The Jamestown-Scotland ferry-- just a stone's throw from Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne, makes my coveted "Cheap Family Vacation Getaway" list.
That's because this fun excursion--which offers spectacular views of the historical attractions and the beautiful James River--is absolutely free. That's right. You pay zip, zero, nada, whether you ride one way or round trip.
Kids love it. "Let's take the ferry!" our kids say whenever we're near Jamestown near Jamestown or Williamsburg. They love driving onto the boat, watching the seagulls flit past, and watching the water splash up on the bow as the ferry plows through the water. It's also the best way to get river-view photos of the ship replicas at the Settlement.
For us adults, it's a brief time of relaxation to enjoy the sway of the water, gaze at the beautiful vistas, and feel the wind blow your cares away.
Since 1925, the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry has shuttled cars, trucks, motorcycles, and...oh yes, passengers, on a 20-minute ride across the James River.
The free ferry runs from Scotland (Surry County) on the south bank, to a block from the Settlement and Historic Jamestowne on the north bank.
If you time it right, it can be a real time-saver, cutting off the traffic that tends to build up on I-64 between Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg during the summer months. But it's also a fun family vacation getaway experience. During tourist season, the ferry carries 3,000-4,000 people per day, many of whom hop on at Jamestown and ride the ferry round trip just for the fun.
Here are some reviews of the ferry from Trip Advisor.
View the recreated first settlers' ships at Jamestown Settlement, watch the seagulls, feel the breeze in your hair, and imagine yourself as Captain John Smith sailing up the James for the first time. And Historic Jamestowne is just a short distance away too.
The ferry operates 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and runs every 30 minutes between 5 am and 8 pm, and hourly between 8 pm and 5 am. For more information, call 1-800-VA-FERRY.
For more free or inexpensive things to do on your Virginia vacation, go to my Cheap Family Vacation page.
And to learn how to get discount tickets to places like Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Kings Dominion, and local museums, plus how to save on local restaurants, go to my Discount Travel Deals page.
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