When to Visit Colonial Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg features pleasant weather, lots of fun and fascinating events, and small crowds of visitors travelling back in time to Virginia‘s capital during the American Revolution.
Unfortunately, it rarely features all these things at the same time.
The purpose of this post is to help you determine the best time for you to mark your calendar for a visit to Colonial Williamsburg. I’ve divided the year into five seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Christmas:
During mid-January to mid-March, the crowds are smallest in Williamsburg.
There are daily events, from walking tours to chats with George Washington, but they’re much fewer than at other times of the year. Evening programs like “Cry Witch” tend to occur only on the weekends.
Carriage rides are weather-dependent. The Liberty Ice Pavilion skating rink is open on Duke of Gloucester Street, between the Historic Area and the modern Merchant Square.
Winter is a good time to tour the historic buildings and visit the tradesmen working in their shops.
And there’s usually at least one tavern open for lunch and dinner.
Winter weather in Williamsburg is unpredictable but usually chilly during the day and cold at night. Wear warm layers, and be sure to have a winter coat, hat, and gloves available.
Late March to late May is one of the nicest times in Williamsburg.
Full programming provides lots of events to choose by day and by night, from musket demonstrations to ghost tours. Drummers Call weekend in May features Fifes & Drums performances throughout the Historic Area.
The gardens bloom. Most of the taverns are open. The crowds are usually manageable, though they do swell during school breaks.
And the weather is pleasantly warm by day and cool by night. Wear layers, and bring a raincoat or windbreaker just in case.
Memorial Day weekend to mid-September is the worst time to visit Williamsburg, with July and August the worst of the worst.
The weather in Virginia is miserable. It’s hot — near 100 degrees during the day. But worse, it’s humid — with percentages approaching 100 percent, it feels like you’re swaddled in a warm moist blanket. And in the late afternoon, the skies often open up into drenching thunderstorms. The crowds are big, because the schools are out.
The program is full of events, and the taverns are open, so you’ll have plenty of things to do and places to eat if you decide to come anyway. July 4 is a special day, with public readings of the Declaration of Independence, patriotic music, and fireworks at night.
Wear loose, light colored clothing, and be prepared to go through two outfits in a day. Bring a light windbreaker. Always wear a big hat in the sun. And drink lots of water.
During mid-September to Thanksgiving, Williamsburg becomes nice again.
The crowds decrease after Labor Day. The temperatures drop down to reliably pleasant by mid-October. The leaves are in full glory around late October, and they create a colorful carpet on the brick pathways into November.
Programming remains robust with events, and the taverns are open.
Wear comfortable layers, and bring a windbreaker just in case.
Williamsburg is at its most special during Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. The buildings are lovely with authentic but creative decorations.
Regular programming continues, and special holiday events range from Governor’s Palace balls to Christmas Eve gunfire. Grand Illuminations mark the season with music and fireworks.
The taverns are open, with unique opportunities like wine dinners with Nation Builders. The crowds pick up as the season goes on.
December weather is unpredictable during the day; evenings are cold. Wear layers, and have warm outer clothing available.
More than half a million people visited Colonial Williamsburg in 2019, the last calendar year before lockdown. I hope this post helps you decide the best time for you to plan your journey back to Revolutionary America.
For two decades, I worked at political jobs. Then my parents got sick, and I went home to help care for them, and they died, fourteen weeks apart, in their late 60s. And I decided that life is too dear, and too uncertain, to fritter away in political offices. I fought back the sorrow with travel, and started this blog. I believe that passions are more fun when you share them with others, and my hope is to share my passions for travel and culture with you. Welcome! Read more …