Visitors to Newport News will find an excellent selection of things to do. This Virginia city lies along the banks of the James River and the port of Hampton Roads. Favorite attractions of the city include museums, theatres, parks, fishing piers, charter boats and other recreation.
The Mariners’ Museum – USS Monitor Center
The Mariners’ Museum has been designated by Congress as America’s National Maritime Museum, The museum features maritime exhibits from around the world. The USS Monitor Center showcases the “Battle of the Ironclads” display and as well as a full-scale Monitor replica.
Virginia Living Museum
This attraction has nature-related exhibits where visitors learn about animals such as wolves, eagles, sea turtle, fish, frogs and more. Special sections encourage enthusiasts to touch live crabs and fossils and other forms of nature. Living exhibits depict Virginia’s widely varying environments from the mountains to the coast including representations of the Chesapeake Bay and limestone caves. The museum also houses an observatory, state-of-the-art digital planetarium theater, live animals and native plant gardens. Shops include the Wild Wings Museum Store and the Wild Side Café.
Virginia War Museum
The Virginia War Museum has U.S. military displays including collections of personal artifacts, weapons, vehicles, uniforms, posters and more from 1775 through the present. Galleries include Women at War and Marches Toward Freedom which document the roles of women and African-Americans in the military. The Visions of War exhibit showcases the museum’s outstanding propaganda poster collection. Gifts are offered for sale in The Duffle Bag gift shop.
Several venues host theatrical events in or near Newport News. The Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts holds performances in its 1,700-seat concert hall, 500-seat music and theater hall, and 200-seat studio/children’s theater. The Peninsula Community Theater, located in Newport News, offers several plays throughout the year. Their Children’s Theatre also features productions. The Virginia Shakespeare Festival, held annually at the College of William and Mary, presents performances of Shakespeare.
Newport News Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the country. This 8,000 acre park is occupied by wildlife including deer, foxes, otter, raccoon, beaver and more. The Newport News Park is a favorite destination for campers who find a natural setting while being so close to the activities and attractions of Hampton Roads. The park is located at 13564 Jefferson Avenue, just off I-64 (Exit 250B). Newport News Park events and festivals include the Newport News Children’s Festival of Friends, the Newport News Fall Festival of Folklife and the Celebration in Lights.
Anderson Park, located at 16th Street and Oak Avenue features ball fields, basketball, beach, boat ramp, historical features, saltwater fishing, picnic shelters, playground, restrooms, and tennis.
Huntington Park is located at the intersection of Warwick Boulevard and Mercury Boulevard, near the James River Bridge. This 60-acre park is open sunrise to sunset daily and offers a public beach fronting the James River. A public boat ramp is open all year and accommodates boats with trailers up to 30-feet in length. Fort Fun, a 13,000-square foot playground, is located on a scenic bluff overlooking the James River. Fishing for brook, brown and rainbow trout is popular at Lake Biggins from November to March each year. Also located in Huntington Park is the Virginia War Museum which showcases America’s military history from the Revolutionary War to the present day.
Deer Park is located on Jefferson Avenue in the center of the city. The name “Deer Park” originated because white-tailed deer were raised on a game preserve before the land was dedicated as a public park. Deer Park has a playground, ball fields, 13 acres of woodlands and hiking trails. Flowering plants of the park include camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. The park is equipped with picnic shelters for parties, reunions, or picnics.
Fishermen will find a variety of saltwater fishing opportunities in Newport News and the surrounding areas. There are fishing piers, head boats, fishing charter trips and other types of fishing. The time of year is very important when choosing your fishing trip.
You can learn about local fishing seasons by reading area fishing reports, newspaper articles and by calling local captains and talking to them about what fish generally are caught at any given time. If you are set in catching a certain species, the season may be critical. If the types of fish you catch are less important, it might be best to choose a fishing charter or head boat and let the captain choose what to fish for.
When fishing around Newport News its a good idea to carry a small cooler for drinks, and a mid-sized or large cooler iced down for storing the fish at the end of the day. For fishing charters, most boats allow you to bring a fish cooler along, but some will have a fish box on board to keep the fish cool until you return to port.
The crew of charter boats and head boats may offer fish cleaning or arrange for the catch to be cleaned at the marina. If you prefer to clean your own fish, discuss that in advance and be ready with a cooler when you return to port.
Newport News Farmers Market
The Newport News Farmers Market offers farmers, gardeners, seafood retailers and other select vendors the opportunity to market home-grown and crafted products. The open air market includes 10,000 feet of covered vending space. The market features fresh produce from local farmers and gardeners as well as fresh fish, fresh-frozen seafood, cheeses and meats. Other items include bedding plants, cut flowers, baked goods and hand made crafts. The market is open year-round.