What to do and see in Newport News, United States: The Best Places and Tips

December 18, 2017 Jasper Kershner

Jutting into the water on the Virginia Peninsula, the city of Newport News has played an important part in the maritime history of the United States. A leader in shipbuilding since 1886, the booming shipyard is still producing nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. Learn about naval history and the Golden Age Exploration at The Mariners' Museum, with 60,000 square feet of rare maps, nautical instruments and the USS Monitor Center, preserving the remains of the first ironclad warship.
Restaurants in Newport News

1. The Mariners' Museum & Park

100 Museum Dr, Newport News, VA 23606-3757 +1 757-596-2222
Excellent
80%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 741 reviews

The Mariners' Museum & Park

The Mariners' Museum, America's National Maritime Museum, includes the USS Monitor Center, home to the Civil War Ironclad's iconic gun turret. The Museum has over 35,000 maritime artifacts, including ship models, paintings and small craft. Located on a 550-acre park, they also feature a 5-mile hiking trail and paddleboat rentals.

Reviewed By richlee1975 - Woodford, Virginia

Been wanting to do this since they found the Monitor, but this was much much more. Artifacts from the Monitor touching from the gold ring found in the turret, parcial uniform and a reminder that American Servicemen Hero's who served their country died onboard this US military ship. The displays that give you interaction with the monitor very well done and they attempt to get it right. As experts learn from their studies the displays are changed to show the knowledge gained. The preservation area is a functioning laboratory which you can observe and if you are lucky you will be there on the day the tanks holding the turret is emptied and you get a good look. Hope this stimulate some young students to take an interest in science and historic preservation. The Merrimac is also well represented. The display on her was also very extensive and well done with artifacts from the scuttled ship. Displays on the US Navy from 1776 to present was well represented. Displays on shipbuilding from ancient to modern well represented. The docents very helpful and knowledgeable. As far as displays with plenty of helpful staff this is Museum is one of the best.

2. The Noland Trail

100 Museum Dr, Newport News, VA 23606-3757 +1 757-686-3995
Excellent
80%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 240 reviews

The Noland Trail

Reviewed By Karen W - Newport News, Virginia

The 5 mile trail is great. More ups and downs than you'd expect in eastern Virginia. Beautiful views of lakes and the James River. It's well maintained and wide but still be careful of roots that can be tripping hazards. A beautiful spot. I walk it on the weekends with friends. There's also a 3 mile option as well.

3. Virginia Living Museum

524 J Clyde Morris Blvd, Newport News, VA 23601-1999 +1 757-595-1900
Excellent
66%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 642 reviews

Virginia Living Museum

View endangered red wolves. Get up close to a loggerhead turtle and moon jellies. See fish with no eyes and frogs that change colors. Touch live spider crabs and fossilized dinosaur tracks. It's all at the Virginia Living Museum, Newport News, where living exhibits depict Virginia's natural heritage from the mountains to the sea. Experience a steamy cypress swamp and cool mountain cove. Explore the underwater world of the Chesapeake Bay and the underground realm of a limestone cave. See flying squirrels, stingrays and other creatures of the night. Touch famous Bay creatures. Kids will especially enjoy the Touch Tank with its sea stars and horseshoe crabs. Enjoy hands-on activities. See spectacular views of the sun from the observatory and travel the universe in the state-of-the-art digital planetarium. Outdoors, stroll the boardwalk to view coastal birds, beavers, otters, coyotes, endangered red wolves and other animals in naturalized habitats. Butterfly Garden, Virginia Garden and landscape plantings display one of the most extensive displays of native plants in Virginia. Learn how to live, build and garden green in the Conservation Garden and Green Living House.

Reviewed By Greg J

My family and I visit this place frequently. They have several exhibits both inside and outside that are good for the entire family. What sold my wife and I on a membership is the dinosaur exhibit. Our lil guy loves dinosaurs and this permanent exhibit is is a must see. I recommend a membership because it just makes sense if you're going to visit more than once, and they have a few membership options to choose from. I highly recommend visiting and getting a membership because you won't be disappointed.

4. Bluebird Gap Farm

60 Pine Chapel Rd, Hampton, VA 23666-4257 +1 757-827-2765
Excellent
70%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 114 reviews

Bluebird Gap Farm

Free, great for families, petting zoo, animals & trees, working farm, hands on, near to Convention Center & Coliseum, easy access from I-64 & I-664

Reviewed By amber c - Norfolk, Virginia

This place is a gem, tucked away in an area near the convention center and almost totally secluded. An assortment of large and small animals for petting (and some for feeding). Much better than the local zoos, and also completely free. Great place for kids and adults. Much bigger then it looks upon entering. Plenty of parking.

5. Newport News Park

13564 Jefferson Ave, Newport News, VA 23603-1104 +1 757-886-7912
Excellent
63%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 255 reviews

Newport News Park

Reviewed By Alan S - Raleigh, United States

Newport News Park has camp sites on one side. There are numerous hiking trails to explore nature and scenery along the Lee Hall Reservoir. During the Civil War, this location was part of the Confederate defense line during the Union's peninsula campaign and there are markers to indicate that. Boats are available to rent. There are numerous covered pavilions to rent for picnics. There are activity centers for kids and the park is adjacent to the golf course too. Great for dog walks under shady trees.

6. U.S. Army Transportation Museum

300 Washington Blvd., Besson Hall, Fort Eustis, Newport News, VA 23604-1276 +1 757-878-1115
Excellent
68%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 177 reviews

U.S. Army Transportation Museum

Reviewed By Devon B - Murfreesboro, Tennessee

This is my favorite of all of the base museums I’ve visited because it’s chronologically organized and allows guests to observe the evolution of war and how technology and tactical environments change over time. There’s a really nice gift shop. Free parking. Free admission.

7. USS Monitor Center

100 Museum Dr, Part of Mariners Museu, Newport News, VA 23606-3757 +1 757-596-2222
Excellent
87%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 79 reviews

USS Monitor Center

Reviewed By KLE2013 - Centreville, Virginia

History comes alive at the USS Monitor Center. The restoration of the turret is ongoing and we were fortunate to be at the museum on the day when the eminent Monitor historian, John Quarstein was giving a talk at the site of the restoration. When the ironclad Monitor sank she turned upside down and the turret is still resting upside down in restoration tank. There are more than 220 tons of artifacts recovered from the Monitor and the displays of personal items are particularly moving. The audio-video reenactment of the Monitor and Merimak battle is informative and not to be missed.
Parking adjacent to the museum is free and admission was only $1.00 for summer.

8. Sandy Bottom Nature Park

1255 Big Bethel Rd, Hampton, VA 23666-1446 +1 757-825-4657
Excellent
53%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 92 reviews

Sandy Bottom Nature Park

Reviewed By Jeremy L - Hampton, Virginia

Miles of trails that are great for walking or running, paddleboat/canoe rentals, plenty of fish and turtles, picnic areas, dog park, Ranger station with wildlife exhibits, camp sites with Yurts available, great place for a nature lover!

9. Virginia War Museum

9285 Warwick Blvd, Newport News, VA 23607-1537 +1 757-247-8523
Excellent
62%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 129 reviews

Virginia War Museum

Reviewed By Scott F - San Bernardino, California

This museum has many one of a kind weapons like the stinger and both the semi-automatic and full automatic Johnson rifles from WWII. BUT the small space makes the collection somewhat convoluted and it is difficult to maintain chronological order. Explanations are sparse, rarely giving the cultural or tactical significance of the item.

Admission price is reasonable. There is a small, but diverse gift shop, also with reasonable prices.

Unfortunately no staff were available to answer questions about the displays or offer greater insight. Also, I found myself wishing for more places to sit and ponder the items.

Outside are some very impressive items. But only a railroad gun has any label and that label is hard to read. Even the most basic of explanations would have improved the outdoor displays.

10. Newport News Visitor Center

13560 Jefferson Ave, Newport News, VA 23603-1104 +1 757-886-7777
Excellent
97%
Good
3%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 31 reviews

Newport News Visitor Center

Make plans to begin your adventure at the Newport News Visitor Center. Here our well-trained travel counselors stand ready to assist you with your itinerary and to help you make the most of your Newport News experience. The counselors can supply you with a variety of information including a Visitor Guide, directional maps, attraction fees and hours, accommodation information, and special event happenings.

Reviewed By Ben_Theretoo406 - Chevy Chase, Maryland

Ever since we very nearly missed a wonderful attraction near Solomons, Maryland, Ben and Mrs Too make the various visitor centers a must-do early stop. It so often turns out that something really worthwhile, only a few miles away, lies in a different post office, and consequently is not listed among TripAdvisor’s attractions. We can’t fault TripAdvisor. They have their hands full as it is, so it falls to the traveler to cover the outlying bases. Of course, the docents at virtually all of these centers are so dedicated to their mission that one leaves with a real sense that they are glad you dropped by.

We visited here first thing after breakfast on our first morning, and spent a most enjoyable and helpful hour or so with Dia, who took us under her wing with an infectious enthusiasm worthy of a carnival barker. She soon had us loaded down with so many neat things to see and do that a return to Tidewater Virginia in the future became an absolutely sure thing. One of the main purposes of these little three and four day trips, all close to home, is precisely to leave us with as many reasons as possible to come back again.

Dia, you did a heck of a job! We’ll see you again, should the fates allow.

ThingsTodoPost © 2018 All rights reserved.