Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Want to get out of the house after Thanksgiving dinner? Here are some free, healthy options

(WYDaily/Courtesy Virginia Capital Trail Foundation)
(WYDaily/Courtesy Virginia Capital Trail Foundation)

Thanksgiving is just a couple days away, and that means family, good food, friends and football.

But if you’re looking to get some time to yourself, or burn off those Thanksgiving Day calories, there are some options.

Here are some free, healthy outdoor activities you can do on Thanksgiving, according to Visit Williamsburg:

Strut the streets of downtown Williamsburg

While some of Colonial Williamsburg’s attractions require tickets, it’s free to walk the public streets in the Historic Area.

Visit the Governor’s Green, Merchants Square and the various animal pastures around town. Colonial Williamsburg will also fire the noon gun in the magazine yard on Thanksgiving.

Take a hike

Many area parks will remain open for Thanksgiving.

All parks in James City County will be open, including Chickahominy Riverfront Park and Freedom Park, both of which are free. The stores and offices at both parks, however, will be closed on the holiday.

Freedom Park features two miles of multi use trails and 20 miles of mountain bike trails. Chickahominy Riverfront Park has a boat ramp, picnic areas, and a playground.

Waller Mill Park in Williamsburg will be closed.

Bike the Virginia Capital Trail

The Virginia Capital Trail stretches from James City County to Richmond, but don’t stress if you don’t want to bike the whole trail on turkey day.

There are numerous places to park to access the trail, including at Jamestown Settlement, the James City County Marina, Jamestown High School, Chickahominy Riverfront Park and more.

Ride the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry and take a drive on the Colonial Parkway

Except for the cost of gas, taking a drive is essentially free.

Drivers can get a picturesque view of the historic James River from the deck of the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry, which is free to ride. The ferry runs from the end of Jamestown Road to Surry.

Those looking for a more land-based drive can travel to Jamestown, Williamsburg or Yorktown via the Colonial Parkway.

Take a walk through the Williamsburg Botanical Garden

The Williamsburg Botanical Garden is in Freedom Park, which remains free and open during Thanksgiving. The garden includes more than 800 species of native vegetation, as well as a butterfly garden, herb garden, native garden, two wetland sites, native meadow and pine woodlands.

There are benches and a pavilion for picnics.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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