The start of school is still a few weeks away, but there’s no escaping the “back-to-school” notebooks, pencils, pens and backpacks that are already lining the aisles of store shelves. Our advice to you? Free yourself of all this back-to-school dread by planning a quick and easy staycation right here in Newport News! For those unfamiliar with the term “staycation,” it is simply a vacation spent at home, visiting attractions in your own backyard.
- Like Crafting? The Starving Artist Studio in Port Warwick is a paint-your-own pottery studio where all supplies are provided. All you need to bring is your imagination! Other ways to unleash your inner artist include Wine and Design, a sip and paint studio in City Center, and the AR Workshop, a wood and canvas decor and do-it-yourself workshop, in Port Warwick.
- Like Hayrides? If so, you’ll LOVE our 40-minute ride through Newport News Park Campground. Complimentary tickets are available at the Campsite Office, 13564 Jefferson Ave., 30 minutes prior to the rides, which are offered at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., and 9 p.m. on Saturdays through Sept. 2.
- Like Movies? Combine dinner with a movie at Cinemark City Center 12, which opened as Paragon Theaters in May 2014. Not only does this complex have reclining leather seats with tray tables and footrests, but it also has two restaurants attached, from which you can bring food and beverage (including beer, wine
andcocktails) into the theaters. Regal Kiln Creek Theater has 20 screens featuring new release films, plush stadium seating, and a concession stand with all the essential movie munchies.
- Like Skating? The Peninsula Family Skating Center, which has a large hardwood floor and a rink for beginners. Their calendar is chock full of fun events like “Old School Jams,” plus they have a DJ who plays all the latest music and takes requests. Mekos Skate Park is an indoor skateboard park that is also open to BMX bicyclists – a fun place for those who’ve mastered the art of defying gravity!
- Like Fresh Air? At Newport News Park, one of the largest city-run parks in the U.S., you can test your skills on its 18-hole championship disc golf course; go on an adventurous geo-caching excursion in the woods; walk or jog along one of the 30 miles of
trails;or cycle along the 5.3-mile bike path. The park also offers camping, two 18-hole golf courses, archery, fishing, and an aero-model flying field. With 7,711 acres, Newport News Park is nine times bigger than New York’s Central Park!
- Like Games? Newport News is home to many indoor games – a great way to spend the day when the weather doesn’t cooperate with your plans to be outside! No need to break out the umbrella when you’re at BreakOut Games, TagTime Laser Tag, both located in DW Center at 14346 Warwick Blvd., or at The Lock In at City Center at Oyster Point. There’s also LazerRush in Kiln Creek and Peninsula Billiards in Warwick Shopping Center.
- Like Jumping? Rebounderz, an arena-style trampoline with rebounding floors and angled walls. This indoor trampoline has 10,054 sq. ft., allowing families of all sizes to bounce around together. The Bounce House is an inflatable playground where kids kick off their shoes and are encouraged to “bounce off the walls,” so to speak, without fear of punishment!
- Like Racing? Speed Club Center is a 50,000 square-foot indoor “playground” in Newport News. It features European-style indoor go-carts that can reach speeds of up to 50 mph, a mini bowling alley, bumper cars, and arcade games. Located at 14346 Warwick Blvd. in what is now called DW Center.
- Prefer FREE or Almost FREE? The Peninsula Fine Arts Center offers free admission the first weekend of each month. The Mariners’ Museum/USS Monitor Center is running a $1 admission special through Sept. 4. And while you’re out exploring the city, don’t forget these free attractions where donations are accepted and very much appreciated: The Newsome House Museum & Cultural Center, Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center, the U.S. Army Transportation Museum, and each of the city’s 30+ parks.
- On a Budget? Consider purchasing our One City Pass, which admits you to seven Newport News attractions for one low price! The pass is good for one year from the date of purchase and offers one-time admission to The Mariners’ Museum/USS Monitor Center, Virginia Living Museum, Virginia War Museum, Endview Plantation, Lee Hall Mansion, Peninsula Fine Arts Center and the Peninsula SPCA’s Petting Zoo. Buy your One City Pass inside the Newport News Visitor Center at 13560 Jefferson Ave.
- Like FREE Music? Free outdoor concerts are held weekly throughout the summer in Port Warwick from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday nights and in City Center from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday nights. You can also catch the TRADOC Band on the Mariners Row Market Stage in City Center on select Wednesday nights in August and September. Click here for that schedule.
- Hot or Raining Outside? Then go Museum-Hopping for some indoor, climate-controlled fun! See #8 above for the most economical way to do so!
- Looking for Some After-Dinner Fun? – May we suggest the Peninsula Community Theatre in historic Hilton Village? Established in the early 1950s, this cozy little place – housed in a 1930s Art Deco-style movie theater – gives local talent an outlet to hone their artistic skills. At the Virginia Living Museum, you can “Stay Late ‘til 8” on Thursdays through Aug. 31. While there, check out the very cool works of art located in the Conservation Garden, called “Nature Connects: Art with LEGO BRICKS.” Among the 16 sculptures, you’ll see a 6’ hummingbird hovering over a trumpet flower, a deer family made from 84,000 bricks, a giant tortoise, and a 7’ dragonfly.
With so many things to choose from in Newport News, there’s definitely something for everyone. The best place to start is the Newport News Visitor Center, where you can ask one of our experienced travel counselors to help you re-discover your own backyard! Call us at 757-886-7777 (toll-free at 888-493-7386) or explore more Things to Do for additional “staycation” ideas!