Considered the last major battle of the American Revolution, Yorktown is synonymous with American victory. It was the beginning of the end of the war, and a crucial moment of triumph for the fledgling United States of America.
On a short trip to Virginia, I was inundated with history from all periods of the country’s past. Just one example: Jamestown, the location of the first permanent British settlement in America in 1607, is a mere half hour from Yorktown, the site where the British ultimately relinquished their foothold in 1781. Add onto that its role during the Civil War, plus the DC area creating and preserving the country’s politics and culture, and it’s undeniable: Virginia has seen it all.
The Yorktown Battlefield is part of the Colonial National Historical Park, and you can tour the grounds from your car. On the ~100°F day I visited, this was a welcome relief. A handy map takes you to the different positions utilized by the British, the French, and the Americans, and a smartphone app provides helpful supplemental information and context. While you’ll have to use a bit of imagination to bring to life the now-empty grassy fields where historically vital events took place, it’s a great day out for anyone eager to explore one of the most important battlefields in the United States.