Yorktown Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn
  • Things to Do
    by blueskyjohn

Yorktown Things to Do

  • River Walk Landing

    The water front of Yorktown has been completely modernized with little shops and dinning experiences. It is also a good location to have a view of the York River. There is free parking and only a short walk up the hill to the historic district.

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  • French Cemetery - Surrender Road

    Located along Surrender Road's 8 mile loop is a French Cemetery marked by a single white cross and a bronze plaque. The is a small parking area here. There is a sign that claims approximately 50 unknown French soldiers are said to be buried at this site.

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  • Surrender Road

    Surrender Road is a self guided drive through two loops. One is 5 miles and the other is 8 miles. The 8 mile loop is accessed for the Surrender Field parking area and is a one way drive. Along the road are several pullouts with information signs of historic events. It is an excellent road for a jog or bicycle ride. The direction is marked with...

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  • Surrender Field

    After weeks of fighting the British forces faced the reality that they were out of ammunition and re-enforcements were delayed from New York. British forces numbers about 8000 men and the combined forces of the Continental army and French allies number about 17,000 men. General Cornwallis made the decision to surrender Yorktown.On October 17th,...

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  • Yorktown National Cemetery

    The location of this cemetery was selected in 1866 after the Civil War. In 1862, Yorktown was occupied by Confederate forces. Union General George McClellan fought many battles around the area of Yorktown during his march to Richmond.Nearly 2,200 soldiers are buried at the site with only 747 identified. The dead were gathered from a 50 mile radius...

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  • Swan Tavern

    The Swan Tavern was built in 1722 and first served as a house of entertainment. It became a tavern in soon after. It was a popular meeting place for many years. During the Civil War, the tavern was used to store ammunition for the Union army. In 1862, the tavern was destroyed in one large explosion.In 1875, Samuel Brent built a hotel on the...

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  • Grace Church

    The Grace Church was built in 1696 for the York Parish of the Anglican Church. The church has survived to wars and a fire. In 1814 a fire destroyed the roof of the church but the walls remained standing. It was not used for the next 34 years. Services were held at different locations around town until 1847 when it was decided to rebuild the church....

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  • Cole Digges House

    This house was constructed in 1720 by Cole Digges. The Digges family made their money in the exportation of a special type of sweet tobacco. Cole Digges was appointed to the Governor's Council in 1720. This house remained in the Digges family until 1784 but the name remains with the house. Recently, the house was a restaurant but that moved out in...

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  • The Custom House

    In 1726, Richard Ambler purchase this property which had several existing structures including a brick warehouse. Ambler was the port tax collector and the property was used to conduct import and export business through the port of Yorktown.The property has a long history of being used by military personnel who were frequently in the area. Yorktown...

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  • The Thomas Nelson House

    Thomas Nelson Jr. is the most famous person from Yorktown. He served as a delegate for Virginia to the first Continental Congress and was a leader in the vote for independence from England. Thomas Nelson was one of the 55 people to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.In June 1781, Nelson was elected the 3rd Governor of Virginia....

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  • The Dudley Digges House

    Dudley Diggs was a Lieutenant Governor of Virginia when he was captured by British forces in Charlottesville along with the entire Virginia Assembly in June of 1781. The house was constructed in 1760. Diggs lived here until 1787 when he gave the house to his daughter Elizabeth. Diggs died 3 years later in Williamsburg, Virginia.The house was used...

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  • Yorktown Victory Monument

    Located between the town and the battlefield and overlooking the York River is the Victory Monument. The monument is a round column that sits atop a four sided base. It is topped off with sculpture of "Lady Liberty." Soon after the Continental Army and allied French forces defeated the British at Yorktown (October 19, 1781) Congress authorized the...

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  • The British Inner Defense Line

    Adjacent to the visitor center is the location of the Inner Defensive line of the British Army during the battle of Yorktown. General George Washington combined forces with allied French General Rochambeau and as they approached Yorktown, Lieutenant General Cornwallis withdrew all his troops from outer defenses to this point at the visitor center....

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  • Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center

    The Visitor Center here is rather small but does have nice displays. There is an entrance fee of $7 however, If you already purchased a pass for Jamestown, it is free here. After you purchase a pass or show your receipt from Jamestown, you get the park map. The visitor center is next to the British Inner Defense Line and cannons can be seen from...

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  • Continental Army Encampment

    As part of the Yorktown Victory Center, a Continental Army encampment has been re-created. The encampment is well done and includes period actors that explain life in the 1780's for the Continental Army. They also provide demonstrations of loading and actual firing of a cannon. They blow a whistle before this begins so you do not miss it. However...

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  • Yorktown Victory Center

    This is a new location for the Victory Center. And being so, many or the exhibits are not available because of some construction and having the items acclimate to the new environment. There is still a few paintings in the long corridor and an excellent timeline of events along this wall. Very informative.Outside the center is a re-enactment of a...

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  • The French Trench

    On the Colonial Highway toward Yorktown, there is a pull off area on the York River. What you see at first is some earth work (mounds of dirt now covered with grass and a cannon. Just past the cannon is a large memorial "dedicated to the sailors and soldiers of the French Expeditionary Force who died for the Independence of the United States during...

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  • Yorktown Battlefield

    On 19 October 1781, five years after the American Revolution began, Lord Cornwallis surrendered his command of over 8,500 soldiers and sailors to the combined French and American forces at Yorktown. There are two main driving tours of the battlefield areas. The first is the "Battlefield Tour" which takes you to the British Inner Defense Line, the...

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Yorktown Hotels

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Yorktown Restaurants

  • Slow service and average food

    From the exterior and interior design this is a very nice restaurant that sits on the York River. They cater to the tourist crowds. It was not at all busy when I was there because it was before the height of the tourist season. However service was very slow. Two different waiters attempted to take my order, then changed their mind and attempted to...

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  • FUN dining experience at Stinky's

    I stopped by on my way home to grab a bite, and was amazed at what the new owners had done with it. It was Kelsey's Deli up until about a month ago. They have totally revamped the place! It is clean as a whistle now too. Anyway, the staff was prompt and friendly and I felt right at home. Everyone seemed to be having a good time (jukebox in the...

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  • Waterstreet Landing

    A quaint "diner-like" restaurant right on the beach with full view of the York river, sunbathers, and beach-goers. Of course, no shirt no service, no uncovered beachware at this establishment. Beer and soda, sandwiches, and family dining with a view of the York River from every seat. They boast specialty sandwiches, gourmet pizza, fresh seafood,...

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Yorktown Transportation

  • Trolley Bus

    The Trolley bus can be caught at the Visitor Centre. You can park your car there in a large car park.The bus is free and leaves every 20 minutes to do a circuit of Yorktown. If you take a tour round first you can get a layout of the place.The lady driver gave a really good commentary as she drove us around. There are 7 stops for the trolley bus....

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  • Yorktown Trolley

    Yorktown Trolley starts at 10 am at the Yorktown Visitor Center and Battlefields. It stops at the Yorktown Monument, Waterstreet Landing Restaurant, Riverwalk Landing, Waterman's Musuem, Yorktown Victory Center, Riverwalk Landing, Historical Main Street, and then at Nancy Thomas Galleries, then back to the Visitor Center. This year we have two...

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  • Yorktown Hotels

    8 Hotels in Yorktown

Yorktown Shopping

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    National Park Gift Shop: Yorktown Battlefield

    by grandmaR Updated Jan 2, 2005

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    We looked at the museum sales shop in the Visitor's Center, but didn't have much time because it was so late. Otherwise we might have bought our Passport to America's Parks here and had it stamped.

    It has mostly items such as books, posters, prints, maps, pins, patches, apparel, games and collectables which focus on America's Colonial Period and the American Revolution

    What to buy: We did not get it, but an audio tour of the 7-mile Battlefield Auto Tour Road is available for purchase in the sales shop. The cost of the audio tour is $3.95 for a cassette and & 4.95 for CD. It takes one hour and 15 minutes to complete.

    Note the website for e-purchases below is not a NPS website.

    Yorktown Gift Shop
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Yorktown Local Customs

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    Dudley Digges House

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 9, 2011

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    Since Bob's grandmother was a Diggs (with no E), I was always interested in finding information about the family. I was told that the Digg's were two brothers descended from Sir Dudley Diggs (England) and that one settled in Matthews CO VA and spelled the name Diggs and were Catholic and the other family went to MD and spelled the name Digges and was Protestant. That seems backward to me since MD was settled by Roman Catholics, and also since my husband's family was Episopal and were in MD. I found out later that Bob's grandmother's family had originally settled in Virginia.

    In any case, these were Digges (with the E) and they were in Virginia and probably Church of England (aka Episcopal)

    Yorktown lawyer Dudley Digges built this classic Virginia style Colonial home in 1760. Like his father Gov. Edward Digges and relatives, Dudley was active in Colonial politics and served as Virginia's Lieutenant Governor and a member of the Virginia Assembly. On June 4, 1781, British forces under Tarleton raided Charlottesville, and captured several legislators, including Yorktown's Dudley Digges and Daniel Boone. Governor Jefferson escaped by hiding in the woods near Monticello.

    The Dudley Digges house is the only wood-frame building to survive the Siege of Yorktown and the Great Fire. It is one of the oldest surviving buildings in Yorktown. After the siege of Yorktown, the house was used as the headquarters of General George McClellan. After moving through Yorktown, the Union forces used the house as a post headquarters for Fort Yorktown in Yorktown Village.

    The house was restored in 1960. The house is privately owned and not open to the public. However, it can be seen from Main Street in Yorktown. (Map photo 3)

    605 Main St., Yorktown, VA

    Photo with street sign Dudley Digges house On Map at the Visitor's Center #11 Close- up of the gable From the front
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Yorktown Off The Beaten Path

  • Waterman's Museum

    When we got to the Waterman's Museum on the day after Thanksgiving, it was closed. The website says that it was founded in 1981 for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Yorktown to interpret the heritage of the Chesapeake Bay’s watermen and women who harvest the bay’s seafood from the time Native Americans fished local waters...

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  • Williamsburg

    If you are visiting Yorktown then you are also in the vicinity of Williamsburg and it is definitely worth a visit.This old colonial town was once the capital of Virginia. The people are dressed in the colonial style. It was named after the reigning Kind William of Orange. The town became quite run down and it was in the 1920's that the Reverand...

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  • Busch Gardens

    Only 20 minutes away is Busch Gardens. A must for kids especially. As we had our son and his friend with us, both 16 you can imagine that walking around Yorktown didnt have the same appeal as riding white knuckle rides at Busch Gardens.This tip is purely on what my son and his friend said. We dropped them both of at 10am when the park opens. They...

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Yorktown Favorites

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    Old Postcard from August 1907

    by grandmaR Updated Sep 21, 2010

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    Favorite thing: My grandfather sent this postcard to my grandmother from where they lived in Philadelphia in1907. My grandmother had apparently gone home to her parents for a visit because the postcard is addressed to her in NC and he had gone to Norfolk. In 1907, the Jamestoen Exposition was held - and many of the buildings were constructed in Norfolk.

    Fondest memory: The card says:
    No 22. MAIN STREET, YORKTOWN, VIRGINIA.
    This dreamy old town of York was immortalized and made a living actor in history by the siege and surrender of Lord Cornwallis in 1781, the victory by which the independence of the United States of America was achieved. The town has changed but little since then, and is picturesque and quaint to a degree. The old custom house, the first in the United States, can be seen on the left in this view, and is one of the links connecting the present with that glorious day.

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Explore Deeper into Yorktown
Williamsburg (Colonial and otherwise)
Things to Do
redoubts 9 and 10
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yorktown national cemetery
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surrender road
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second siege line
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grand french battery
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moore house
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first siege line
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yorktown victory monument
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somerwell house
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york county historical museum
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swan tavern
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cole digges house
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dudley digges house
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nelson house
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custom house
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visitor center
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Vistor's Center and Battlefield
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Main Street in Yorktown
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Yorktown Civil War History
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Yorktown Victory Monument
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American Independance
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Cornwallis Cave
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Victory Monument
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Nelson House
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Nelson House
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Tobacco Road
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Grace Church
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Grace Church
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Dudley Digges
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Sessions House
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Dr. Griffiths House
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Customs House
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Side trip to Jamestown
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Surrender Field
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Yorktown Victory Monument
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The Battlefield
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Watermen's Museum
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The Old Colonial Port
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Medical Shop
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Map of Yorktown

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