Overlooking the confluence of Chesapeake Bay and the James and Elizabeth Rivers, Hampton is as strategically convenient to traveling boaters in the 21st century as it was to Colonial-era maritime traffic in the 17th century. Entering the Hampton River, you would never know you were approaching what claims to be the longest continuously settled town of English Colonial origin in the United States. Hampton is a good choice for skippers looking to combine a maintenance stop with excursions into Virginia’s Lower Peninsula.
Once you successfully cross four-lane Settlers Landing Rd. you will find Hampton’s old section, attractively laid out with brick sidewalks and cobbled streets. Restaurants, antique shops and boutiques blend appealingly into the varied architecture and the old-world proportions of the buildings. The Jamestown Settlement, Colonial Williamsburg and the battlefields of Yorktown are a short drive away, and you can rent a car in Hampton. There is a car rental office next door to the public docks. If you rent a car, be sure to visit the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, one of the finest maritime museums in the world. A special draw for Hampton is that it can serve as a base from which to explore Virginia’s origins and its enduring contribution to American history.
Across the Hampton River, the Hampton University campus has several National Historic Landmark buildings, including the Hampton University Museum (757-727-5308), the oldest African American museum in the country. It is also home to the Emancipation Oak, a National Historic Landmark, that marks the first place in the country where the Emancipation Proclamation was read to slaves.
The Waterway Guide Team has gained extensive boating knowledge over the years, and now we are sharing all of the tips, skills and tools we’ve picked up along the way!