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Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

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Corning, New York
10 posts
Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

Our family is spendig Spring Break this year (April 8-15, 2012) in Williamsburg VA. Need to make our tiny budget stretch, but still hoping to wring every drop of memory-making fun that we can out of this trip. I know that we can enjoy the ambience of Colonial Williamsburg for FREE by walking around the grounds, my question is: what is to stop us from watching the outdoor Revolutionary City performances without having paid the CW entrance admission fees?

Any other insider tips for free or cheap ways to enjoy our week in Williamsburg would be greatly appreciated (our kids are 13 and 8).

Brookneal, Virginia
Level Contributor
1,155 posts
93 reviews
1. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

From what I was told, Rev. City areas are cordoned off during program times... you need a pass to get into those areas when they are performing.

I totally get the need to do the shoestring budget.

We've always done our trips there on the cheap...

Every year CW offers half price passes online (in late November I think).

This year we got two annual passes for the price of one.

It pays to plan ahead.

That being said, if you are going to be here for a week, then it's probably a good investment to buy the pass.

Right now you can get a three day pass for $27 for an adult and $12 for a kid ages 6 - 12.

This is an online special at colonialwilliamsburg.com/visit/…index.cfm

Where else can you get 3 full days worth of entertainment for less than $100 for a family of 4 ?

The "ambience" cannot make history come alive for your kids, but experiencing the Governor's Palace, George Wythe house, the Blacksmith, Peyton Randolph house, the Capitol, and all the characters you'll meet inside these places *can* make history come alive for your kids.

CW had a profound impact on our kids through the years- and I can attribute out time there as a family to some of our son's motivation to become a government major when he went to college.

The passes are worth the cost.

You should be able to see everything you want in 3 days at CW, and then have some time to check out Jamestown/Yorktown, which you pay for once and have access to for one full week for both locations.

One great way to save a ton of money at Williamsburg is to not eat at any of the colonial restaurants.

Yes, it is a "unique" experience, but way too expensive for what you get.

For a good inexpensive lunch one block off the colonial area try Retro's

http://www.retrosgoodeats.com/

Seriously, Retros is right across the street from the Williamsburg Peanut Shop at Merchants Square.

When in Williamsburg and wanting a sit down dinner on a budget, Cracker Barrel is usually a good choice.

Hopefully your hotel will have breakfast so you can save some money there...

So to summarize, you are taking a week of vacation to experience CW, in my opinion it's worth it to get the passes and really SEE it.

Save money on food...

but have a wonderful trip and enjoy your kids while they are still at home :)

Williamsburg, VA
Destination Expert
for Williamsburg
Level Contributor
1,586 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

The Colonial Williamsburg price for a multi day ticket mentioned in the previous post is only good until March 16, 2012. Since you are planning to be here in April, the ticket prices will be higher than what the OP mentioned.

boston
Level Contributor
37 posts
14 reviews
3. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

Amy, I read your other post and understand that your husband is a pastor. I wonder if it might be worth an inquiry about discounts for clergy. I believe there are discounts for military, police, homeschoolers, etc. So maybe clergy as well?

As an aside, related to religion, With it being the first Sunday of lent I didn't want to miss church despite being on vacation so I attended services at Bruton Parish on Duke of Gloucester street. The sermon touched my soul. So glad I attended. Also, a beautiful and historic building.

Level Contributor
205 posts
4. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

Wburg on a shoestring is really like anyplace else on a shoestring. It's a decent size town with a good selection of grocery stores, drug stores and discount stores. Food and drink is the easiest place to economize. Have breakfast at your hotel (with supplies from a grocery store if your hotel doesn't have free breakfast.) When you head out for the day, carry a refillable water bottle and a brown bag lunch. A loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter goes a long way. Also, check the coupon books at gas stations, hotels etc. for deals at places like sub shops and other casual dining places. If the weather is nice, stop by a grocery store for picnic food and head to a local public park for a picnic supper. Some grocery stores may have loyalty programs where you can earn points to save money on gas. Locals can offer specific advice if any of that interests you. Check with the local public library or local parks and rec dept. to see if there are any public programs that interest you.

You probably won't find discounts on Colonial Williamsburg admission in April. That is a busy time and most of the discounts are in the off-season. I highly recommend purchasing tickets if your budget permits. If not, you can still have a good time.

Study the CW website ahead of time to see what programs would most interest your kids. Many programs change daily. If you buy single day tickets, you want to be sure it's for a day that has programs of the most interest. Multi-day tickets or annual passes offer more flexibility.

Have fun. It's a beautiful place.

Corning, New York
10 posts
5. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

Thank you, that answered my question about Revolutionary City. I am sure that CW is a quality museum and well worth the admission. It's just that we really have VERY little money, my husband is a pastor and I am a stay-at-home Mom. A dear friend gave us a week of vacation in a time-share condominium as a "thank you" gift for our hard work and dedication to our congregation. Do you happen to know if the multi-day tickets are transferrable? Perhaps we could eek out enough in our budget to allow my husband and son to go one day, and then I could take our daughter the next day.

Corning, New York
10 posts
6. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

Thanks for the tip about Bruton Parish church! We plan to attend the candlelight concert performance the Friday that we are there. We may also arrive in town early enough to attend their evening service on Easter Sunday. They have a dinner scheduled for later that evening, but I am assuming that it is for their congregants only and not open to the public.

Harrisburg...
Level Contributor
51 posts
5 reviews
7. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

I would suggest looking at a Bounce Pass through Busch Gardens. The theme park is open that week. It is $104 for an adult and $87 for a child. It allows access to Busch Gardens and CW for the entire week. I also believe there is a pass that includes Yorktowne and Jamestown in the package. For a day trip I would suggest heading to Newport News and checking out the Virginia Living Museum. I would at least recommend checking out Busch Gardens website and Virginia Living Museum website to see if it is something your kids would enjoy. .

Brooklyn
Level Contributor
172 posts
57 reviews
8. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

We will be there for Easter and I was wondering if anyone knows about Easter masses at Bruton Parish church. Thanks for any information!!

Williamsburg, VA
Destination Expert
for Williamsburg
Level Contributor
1,586 posts
7 reviews
9. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

Easter Sevices at Bruton Parish Church are naturally very popular, and are offered at the following times this year: 7:00 a.m; 8:30 a.m.; 10 a.m. (church - cards-of-admission required); 10 a.m. (churchyard); 11:30 a.m.; 5:30 p.m.

The Church cards-of-admission mentioned for the ten o'clock service are offered to parishoners first, on March 26, and are always all taken by members.

Brooklyn
Level Contributor
172 posts
57 reviews
10. Re: Williamsburg VA vacation on a shoestring budget

Thanks so much for the information. You are so helpful!!