Virginia is home to many historic sites on the central coast are three of the most important. These are the locations of the cities of Jamestown, Yorktown and Williamsburg. It is very easy to see all three from any central location that you may choose to stay. Jamestown and Yorktown can be seen easily in one day, but Williamsburg requires at least one day and most people will spend two.
While Jamestown has the fewest structures still intact, it is probably the most important since it was the site of the first Anglo settlement in the New World. It is a National Park and more is being unearthed all of the time. If you visit on a quiet day and take some time, it is almost possible to sense the ghosts who reside there!
I am amazed at the size of the ships that carried the early settlers and seamen to our shores. These three ships ranged from 39' to 80' in length and had no provision for quarters or privacy of the passengers or the crew. The only cabin was that of the captain, and was probably shared with the leader of the voyage.
If you enjoy walking the streets of the past, you will find Jamestown to be a very interesting place. From here it is only about an hour's drive across the peninsula to the site of Yorktown, a key city in early American history and the location of one of the key conflicts of the American Revelation.
Yorktown was the site of battles in both the American Revelation and the Civil War. While sleepy today, it has a very long, violent history.
After a very busy day at these two sites, we rested up and then headed out to see the famous "Colonial Williamsburg." There are actually two different towns of Williamsburg, intermingled. The modern community and the old historic come together and at times actually intertwine. Since it is a public place, you can walk freely into the old historic district without having first paid admission, but if you do so, you will not have access to the public transportation and you will not be able to enter any of the historic buildings or watch the craftsmen and historic characters in action. So the best place to start is at the visitor center. It is quite expensive, but it is also a completely unique place and should be visited. I believe that we paid $40 each for one day but a second day can be added for a very small fee.
The price of admission does provide entry to all buildings and shops and also allows you to join any of the tours. The best way to start is to take one of the short orientation tours just to get a feel for the town and also to know what bus to catch to go where you wish. This is a pretty good sized city and there are three bus routes which save many very long walks. We found that we walked through each area and rode the bus back.
Watching the craftsmen work was the most interesting part of Williamsburg. They will explain their tasks and tools, and they happily answer questions.
The governor's mansion is one of the "must see" locations. It is by guided tour only and is well worth the time. It is very easy to spend two full days in this location. There are even some events that take place there in the evening and the churches have Sunday services that are open to the public.
I strongly recommend that you take the time to visit all three of these locations, should your travels take you to the central Virginia coast.