June 6, 2023

Jamestown will get the credit score for being the primary colony in Virginia, however earlier than the colonists made it to Jamestown, they landed at what they named Level Consolation, which is now a part of Hampton, Virginia. Hampton additionally holds the unlucky title of being the primary place that captured Africans had been dropped at America and enslaved to work the rising tobacco plantations.

Exploring this deep historical past is simply one of many many issues to do in Hampton VA. Situated on the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, this city can be recognized for its meals, outside actions, waterways, and downtown with a thriving arts and culinary scene.

Attending to Hampton, Virginia

Downtown Hampton Virginia

Situated on the crossroads of the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, James River, Elizabeth River and Nansemond River, a go to to Hampton and Newport Information makes an amazing extension to a visit to Virginia Seashore, Norfolk, or the Williamsburg space. We included a cease in Hampton in our two-week Virginia street journey.

Hampton is roughly 160 miles south of Washington, D.C. and about 95 miles east of Richmond, Virginia. To get to Hampton, Virginia, you possibly can fly into the Norfolk Worldwide Airport, which is situated about 20 miles from town heart.

In case you are driving, Hampton is situated on the intersection of Interstate 64 and Interstate 664. There are a number of main highways that result in Hampton, together with Interstate 95, which runs north-south alongside the east coast of the US. Or, you might take Route 13 throughout the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel.

What’s Hampton VA Identified For?

Hampton Road naval yard

The waterways of Hampton Roads, named after Henry Wriothesley, the third Earl of Southampton, performed crucial roles within the early protection of the nation and within the Civil Warfare. Situated on the entrance to the most important estuary on the earth, controlling Hampton Roads means controlling commerce on this space. Right now, the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel is a 3.5-mile lengthy tunnel that connects Hampton with Norfolk and is a significant transportation route within the area.

Controlling these waterways is what prompted the U.S. authorities to construct two stone forts, Fort Monroe and Fort Wool, to guard this channel. Additionally it is what prompted the notorious “Battle of the Ironclads” between the united statesS. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (aka the united statesS. Merrimack) throughout the Civil Warfare.

Hampton earned its “sea to the celebs” motto by its crucial function in sending males to the moon. NACA, the predecessor to NASA, situated at Langley Analysis Middle in Hampton, was the primary headquarters for the manned missions to the moon. In truth, most of the unique astronauts had been from Hampton and Newport Information. The Langley Analysis Middle is answerable for analysis and growth in aeronautics, atmospheric science, and area expertise.

Based in 1868, Hampton College, a traditionally Black college is among the high universities in the US and is understood for its packages in enterprise, engineering, and science.

Hampton can be recognized for the Hampton Coliseum, a multi-purpose enviornment that hosts live shows, sporting occasions, and different reside performances. With all this wealthy historical past, there’s a lot to see and study in Virginia’s Tidewater area.

Issues to do in Hampton, Va

Observe: Our go to to Newport Information and Hampton, Virginia was hosted by Go to Newport Information and Go to Hampton. We got free admission to those points of interest to facilitate this evaluate. All opinions are our personal.

If you wish to study extra concerning the historical past of this space and its affect on your complete nation, listed here are a number of should see points of interest.

Hampton Historical past Museum

Hampton History Museum

Your first cease must be the Hampton History Museum. Situated proper in downtown Hampton, this small however fantastically executed museum does an amazing job of strolling you thru your complete historical past of the world. You begin off with the Native American Powhatan nation, then transfer into the early colonists, by the Revolutionary Warfare and into Antebellum Hampton. The displays make the most of artifacts present in archeology digs in Hampton, recovered from households, or recreated with nice care.

Whereas the museum covers Hampton Roads’ function within the Civil Warfare, together with the necessary Battle of the Ironclads, you’ll really get a significantly better view of that slice of historical past at the united statesS. Monitor Middle on the Nationwide Mariners’ Museum in Newport Information.

What the museum does introduce is the function Normal Butler performed in declaring enslaved individuals in search of asylum on the Union fort as “contraband” and refusing to return them to their enslavers. This ultimately led to 1000’s of escaped formerly-enslaved individuals dwelling at Fort Monroe.

Within the area of an hour or so, you possibly can stroll by 4 hundred years of Hampton historical past, together with its pirate historical past (the top of Blackbeard was positioned on a stake on the river entrance as a warning), the post-war period of grand lodges, the rising crab and oyster trade, and the all-important function in placing a person on the moon.

The Hampton Historical past Museum is situated at 120 Outdated Hampton Lane in Hampton, VA.

Fort Wool (by way of Boat Tour)

Fort Wool in Hampton VA
Outdated Fort Wool

Fort Wool is situated on a artifical island on the mouth of Hampton Roads, and subsequently solely accessible by way of boat. To get there, you’ll need to take a bay cruise. This was previously supplied by the Miss Hampton II, however sadly that has closed completely. The tour we went on handed by Fort Monroe and gave an up shut have a look at the Norfolk Naval Yard. The tour additionally included a 30-minute cease at Fort Wool, the place energetic Park Rangers filed us in on the distinctive historical past of the island and fort, together with the manufacture of the island itself.

Not at all times known as Fort Wool, its unique title was Fort Calhoun, for President Jackson’s Secretary of Warfare, John C. Calhoun. Nonetheless, as soon as South Carolina seceded from the Union and Calhoun returned house, the fort was renamed after Main Normal John Ellis Wool, a Mexican Warfare hero and commander at Fort Monroe.

Fort Wool was initially constructed as a companion fort to Fort Monroe, to supply crossfire. Nonetheless, it offered little or no utility throughout the Civil Warfare, as its batteries had been going through the mistaken technique to defend in opposition to the Confederates arising the river.

Regardless of its location in Virginia, Fort Wool and Fort Monroe at all times remained in Union management. As soon as a favourite escape for President Jackson, not a lot of significance stays in the present day however the tour about its colourful historical past is well worth the cease.

The Casement Museum at Fort Monroe

Fort Monroe in Hampton VA
Fort Monroe

Since its completion in 1834 till its decommissioning in 2011, Fort Monroe was an energetic navy base. The biggest stone fort in America, and the one one to be surrounded by a moat,

Fort Monroe has performed an necessary function in American historical past. It was the place that freed Black and enslaved individuals got here to hunt asylum, and commanding officer Normal Butler declared them “contraband” and refused to return them to their enslavers. It was a spot the place a Robert E. Lee and even a younger Edgar Allen Poe served for a time. Maybe most famously, Accomplice President Jefferson Davis was even imprisoned right here for 2 years after the Civil Warfare.

Right now its historical past is preserved within the Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe. Once we visited, I used to be perplexed as a result of I wasn’t accustomed to the time period casemate. Principally throughout the stone partitions of the fort are casements, or small stone rooms which as soon as housed the cannons that protected the fort and the channel it was guarding.

These casemates served as dwelling and social quarters for the troopers and officers stationed right here. Right now fairly a number of of the casements have been transformed right into a museum that tells the historical past of the fort by displays and dioramas. The museum started as a spot to protect the cell the place Jefferson Davis was held. Right now you possibly can see the cot and {the handcuffs} used to maintain him there. Whereas the cell was very barren, it’s adorned by a big American flag hanging proper throughout from the cot, used to taunt Davis.

For a fort that most individuals have by no means even heard of, it has performed an important function in our nation’s historical past and is price a go to if you end up within the space. Along with the museum, you possibly can stroll alongside the partitions of the Fort, go to the troopers’ pet cemetery, take a stroll alongside the water’s edge with views of Outdated Level Consolation Lighthouse, or go to one of many space’s seashores.

The Casement Museum at Fort Monroe is situated at 20 Bernard Rd in Fort Monroe, VA.

The united statesS. Monitor Middle on the Nationwide Mariners’ Museum

The U.S.S. Monitors Center at the Mariners' museum in Newport News, VA

The Nationwide Mariners’ Museum hosts an attention-grabbing assortment of maritime historical past, together with a surprising assortment of miniature ships, all handcrafted by the identical artisan. However the actual crown jewel is the brand new U.S.S. Monitor Middle.

Opened in 2007, the 63,500-square-foot U.S.S. Monitor Middle homes the unique turret from the Union Ironclad ship, the united statesS. Monitor. Whereas the turret remains to be encased in chemical compounds as a part of its preservation since being raised from the ocean flooring in 2002, a copy and plenty of unique artifacts from the ship are on show.

The Middle does a superb job of telling the story of the 2 Ironclads, the united statesS. Monitor versus the C.S.S. Virginia, which was as soon as the Union ship Merrimack, however was broken after which raised by the Confederates and reworked into the Ironclad Virginia. Guests can watch a video about how the Monitor sunk in a storm off the coast of Cape Hatteras, enter a reproduction of the CSS Virginia as she is being constructed for battle, study concerning the constructing of the united statesS. Monitor, and go to the dwelling quarters of sailors in a full-scale copy of the Monitor.

What actually impressed me was the wonderful presentation within the Battle Theater that gave a blow-by-blow visible description of the Battle of the Ironclads at Hampton Roads. The Middle additionally presents particular “arms on with historical past” packages that give guests the chance to really deal with a few of the artifacts from the Monitor. We had an opportunity to carry silverware that had been rescued from the ocean flooring, a sconce from the Monitor, and a deal with that was used to sign the route to show the turret.

The National Mariners’ Museum is situated at 100 Museum Drive in Newport Information, VA.

NASA Virginia Air and House Museum

This Apollo capsule is one of four space vehicles that were used in or tested for space at the Virginia Air and Space Center.

As we entered the NASA Virginia Air and Space Center (VASC) in Hampton, Virginia, our tour information, Volunteer Coordinator Ken Flick, advised us how his curiosity in area began early and as a teen he would watch the astronauts observe touchdown on the moon utilizing the Lunar Tour Module Simulator. It’s no shock that Ken grew up in awe of our area program.

In any case, in 1958 close by Langley Analysis Middle was chosen as the positioning the place NASA would plan America’s conquest of area and practice its first astronauts. The Mercury Seven astronauts, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, “Gus” Grissom, Walter Schirra, Alan Shepard and “Deke” Slayton had been stationed there to coach for Mission Mercury and, as a boy, Ken had an opportunity to fulfill a number of of those brave heroes. A few of these “spacemen” had been even native heroes, like Alan Shepherd, the primary American in area, who lived in Virginia Seashore.

Orion test module at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, VA

The Middle’s important aim is schooling. Along with over 100 “arms on” displays, the Middle presents instructional packages and STEM lessons, together with a robotics lab that caters to youngsters as younger as preschool. Beginning with the historical past of aviation from the Wright Brothers (do you know that their first flight actually befell in Kill Satan Hills, not Kitty Hawk as broadly thought?) to the longer term Orion mission to Mars, the Virginia Air and House Middle covers all of it.

Protecting the historical past of flight, the VASC contains a reproduction of the Wright Flyer (the unique is within the Smithsonian) to a full DC-9 airplane through which children can observe their aviation abilities with a flight simulator. Additionally it is the one place you will discover automobiles from 4 out of the 5 manned area missions that had been both examined or utilized in area – Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Orion. The one one lacking is the area shuttle.

As we realized concerning the tight quarters that the astronauts endured for days welded into the small early area capsules, we had been amazed by their seemingly limitless braveness. Regardless that we had visited the Kennedy House Middle in Florida a few years in the past (I extremely suggest it!) and the Smithsonian Air and House Middle in Washington D.C., we realized extra concerning the Mercury and Gemini area missions in a single morning on the Virginia Air and House Middle than these two visits mixed.

In fact whereas historical past is fascinating, the longer term is what actually captures your creativeness. Along with the Orion capsule, the VASC has a big exhibit devoted to the historical past of the Mars Rovers and the way forward for the Orion missions. Your ticket additionally consists of entrance to one among their many IMAX reveals in every admission. We took benefit of this with a viewing of Journey to House, a 45-minute 3D film that explains the present state and way forward for the Mars missions.

Afterwards, it is best to pop over to the Air Energy Park to see the missiles, rockets, and planes on show.

The NASA Virginia Air and House Museum is situated at 600 Settlers Touchdown Rd, Hampton, VA 23669.

Virginia Residing Museum

Animals at the Virginia Living museum

The Virginia Residing Museum homes extra habitats, wildlife and plant species then could be encountered in a lifetime of out of doors adventures in Virginia. It’s right here that you may stroll by an Appalachian mountain cove and a southeastern cypress swamp, contact a horseshoe crab or a sea star, go eye-to-eye with a crimson wolf and a bald eagle and watch otters frolic on the outside pure path! Remember to enable a minimum of two hours to discover.

The Virginia Living Museum is situated at  524 J Clyde Morris Blvd, Newport Information, VA 23601.

Hampton Carousel

Hampton Carousel

The Buckroe Seashore Carousel, often known as Philadelphia Toboggan Firm Quantity Fifty and the Hampton Carousel, is a historic carousel operated by the Hampton Historical past Museum situated on the Hampton waterfront. It is a enjoyable technique to break up the historic points of interest with just a little household enjoyable.

Sandy Backside Nature Park

Sandy Bottom Nature Park is a 456-acre park that contains a 10-acre lake, wooded trails, a nature heart, picnic areas, playgrounds, and different leisure amenities. The park is house to a wide range of plant and animal species, and guests can observe wildlife of their pure habitat. The park additionally presents instructional packages and occasions for individuals of all ages, together with guided nature walks, fowl watching, and fishing clinics. It’s a widespread vacation spot for households, hikers, anglers, and anybody seeking to benefit from the outdoor in a pure setting.

Sandy Backside Nature Park is situated at 1255 Massive Bethel Rd, Hampton, VA 23669.

Bluebird Hole Farm

Hannah and Llama at Bluebird Gap Farm

Bluebird Hole Farm is a public metropolis park that may be a good cease for households and animal lovers. The park covers 60 acres and options a wide range of livestock, together with cows, goats, pigs, chickens, and horses, in addition to a small assortment of unique animals, corresponding to llamas, peacocks, and wallabies.

You may get pleasure from a variety of actions, together with feeding and petting the animals, taking a wagon journey, visiting the butterfly backyard, and mountain climbing the park’s nature trails. The park additionally contains a playground, picnic areas, and a stage for reside performances.

Bluebird Hole Farm is situated at 60 Pine Chapel Rd, Hampton, VA 23669.

The place to Keep in Hampton VA

When staying within the space, the Newport News Courtyard by Marriott and Hampton Hilton Garden Inn each provide good choices for households.

The place to Eat in Hampton VA

The Tidewater area of Virginia is understood for its seafood – particularly the blue crabs, oysters, and native fish like rockfish. In truth, Hampton, VA was even generally known as “Crabtown” and has been house to oyster and crabmeat packing corporations. The world can be seeing a motion towards native and farm-to-table eating places, making a hip new vibe downtown.

n the Phoebus district and Downtown Hampton, one can find many fashionable choices together with the next:


Crackers is a cool martini and tapas restaurant within the fashionable Phoebus space of Hampton. Situated on a sleepy downtown avenue, this small restaurant options an in depth cocktail menu together with two pages of all kinds of martinis. Not a conventional Spanish-style tapas restaurant, Crackers has an attention-grabbing sampling of cold and warm tapas.

We began with the hen lettuce wraps, chilly soba noodles, and smoked salmon bruschetta. Transferring on to sizzling tapas, we sampled the spicy inexperienced hen curry over rice and zucchini pancake. Whereas not a sensible choice for choosy eaters, the small plates make Crackers a enjoyable cease for buddies or households with extra adventurous palates.

Yow will discover Crackers at 4226 Granby St, Norfolk, VA 23504

Enterprise Kitchen and Bar

Venture tater tots: Where to eat in Hampton, VA
Selfmade tater tots at Enterprise

Situated in downtown Hampton, simply steps from the Virginia Air and House Middle or Hampton Historical past Museum, Venture is widespread for its wood-grilled pizzas and selfmade tater tots. In contrast to something Ore-Ida ever concocted, the tater tots at Enterprise are made with mashed potatoes, as a substitute of shredded. The potatoes are mashed, frozen in trays, then lower into one-inch cubes and fried. Served crispy with a tender heart, they’re accompanied by a spicy aioli.

The pizzas are simply as tasty. Supplied as particular person servings, you’d should be fairly hungry to complete one, so I’d suggest sharing. We sampled each the white pizza with seasoned ricotta, cauliflower and roasted garlic and the Margherita. The white pizza was so good however I’d suggest going simple on the garlic as they throw numerous complete cloves on there and it tends to mix simply with the cauliflower. The margherita pizza was additionally scrumptious with recent mozzarella, tomatoes, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Enterprise makes an amazing alternative for households at both lunch or dinner.

Enterprise might be discovered at 9 East Queens Method in Hampton, VA and might be reached at 757-325-8868.


Hampton Virginia is full of rich history from early settlers to Civil War battles to the journey to the moon. Find out the best things to do in Hampton Virginia and nearby Newport News and Hampton Roads.

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