York River State Park–Williamsburg

York River State Park, as its name suggests, is located along the York River and it opens up to the Chesapeake Bay. It is a great place to hike, mountain bike, horseback ride, fish, sail, or just have a picnic with your friends and family. Be on the lookout for marine wildlife!

Location: 9801 York River Park Rd., Williamsburg, VA 23188 (~98 miles/90 min. from Fredericksburg)

Hours: 8 a.m. – dusk. The park visitor center, office, and gift shop are open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

Cost: $5/car, $5 on weekends Apr.-Oct. Homeschoolers receive free entrance with ID or NOI.

Free Parking at a Virginia State Park with any REI purchase. You can also get one night free camping stay if you join the Virginia State Parks Loyalty Program.

Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day are the holidays charged weekend rates.

Parking fees are waived on Jan. 1 and on National Public Lands Day and any other day specified by the Director. Parking fees for Veterans are waived on Nov. 11.

Click HERE for a Trail Guide. York River has nine multi-use use trails. There are five trails for mountain-bike use only,

A list of activities at this park can be found HERE.

Swimming: The park has no designated swimming areas. 

Fishing: Fishing is available in three areas of the park. Click HERE for more information.

Boating: Rental equipment is available for use on the creek and the pond from April 1 through the end of October. The park also offers guided kayak and canoe trips. More information can be found HERE.

Website: York River

My kids fell in love with York River State Park. There were so many beautiful views. Our first stop was the overlook at picnic shelters 1 and 2. The marsh views of Taskinas Creek were amazing. We loved the winding creek. My kids want to come back to kayak.

We headed along the trail past the amphitheater and noticed the Osprey Nest Overlook. As we passed by there really was an osprey in its nest. We stopped to watch for a bit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good closeup picture.

From there we headed to Woodstock Pond. Woodstock Pond is a seven-acre freshwater pond near the shores of the York River. The pond really was teeming with life. We saw turtles, frogs, dragonflies, and other insects. And, Number 5 spotted a black snake swimming in the pond. We watched him for a bit and then headed on our way. At the time we had know idea that we’d be meeting up with him later on our way back.

The trail is a wide dirt and fine gravel trail. A jogger stroller might do fine on it. Number 5 noticed some stairs leading down to the Seining beach. This part of the hike is definitely not stroller friendly. It didn’t take long to get down to the beach. The kids loved exploring.

Farther down the Woodstock Pond Trail, we found a boardwalk trail leading to Fossil Beach. The kids really enjoyed this portion of the hike. We’re used to Fossil Beach at Westmoreland where we have found shark’s teeth. York River’s Fossil Beach has shellfish and other aquatic creature relics. If you’re lucky enough to find a fossil, you are allowed to take one with you. Some examples can be found in the Visitor’s Center.

After Fossil Beach, we stopped at the Visitor’s Center. We were surprised to find it open as many of the visitor’s centers at other state parks have been closed. Inside there was a small museum with information about the animals found in the park as well as the fossils found along the riverbanks. There were some live creatures as well as stuffed/mounted animals.

Before we headed out of the park, the kids spent some time playing on one of two playgrounds.

We will definitely be back to York River. There’s so much to explore. It really is a great park to check out!

After visiting this park, don’t forget to log your visit in at Virginia State Parks Trail Quest.

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