America’s history is a fascinated subject. And if you truly want to learn about it, I can’t think of a better place to start than Yorktown Battlefield, the place where America won its independence.
Yorktown Battlefield, a Place of Great Historical Significance
Back in 1691, Yorktown was a tobacco port on the banks of the York River. The town was destroyed and rebuilt many times over the course of history. However, after the Siege of 1862 of the Civil War, Yorktown never regained its economic importance.
Yorktown Battlefield holds a significant place in history as being the site of one of the most important battles in United States history. On October 19, 1781, the American and French forces led by General George Washington and General Comte de Rochambeau surrounded the British Army forcing it to surrender.
The Battle of Yorktown ended in victory for the American colonists. The British army was decimated and forced to lay down their arms. Lacking the financial resources to raise a new army, the British government appealed to the Americans for peace, which marked the end of the Revolutionary War. Britain had to recognize America’s independence and withdraw its troops.
Visiting Yorktown Battlefield
A visit to Yorktown Battlefield will immerse you in 18th century colonial America during its struggle for freedom from the clutches of the British rule. The best place to begin your day is at the Visitor Center, where you’ll watch a short orientation film about the Siege of Yorktown.
From here your visit will continue at the American Revolution Museum. The museum displays artifacts, dioramas, and interactive exhibits from the Siege of 1781. There are two self-guided audio tours that will allow you to explore the site at your own pace.
The historic Yorktown Battlefield site is as an outdoor history museum where costumed interpreters demonstrate daily life in a re-created army encampment.
You can learn about the daily routine of the American soldiers, the medical practices of the time, and follow military drills demonstrations and artillery firing.
Yorktown Battlefield as a hands-on-experience museum that will allow you to walk the parapets and bunkers, find out how a grasshopper cannon works, and learn to handle a musket.
We especially enjoyed the huge open space where the artillery was displayed. The 11 artillery pieces were actually used during the 1781 battle.
You can ask questions and participate in the Confederate soldiers’ life, visit their tents, or even try on their uniforms.
Practical Information for Visiting Yorktown Battlefield
Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center is located at 1000 Colonial Parkway, in Yorktown, Virginia. That’s about 21 miles away from Jamestown on Colonial Pkwy.
The site is open 7 days a week, from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Admission fee for Yorktown Battlefield only is $10/person (good for 7 days entrance). However, a better deal is to buy a combo ticket for Yorktown Battlefield and Jamestown Settlement. The ticket costs $27.50 for adults, and $13.50 for children 6-12 years old.
You can also purchase a Historic-Triangle Pass for $99.99 (adults) or $46.00 (children 6-15). The pass grants you access to all three sites (Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, and Yorktown Battlefield) for seven consecutive days.
Time needed on the site: Visiting Yorktown Battlefield takes about 3 hours. I suggest combining your visit with the next door Jamestown Settlement.
Other Things to Do in Yorktown
While in Yorktown, you can also visit the beautiful sandy beach overlooking the large Yorktown Bridge. The area is really beautiful and a great spot for taking pictures, walking or bike riding.
You can stroll on the pier and check out the charming little shops. We stopped for dinner at one of the riverfront restaurants and enjoyed a great sunset. After dinner, we took an evening cruise on Schooner Serenity down the York River. Great views of the Chesapeake Bay!