For most of us, it’s nearing three months since we’ve been asked to shelter-in-place. By now, our desire to get out of the house has reached epic proportions. So as lockdown restrictions begin to loosen, we’d like to suggest ways for you to slowly ease back into a low-commitment, comfortable getaway that is closer to home. Tap into your sense of adventure with this mini-escape in Newport News, VA, that will surely satisfy your pent-up wanderlust!
Book a “Wallet-Friendly” Hotel Stay
Spend an extra long weekend close to home and save when you stay 3 or more nights at the Holiday Inn Newport News/Hampton at 980 Omni Blvd. in City Center at Oyster Point. To view the offer, simply select your dates for check-in on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday by clicking here for the reservation link.
Also, the Courtyard Newport News at 530 St. Johns Road is offering a special room rate, called the “LoveNN Staycation.” Click here, and then enter the dates of your stay, and the discounted room rate will be revealed within the “Special Rates” tab.
Explore the Wonders of Newport News Park
One of the largest city-run parks in the U.S., Newport News Park is nine times bigger than New York’s Central Park! You can test your skills on its 18-hole championship disc golf course in the arboretum area; 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. It would be easy to spend your entire staycation in this 7,711-acre oasis! Stop by the brochure kiosk next to the sidewalk that leads to the entrance of the Newport News Visitor Center to pick up a park map. Here are some of our favorite ways to explore the park:
- * Pitch a Tent – Campers and outdoor enthusiasts find Newport News Park’s campground the perfect retreat. Its 188 campsites are spaciously arranged throughout the park’s natural woodlands. Camp here and you’ll be surrounded by many of the comforts of home, including electricity, heated showers, a laundry room, a small store for food and supplies, and 24-hour security.
- * Play Horseshoes – With four certified courts for horseshoes, there’s no better place than Newport News Park to play horseshoes, especially if you want to keep your own lawn back home pristine! Just remember to bring your own horseshoes.
- * Go Bird Watching – Bring your binoculars and take a stroll through Newport News Park to see what interesting species of birds live in our neck of the woods.
* Meditate in Peace – Gardens at Newport News Park include a Japanese Peace Garden with an authentic tea house. The Ennan Teahouse – or Swallows Rest – is a Japanese tea house, modeled after one designed in the 17th century by a tea master. Surrounded by a charming Japanese-style Peace Garden, it is the only authentic teahouse known to be in the United States. This site is truly a unique place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.
- * Go Fly a Plane – Who knew that Newport News Park has an aero-model flying field? What is that, you may even ask! It’s a place for model aviation enthusiasts to fly their radio-controlled aircraft. The field has a paved 400-foot runway and a spacious 30-acre fly-over area, along with bleachers for spectators.
- * Play Disc Golf – An 18-hole championship disc golf course is located in the arboretum area of the park. Visit the Campsite Office at 13564 Jefferson Ave. for passes and rental discs.
- * Walk in the Footsteps of Civil War Soldiers – Newport News Park, a designated stop on the official Virginia Civil War Trails network, is the site of some of the best preserved Civil War fortifications, earthworks and redoubts in Virginia. During the American Civil War, the park was the site of Battle of Dam No. 1.
Take a “Self-Guided” Driving Tour
Our free, self-guided driving tours make for an interesting experience like no other:
* Public Art driving tour – Itching to get out of the house? Use your car as your own personal “escape” shuttle to discover some cool outdoor art in Newport News! Before you head out, though, take a few minutes to download the Newport News Public Art Foundation’s audio tour app. With this cell phone app, you’ll be able to take a personal tour of 20 sculptures, with the artists themselves as your guide!
* Civil War driving tour – The Civil War in Newport News saw the world's first battle between ironclad ships, a growing role for African Americans in the United Sates military, and a woman who disguised herself as a male soldier to fight for her country. Newport News pays tribute to this heroism in a Civil War driving tour that includes historic homes, battle sites, fortifications, monuments and extraordinary collections of personal artifacts. Download the Civil War Historical Reflections Brochure here.
Explore Our Bike Trails
In Newport News, our bike trails range from leisurely to challenging, but there’s one thing they have in common: scenic views. There are six bike trails that fall under the category of recreation, mountain or road biking and are located throughout the City. You can find an interactive map and printable map routes on our bike trails page to start planning your ride today.
Whether freshwater or saltwater, our seven public boat ramps and three modern marinas make getting out on the water in Newport News a breeze. Free saltwater fishing piers are located at Hilton Pier and King-Lincoln Park, as well as Denbigh Park. You can enjoy freshwater shoreline fishing at Newport News Park and Harwood Mills Reservoir. Click here to learn more.
Dip Your Toes in the Water
Located on the Hampton Roads Harbor, the land that makes up King-Lincoln Park was once known as Pinkett's Beach. During the days of segregation, William Ward Pinkett, a business owner and tailor who owned the land, opened it up to African Americans. In 1968, the land was turned into a park. Originally called Lincoln Park to honor President Abraham Lincoln, the nearly 19-acre park was renamed King-Lincoln Park after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. King-Lincoln Park is located at 600 Jefferson Ave.
Explore All There is to do at Huntington Park
Huntington Park, located near the intersection of Warwick and Mercury boulevards, is nestled at the base of the James River Bridge. It spans 60 acres, making it the 4th largest park in Newport News. The most gorgeous sunsets on the James River can be found at Huntington Park.
* Military Memorials at Huntington Park – Although the Virginia War Museum is currently closed due to the pandemic, there are a number of military artifacts exhibited on the grounds outside the museum at Huntington Park. Reflect quietly at the memorials set up in remembrance of the Vietnam War, the Holocaust, and the Four Chaplains of the USAT Dorchester.
* Huntington Park Beach – A public beach with a designated swimming area, Huntington Park Beach is open (with social distancing restrictions in place and for groups of no more than 10 people). As for fishing at Huntington Park, the James River Fishing Pier gives you the opportunity to fish from one of the longest saltwater fishing piers on the East Coast. Lake Biggins, a large freshwater lake located at the park, has a children’s fishing pier that extends into the lake.
* Huntington Park Rose Garden – Located in Historic Huntington Park, the Rose Garden is home to 1,000 roses and 74 different varieties that bloom from May to late October. Since 1970, this garden has been a perfect place for visitors to relax and enjoy the beautiful roses while sitting in the gazebo at the center of the property. With all the magic the roses create, this gem is sure to make you smile. The Huntington Park Rose Garden, complete with a scenic gazebo, is located near the Warwick Boulevard entrance.
* Huntington Park Tennis Center – The Huntington Park Tennis Center consists of 20 courts, and the courts are lighted for use at night. No better sport than tennis to practice social distancing!
Before heading out, consider packing some snacks, bottles of water, and that all-important hand sanitizer to make your staycation that much more enjoyable. It’s obvious that the only challenge you’ll face is selecting among all the fun things to do in Newport News! For questions, call 757-886-7777.