Williamsburg : Virginia


What It Is Like to Retire in Williamsburg

Williamsburg, Virginia is a very popular retirement community as is evidenced by its selection by Money Magazine as #5 on its list of “Best Places to Live”. Colonial Williamsburg is actually a living representation/restoration of the 18th century colonial capital. If you are a history buff and you love antiques, this is the place for you. Shops and cafes in the downtown area look like museum places but are all functional. In fact, it looks like Patrick Henry or Thomas Jefferson could be that customer at the next table.
Williamsburg is a very desirable place to live for anyone, but particularly for active adults 55+ who have the time and inclination to live a slower lifestyle. Williamsburg has a population of just over 12,000 souls, and more than 4,000,000 visitors.  Williamsburg is located in James City County in southeastern Virginia. Norfolk is 41 miles away. Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown make up America's Historic Triangle. For a list of profiles on over 600 cities and towns go to reviews of the best retirement communities. Here are reviews of towns like Northern Neck and Charlottesville.

Watch this short Youtube video prepared by Colonial Williamsburg:


Where to Retire in Williamsburg and Home Prices

Retirees can choose to live in an antique home in the downtown, or in one of the 55+ or upscale developments nearby.  See links at top left for Williamsburg active adult communities. Real estate is very expensive in Williamsburg. According to Zillow, the median home value was $395,659 in early 2022. Property taxes are low.


What Is Special about Williamsburg

You get to live in an 18th Century Museum. College of William and Mary; proximity to the beaches of Virginia and North Carolina; many upscale housing opportunities for retirees, including many apartments; great shops; Busch Gardens


What Is Not Special about Williamsburg

Williamsburg is so desirable that is has become expensive; Crowds; Small town atmosphere; Living in a museum


Who Will Like Retirement in Williamsburg

People live in Williamsburg who like being in an antique atmosphere and don’t mind the continual presence of tourists. Typically residents like older homes and are interested in colonial U.S. history.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism, retail, education, real estate

Climate and Physical Environment

Williamsburg is just inland on the coast of southern Virginia. It is flat with many waterways. The average July high is 89 degrees and the average January low is 28. July is the wettest month. For help on how to retire in Virginia or towns like Alexandria and Charlottesville

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

A lot of Williamsburg’s culture revolves around its colonial setting. History buffs will find everything they need here. The College of William and Mary has many cultural offerings. The Williamsburg Regional Library is extremely well funded and has more than 281,000 volumes. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at William & Mary (formerly the Christopher Wren Association), offers courses to members 50 and older who have a desire to continue academic learning.  


Crime rate is very low in Williamsburg.

Medical Facilities

There are at least 2 hospitals in town, including Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center and Riverside Doctors' Hospital. Richmond and Hampton have additional hospitals, including the Veterans medical center in Hampton.


Newport News/Williamsburg Airport is about 25 minutes away. Norfolk Airport and Richmond Airports are less than an hour away.

Valuable Links

Williamsburg Convention and Visitors Bureau

City of Williamsburg


What people are saying about Williamsburg

Williamsburg hospitals
Yes, there are “at least two hospitals in town” but rather than including Eastern State Hospital which is a “mental/psychiatric hospital, you might want to change that to Riverside Doctors’ Hospital.
Posted by Idontknow on February 18, 2020
Questions about Williamsburg
This comment came in from BeckN: I think we know what to expect in weather (including hurricanes), medical facilities, restaurants, etc. All taxes considered, I think Virginia falls in the middle – not the lowest but not necessarily among the highest. We are going to rent for the first year to see if Williamsburg will meet our expectations. But will we find fairly new homes for sale in the under $225,000 range? What will the traffic be like? How is the overall COL (taxes, housing, utilities, insurance, food etc.)? Would appreciate any information from those out there that might have more current experience in the area (rather than our memories from 16 years ago).
Posted by admin on May 16, 2016
Flea Market
This comment came in from Jack: Interesting. We used to live in Williamsburg when I was in Administration at The College of William & Mary. Colonial Williamsburg and W&M did a survey of people with out-of-state license plates and asked them why they were visiting the area? Both wonderful institutions wanted to know. Then Busch Gardens/ Old Country wanted in. Answer: Neither. 90 % were there for the giant flea market, Williamsburg Pottery and had never heard of the other 3 places!
Posted by admin on January 13, 2016

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