Jamestown, Virginia: The Beginning of the United States

Lisa Fritscher January 11, 2011 1 Comment

Jamestown Virginia Statue

This statue marks the spot where the first colonists arrived from England in 1607

Everyone knows the story of the Pilgrims arriving at Plymouth Rock. What is not as well known, however, is the story of Jamestowne (as it was spelled in the 1600s). A group of 104 travelers from England, financed by the Virginia Company of London, landed on the Virginia shore in 1607. The settlement managed to survive intense hardships in the early years, making it the first permanent English colony in what would become the United States.


Historic Triangle Shuttle Route

The free Historic Triangle shuttle has stops at the Visitor Centers for both Historic Jamestowne and the Jamestown Settlement

In those earliest days, who would have guessed that less than 170 years later another town just around the corner would become the seat of the American Revolution? Today Jamestown is considered part of the Historic Triangle alongside Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown. If you are visiting the Williamsburg area, Jamestown is an easy day trip. You can even take the free Historic Triangle shuttle bus.

Jamestown Settlement

Jamestown Settlement

Kids can play freely at the Jamestown Settlement

The Jamestown Settlement is not actually the site of the original colony. Instead, it is a recreation of the fort, the ships that carried the original settlers, and a Powhatan Indian village. The Powhatan tribe was instrumental in helping the settlers acclimatize to their new surroundings, as well as an important source of trading. Costumed interpreters are on hand throughout the day, and since the “artifacts” are actually reproductions, kids are permitted to run and play freely throughout the buildings.

Jamestown Settlement Museum

The museum at Jamestown Settlement is a must-see for older kids and adults

There is also a fairly extensive museum on site that chronicles the history of the area. Small children may not get much out of the museum displays, but older kids and adults will not want to miss this. Perhaps the adults in your group could trade off visiting the museum and the settlement?

There is an admission fee to Jamestown Settlement. Depending on your family’s needs, it may be best to purchase one of the many combination tickets that include admission to Colonial Williamsburg and/or nearby Yorktown. Visit the Jamestown Settlement website for the latest information.

Historic Jamestowne

Jamestown Colony Site

This is the site of the original Jamestown colony

Historic Jamestowne is the site of the original settlement. The site is jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. There is a small fee for adult admission, while those aged 15 and under are admitted free. Admission is included in a variety of Historic Triangle tickets. Additionally, those who hold National Park Service passes or certain other types of passes may be admitted free. Visit the Historic Jamestowne website for details.

Voorhees Archaearium

The Archaearium is great fun for all ages

The site has several points of interest including the Jamestown Memorial Church and the elaborate Voorhees Archaearium. The Archaearium is a fascinating collection of memorabilia unearthed from the original James Fort site. It also serves as a working research center, so there is no telling what sort of project may be underway during your visit. Both children and adults seem mesmerized by the displays, which do an excellent job of explaining things in a captivating way.

Tips for Parents

Powhatan Tribe Virginia

Learn the story of the Powhatan tribe including Pocahantas and John Smith

Jamestown can be surprisingly hot during the summer and cold during the winter. Rain is not uncommon, particularly during the summer months. Watch the weather forecasts and try to choose a day to visit when the weather is relatively mild. Most of the exhibits at both the settlement and the historic site are outdoors on uneven ground, so choose comfortable walking shoes and clothes that can get dirty. Although strollers are permitted in both locations, they can be unwieldy, so take one only if absolutely necessary.

There are cafeterias at both locations, but depending on where you are when you get hungry, it can be a fairly long walk to the café. Carry snacks and bottled water with you, but note that both must be entirely put away in a bag or purse when visiting the museum or outdoor living history areas at Jamestown Settlement. There are sidewalks and benches along the perimeter where you can move to have a snack.

The Historic Triangle shuttle runs throughout the day between the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center and Jamestown with stops at both the Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne. Shuttle service may be limited or unavailable during the winter months. The shuttle is free and convenient, but those with very small children may prefer to take your own car. The drive is short and easy, parking is free, and having a car gives you total flexibility in your schedule.

avatarAbout the Author:

Lisa is a full-time travel writer. She lives in an RV with her disabled father and writes about their experiences. Although she has no children of her own, Lisa loves being an Aunt to her own relatives and the children of all her friends. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Travel Confessions.

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One Comments to “Jamestown, Virginia: The Beginning of the United States”
  1. avatar Yorktown Virginia: Where the American Revolution Was Won says:

    [...] spots are accessible via the free Historic Triangle shuttle bus from Colonial Williamsburg or Jamestown. The shuttle is reasonably convenient, but if you have a car you may prefer the flexibility of [...]