I have a hard time keeping track of when peak seasons begin and end in vacation destinations, a shortcoming that manifests itself about once a week. The other day I went to check ticket prices for Water Country USA, the popular family attraction in Williamsburg, Virginia, only to discover that the park was closed until spring of next year. Outdoor water rides evidently are not compatible with brisk fall temperatures. Go figure.
And while Water Country’s sister park, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, is open for part of the fall, one might argue it’s getting a bit nippy for those outdoor thrill rides, too. So there I was about to write off Williamsburg as a fall destination altogether when I ran into a friend who reported that she and her family were soon heading for Colonial Williamsburg, and for a song.
My friend’s school system yields time off for this getaway, but even if you'd need to pull one or more kids from school before the Thanksgiving holiday, consider Colonial Williamsburg’s Autumn Stories package, which runs through November 24. Rates beginning at $449 cover two nights and three days in one of seven properties and include historic area passes for the length of your stay – already a good deal when you consider that admission for a single day is $36 for adults, $18 for kids 6-17. Free breakfast – full in some cases, continental in others, depending on the property – is also provided, as is a $100 per room activities credit.
Here’s where the deal really gets sweet. If you and a partner have three kids, one of the seven properties, the Williamsburg Woodlands, will let you cram into a single room – with two double beds and a sleep chair – and you’ll all be eligible for the promotion, with no additional occupancy fees tacked on.
The package indicates that rates are lower for Sunday-Wednesday arrival versus Thursday through Saturday and indeed after I plugged in sample two-night stays for Sunday-Monday, Monday-Tuesday, and Wednesday-Thursday, the rate held at $445, rose to $495 for Thursday-Friday, and for Friday-Saturday – the one span for which you probably wouldn’t have to miss school or work – the rate leapt to $545. Even at the highest rate – and factoring in another $50-$60 in room tax – the liberal occupancy rules and sweeteners make it a nice deal as well as a welcome getaway before the stress of Thanksgiving travel makes you think less fondly of colonial traditions.