legend of Two Path," a docu-drama about the Native Americans of Roanoke Island; and the 8,500-square-foot exhibit hall. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is the site of the first powered airplane flight, in 1903, and offers a replica of the plane and other exhibits, including a reconstruction of the Wrights' camp. The impressive granite monument atop Big Kill Devil Hill is a local landmark.

See our guide to the Outer Banks.