Visit old forts, browse antique shops or go fishing on the bay at Hampton, a small beachside city on the south shoreline of Chesapeake Bay. Hampton has many natural attractions, including wide, clean beaches, as well as a fascinating Civil War history.
Locals and visitors favor Buckroe Beach and Park northeast of the city center for its pristine shoreline. From this beach you can rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the bay. Go swimming in the gentle surf then have lunch at one of the picnic shelters, which have grills and tables. Photographers and bird watchers will love the 475 acres (192 hectares) of pristine wilderness at Grandview Nature Preserve, which has beachfront access to the bay.
Hampton has good facilities for sports, especially fishing and boating. Join a charter service to go deep-sea fishing or, if you have a boat, make use of the marinas or boat ramps. The city also has golf courses and a tennis center.Spend a day getting to know Hampton’s distinct neighborhoods, which can all be explored on foot. Phoebus National Historic District has wide streets, local arts and crafts and antique shops. Downtown Hampton offers shopping and restaurants in a waterfront setting. Go to Coliseum Central to shop for big-name brands.
Learn about Hampton’s military history at Fort Monroe, the largest stone fort ever erected in the U.S. The building was used during the Civil War. See where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was imprisoned and the quarters where President Abraham Lincoln was once a guest. The on-site Casemate Museum offers interactive exhibits. Visit nearby Fort Wool, President Andrew Jackson’s “summer White House,” and the Virginia Air & Space Center.
Hampton’s temperate climate makes it ideal for visitors year-round. Come in summer for the annual Hampton Jazz Festival, which has been running for nearly five decades.
Reach Hampton by car via Interstate 64. Or, fly in to either the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport or Norfolk International Airport, and then rent a car or catch a cab to get to downtown Hampton.