An eighteenth-century town with large, open spaces and no cars – it sounds perfect for visiting with your pet, right? It is!
Colonial Williamsburg is the world’s largest living history museum, where you and your pet can explore the town’s beautiful setting and learn about life in Virginia’s colonial capital.
Your pup will enjoy seeing horses prance by, visiting the cows in the pasture, and exploring acres of grounds with her favorite person.
Here are a few tips to help you plan your trip to Colonial Williamsburg, so your whole family gets the most from your visit:
1. Arrange pet-friendly accommodations
Within the park, the Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg Lodge, and Williamsburg Woodlands offer a limited number of pet-friendly rooms and are close to attractions. However, there are size restrictions and daily cleaning fees.
Outside the historic area, the town of Williamsburg has several pet-friendly hotels and motels – but the most pet-friendliest accommodations can be found at the nearby campgrounds!
Williamsburg has three private campgrounds: American Heritage RV Park (146 Maxton Lane), Anvil Campground (5243 Morretown Road), and KOA – Williamsburg (4000 Newman Road). All are a short drive to the historic downtown and convenient to nearby attractions.
Williamsburg also has campsites with full hook-ups at Chickahominy Riverfront Park (1350 John Tyler Highway). With miles of trails, this may be the most pet-friendly place to stay of all.
2. Buy tickets in advance
You can enjoy the grounds at Colonial Williamsburg without paying for admission, but tours, access to some buildings, and use of the free shuttle requires you to have a ticket. Pets are not permitted inside buildings or on the shuttle, so it works best if you have a friend and take turns enjoying the building while the other waits with the pets.
You can order tickets online or buy them at the visitor’s center when you arrive, but you’re more likely to ensure your spot in popular events if you make your reservations in advance.
3. Check the weather
Colonial Williamsburg is lovely during Christmas, but shivering on a park bench with your pooch while you’re admiring decorations is only fun for a short time. Picnicking on the village green, strolling down Duke of Gloucester (known as DoG) Street, and lounging on the lawn in front of the Governor’s Palace are all activities best enjoyed on a spring or fall day.
4. Line up your dining options
Just outside the historic area are several restaurants with pet-friendly outside seating areas. Check out the Cheese Shop (410 Duke of Gloucester Street), Seasons Café (110 S Henry Street), Aromas Café (431 Prince George Street), or Pierce’s Bar-B-Que (447 Rochambeau Drive).
If you’d rather have a picnic or are only looking for snacks, stop in at the DuBois Grocer, or McKenzie Apothecary. Even the Visitor Center Cafe has sandwiches and hot food, so you and your pet will have plenty of options.
5. Get out of town
When you’ve thoroughly explored the historic area, Williamsburg has some lovely parks to visit. You can rent a canoe at Waller Mill Park (901 Airport Road), or walk the trails at Chickahominy Riverfront Park.
The second oldest college in the country, William and Mary (116 Jamestown Road) welcomes pets to stroll the grounds.
And of course, you’re only a short trip to Hampton Roads attractions and Virginia Beach, making Williamsburg a great base for exploring the coastal areas of southern Virginia.
6. Find a pet sitter or boarding kennel
When your pup gets pooped, he may enjoy a spa day. St Francis Pet Resort (102 Tewning Road) is a luxury boarding facility that offers dog play groups and spa treatments. And the Pet Resort at Greensprings (2878 Monticello Avenue) offers indoor and outdoor play at its dog day camp.
Some dogs enjoy an afternoon of playtime and pampering. And you can take the opportunity to enjoy the Williamsburg restaurants and activities that are not pet-friendly.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation website has all the information you need to plan your visit. You’ll find links to attractions, information about the town, and can purchase your tickets in advance.
If you’re looking for a vacation destination that combines a love of history and time with your dog, start planning your trip to Colonial Williamsburg today!