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Good For Kids
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US trench lines, with some interpretive signage
Closest available address
1000 Colonial Parkway, Yorktown, Virginia 23690
Visitor center open 9-5. Park is open till sunset. Park closed some holidays.
Best time to visit
Summer, Fall, Spring
The Yorktown Battlefield part of the Colonial National Park was the area in which American and French troops achieved a major victory in 1781 over the British that effectively ended the Revolutionary War. The well-preserved battlefield is expansive at over 4,000 acres. The park also has an interesting mix of authentic field guns.
When the French committed military support to the US, options for large scale operations against the British became realistic. After initially considering a siege of the main British base in New York, General Washington and the French instead opted to attack a British army in Virginia. Following a French naval victory over British in the Battle of the Chesapeake, the British army at Yorktown, Virginia, lost its best escape option. A combined US and French army soon arrived in force and pummeled the British lines around Yorktown with siege guns until the British capitulated.
The visitor center is better than average. A quality movie and informative displays provide a good historical perspective. Also noteworthy is Washington’s tent and related field equipment as well as a life-sized model of a period warship, complete with cannons. The auto tour has six main stops including the British and US lines as well as a seasonally open house in which surrender negotiations were held and surrender field where British troops marched into captivity. The trench lines, some of which are original, are the most interesting part of the tour. Yorktown is notable for its place in American history, the quality of the park experience and for well-preserved earthworks. It is enjoyable and insightful to visit and will have a strong general appeal. If there is insufficient time for the auto tour, a one hour ranger orientation tour is a worthwhile alternative.
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Gar the Bold
11/24/2013 10:26:40 PM
You may want to visit the nearby Victory Center, especially if you have kids. The staff gives great demonstrations with surgical instruments of the time, and canon and musket firings. The village shows the importation of crops like flax, and methods used on 18th century agriculture.
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