The Best Places to Visit in Hampton Virginia
It feels like a lifetime ago that I lived in Hampton, Va. It really was a lifetime ago I wasn’t married yet and I didn’t have children. This place sure has changed and I recently had the opportunity to visit and see the place I once called home through the lens of a parent, educator, and tourist. We were hosted by the town and they provided insight and lodging while we were there.
We stayed at the Candlewood suite it was budget and pet-friendly and it featured rooms with a kitchenette and free laundry. You can see how we save money when we travel in my travel with kids tips article.
The Historical City of Hampton, VA offered something for everyone. I have three kids age range 7-13 so finding locations that not only are fun but grow their mind is difficult on a budget. It is my duty as a parent to make sure our children are educated and experience different cultures and have a firm understanding of time and place. We want to make sure that our vacations seamlessly blend enrichment with entertainment.
We had three objectives in mind for our quick trip.
The first was fun! The second was to learn more about Black History and the impact African Americans had on our state and our country. The third was to learn the history of the space program and some military history for my husband. I would like to add my objective on every trip is finding the best cupcakes which I did. Thank you, Scratch Bakery for the cupcakes and the banana pudding was superior. I would also like to provide an honorable mention to Grey Goose.
Hampton Virginia offered everything we were looking for in a family vacation. We found The Best Places to Visit in Hampton Virginia.
These are our the kids top picks for fun:
- Blue Gap Farm– Admission was free there were a large variety of animals, flowers and a place to play. I enjoyed the gardens and the kids loved the animals. My husband enjoyed sitting and just watching the kids play on the playground.
- Hampton Carousel– It was an old fashion carousel ride and for just $1 each child it was worth the investment. There are only 70 antique carousels remaining in the United States and this one evokes the beauty of American Craftmanship. It is restored by the organ is original from 1920.
- Buckroe Beach– It wasn’t beached weather for our trip but this beach features everything a family could want. In the summer they have lifeguards and live concerts and they even have films on Tuesday evening. This free option will save you money and time I would bypass Virginia Beach.
These are our top picks for education with fun. These are also the places we learned about Black, Space, and State History.
- Virginia Air& Space Center- Nasa Langley Visitor Center – I think my children could have stayed here for days. The kids and I learned so much about our history into space. The museum provided hands-on learning where it allowed us to conduct experiments and become not only scientists but pilots. We learned about how we got into space and the people behind the journey. It was fantastic. I especially liked learning about the role the Tuskegee Airmen played in the war and seeing one of the planes they were responsible for defending. We were also treated to a movie in their Imax theater. The movie was also a part of our vacation goal since it talked about the process of proving a scientific theory while traveling on a journey back in time to support evolution.
- Fort Monroe– This free attraction was my husband’s favorite since it was the largest stone fort ever built. The fort was constructed in 1834 and became the escape for enslaved people. The history buff in you will like seeing the jail cell of Jefferson Davis who was imprisoned there during the civil war. We took a long time reading and viewing all the information in the Casemate Museum. It was pretty fascinating to see and to think this was still a working base until 2011 when it was finally decommissioned made it a part of our recent history. The base currently houses civilian and retired military it is a neat place to live and the city hopes to continue to revitalize it.
- Hampton University – The Emancipation Oak is located on site which boosts the first reading in the south of the Proclamation of Independence. The University is said to be founded by the educated newly freed slaves who were housed at Fort Monroe after the civil war. The Museum at the University is the oldest African American Museum in America. I spent hours in there enjoying the art. There wasn’t a fee to partake in the museum so the next time I am in town I will go back to continue to soak up the experience. The kids went on a tour of the campus after walking through the museum. They wanted to see the beautiful campus. I was very impressed with the diverse degrees that were offered at Hampton University and it is now a school we will consider depending on what major our children decide upon.
- Hampton History Museum- The history museum was actually very interesting I was a little put off when I first walked in all to be pleasantly surprised by the amount of information. The museum gave us an exceptional glimpse into the oldest English speaking settlement in the United States. We were able to see not only the history of Hampton from the Native America lens but the lens of English settlers and African American. The kids enjoyed the interactive musical instruments. The museum made sense to visit since it housed the visitor center and it was close to the downtown. I wouldn’t suggest it for little kids because it requires a lot of reading but my school age children walked out with new found knowledge.
The foodie scene:
I will say that I wish we ate out more but we were so busy exploring that we didn’t have the time we wanted to eat. This is what we enjoyed:
Mango Mangeaux- It had a great breakfast. I had fish, eggs, and grits and my son had a waffle with chicken all with their famous preserves! I loved them so much I brought home a large jar. The kid’s meals were tiny so go ahead and order an adult meal it is a vacation!
Goody’s Deli and Pub– They had a great Reuben and one of the best build your own sandwich options. If you are looking for something special or unique to Hampton I would skip the pub. If you love a great sandwich, hot dog, or Reuben stop in.
Old Hampton Seafood Kitchen– The owner is as salty as the food. It was a perfect place if you like seafood. The crab cakes and fish and chips were delicious. It was also a quick walk from the Air and Space Museum.
We have a family tradition of trying a unique food every trip we go on this trip it was Vietnamese food. The food and service were exceptional. I am now a huge fan.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the activities in Hampton, Virginia were free. We often think that the more we spend the more we receive that isn’t true.
I will never just drive by Hampton again on my way to another Virginia location I will include it on my itinerary. I would even consider making it my hub since they offer free beaches. They are also just 34 miles from Williamsburg and 11 miles from Norfolk and if you like crowded beaches you can get to Virginia Beach. There are plenty of places to select from to eat. You can learn about our nation’s history and you can have fun!