The Port of Yorktown is part of the Historic Triangle and the Colonial National Historic Park that also includes the Jamestown and Williamsburg historic sites. The Port of Yorktown is also the eastern terminus of the Colonial Parkway and the TransAmerica Trail. The three historic villages were among the first settlements in Colonial Virginia.
With a 300-year history, the Port of Yorktown is a popular tourist destination with historic buildings from the 18th Century, battlefields, a riverfront beach, and a wide range of accommodations and restaurants. Visitors stroll quaint streets to visit antique stores, art galleries, and specialty shops. Port of Yorktown museums offer hands-on exhibits and history programs. The Port of Yorktown's Riverwalk is accompanied by live entertainment and the Fifes and Drums of York Town. Boaters enjoy sailing on the York River.
The Port of Yorktown has a humid subtropical climate with hot humid summers and mild winters. Temperatures in the Port of Yorktown range from an average high of 26°C (79°F) in July and August to an average low of about 4°C (39°F) in December and January. Precipitation varies in the Port of Yorktown from month to month, peaking in July at 13 centimeters (five inches) and falling to a low of eight centimeters (3.2 inches) in November, December, April, and June. Humidity levels are stable at about 75% from December through April, peaking in August and September at 85%. Snow comes to the Port of Yorktown from late November through early April, peaking in January at nine centimeters (3.5 inches).
The National Colonial Historical Park tells the story of the birth of United States. Containing 17th Century colonial settlements, Revolutionary War battlefields, Civil War earthworks, and a beautiful scenic drive, the park offers adventure and education for the whole family. Visitors should plan a stay of at least a couple of hours in the Port of Yorktown.
The Yorktown Battlefield is the site of the last major battle of the American Revolution. In late 1781, George Washington's troops and their French allies besieged General Charles Lord Cornwallis' British army and eventually won Cornwallis' surrender. The last major battle of the Revolutionary War, the Siege of Yorktown effectively ended the war. The Port of Yorktown Visitor Center is open from 9am until 5pm every day but Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Days.
The Nelson House conducts tours of the first floor all year and is open when staff is available. The 1725 Moore House, which was located behind the siege lines, was used for surrender negotiations. Archaeological remains of the Poor Potter, once a busy pottery manufacturing site, contains exhibits and a historic kiln. Other historic sites in the Port of Yorktown include the reconstructed 1633 York County Courthouse, the 1697 Grace Episcopal Church that was used as a powder magazine by the British, the Yorktown National Civil War Cemetery, the Victory Monument, and the Watermen's Museum.
Open in the warmer seasons, the Watermen's Museum in the Port of Yorktown explains the role that Chesapeake Bay watermen played in shaping the United States with displays of artifacts and objects from the era. The Museum also has a boat-building program where people can join in the process of creating a wooden boat. The term "waterman" denotes those who make their living on the water, and it is used only on England's Thames River and on the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to its exhibits, the Watermen's Museum in the Port of Yorktown has summer camps and programs for kids and hosts field trips for regional student groups.
The TransAmerica Trail is an 8000-kilometer (5000-mile) west-bound combination of off-road dirt trails, farm roads, jeep roads, dry creek beds, and old railroad tracks. Travelers use maps and charts to identify the route that extends from the East to the Pacific Coasts.