Perhaps no other region in Virginia contains more variety and options for the traveler than its southeastern coastline. Colonial Williamsburg has evoked the days of America's forefathers since its restoration began during the 1920s. Jamestown and Yorktown make the area one of the most historically significant in the United States. When it's time for pure recreation, you can head to theme parks such as Busch Gardens Williamsburg and resort areas, including Virginia Beach.
At the end of the Virginia peninsula is the enormous Hampton Roads harbor, where the James, Elizabeth, and Nansemond rivers flow together into the Chesapeake Bay and then eastward into the Atlantic Ocean. Hampton Roads has also played a crucial role in the discovery and settlement of the nation, its struggle for independence, and the conflict that nearly dissolved the Union.
This entire area, known as the Tidewater, is land where water in rivers and streams is affected by tides. The cities in southeast Virginia take on different roles depending on their proximity to the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers that empty into it. Hampton contains the world's largest naval base, and enormous shipbuilding yards are in Norfolk and Newport News. The area is also committed to recreation and tourism: there are many resort hotels, a bustling beachfront, and boardwalk attractions. Virginia Beach, which in the 1950s claimed to have the world's longest public beach, has a showy boardwalk.
Finally there's Virginia's Eastern Shore that offers funky waterside hamlets tucked away against the Chesapeake and Atlantic shorelines to either side of the highway. The most celebrated of these is Chincoteague, dominating an island of the same name and famous for its ponies.