Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in New Kent, VA

  • Published 2022/08/17

New Kent is a census-designated community in New Kent County, Virginia.

Despite its size, this small community is full of surprises.

Being part of New Kent County, it is relevant to the area’s oldest counties formed during the Commonwealth period, with a history dating back over 400 years.

New Kent’s past is fascinating, from the early English exploration, Native American history, and American Revolution, to the Civil War and the birth of this great nation.

Besides its rich history, New Kent has a lot of picturesque attractions you’ll come across along the way.

New Kent is accessible from Richmond and Chesapeake, with roughly an hour’s drive to get to this place.

With all that in mind, New Kent is an exciting destination for those who want a quick escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

To find out what this small community offers, check out this list of the best things to do in New Kent, Virginia:

See the New Kent County Courthouse up Close

History marker of New Kent County Courthouse


The New Kent County Courthouse is not just an important government building in the entire county.

It’s also one of the historically-significant buildings in the area after its completion in 1695.

Aside from its superb architectural design, the courthouse also holds fascinating stories, including the several tragic fires it endured and its reconstructions in 1909.

Exterior of New Kent County Courthouse


The original courthouse operated for over 70 years until a brand new courthouse rose behind it.

Visiting the New Kent County Courthouse offers you another perspective of New Kent’s history.

Stop by New Kent Visitors and Commerce Center

New Kent Visitors and Commerce Center along Vineyards Parkway is a recommended place to visit upon arriving in the area.

This place offers an indoor area to chill and stretch your muscles after a long drive to New Kent.

Like most visitor’s centers, this one has water fountains, clean restrooms, and lots of information about the area and the entire county.

It’s where you get all the information such as brochures, maps, and magazines to make your travel adventure in New Kent extra convenient and on point.

Before embarking on your travel adventure, don’t forget to drop by New Kent Visitors and Commerce Center.

Pour a Glass of Excellent Wine at New Kent Winery

New Kent Winery along Old Church Road is one of the best wineries and vineyards in the county.

With this winery’s signature wines on reserve, food trucks, musical concerts, and locally-brewed craft beers on tap, it’s one of the best places to unwind in New Kent.

At the same time, it distributes its wines and craft beer across Virginia.

It wasn’t until recently that this winery expanded to the craft beer scene by opening its brewery, the Talleysville Brewing Co.

So, drop by and sip a glass or two of its famous wine or perhaps chug down a mug of one of its craft beers on tap.

You can also tour the vast vineyard to complete your visit.

Try Your Luck at Rosie’s Gaming Emporium

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium is an upscale casino adjacent to the Colonial Downs Racetrack along Colonial Downs Parkway.

This casino offers an exciting experience featuring non-stop gaming with your favorite slot machines, tables, and more.

It features over 600 sophisticated horse racing games.

At the same time, it has hundreds more slot machines, card tables, and VIP rooms for those who want to enjoy other games.

This casino in New Kent also has a fantastic high limit room for high rollers, where they can wager to their heart’s content.

Aside from gaming, Rosie’s Gaming Emporium also boasts a charming and lively atmosphere that instantly revs up your mood.

Spot Local Wildlife at the Cumberland Marsh Natural Area Preserve

The Cumberland Marsh Natural Area Preserve, a few miles east of New Kent’s central area, features a vast 1,193 acres of nature.

This preserve comprises waters from the upland buffer and freshwater tidal marsh teeming with local flora and fauna.

It mainly supports one of the most extensive biological diversities along the Pamunkey River.

It’s where local wildlife such as bald eagles, great blue herons, ospreys, and egrets thrive and nest.

In addition, migratory birds and waterfowls love to stop by the Cumberland Marsh Natural Area Preserve.

Boating along the Pamunkey River is the best way to experience this natural attraction.

There are numerous boat launches across New Kent to rent paddle crafts or small boats to explore this natural attraction.

Of course, don’t forget to bring binoculars to spot the majestic animals thriving in the area.

Drive through the Scenic New Kent Road

New Kent Road covers the entire county from Barhamsville to Norge, Virginia, passing through New Kent and several other communities.

Also known as the Old Stage Road, this thoroughfare is a scenic route used since the 18th century for those traveling from Williamsburg to New Kent Courthouse.

During the Revolutionary War, this road became the main road for American and British forces.

Meanwhile, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston utilized the road during the Civil War during his withdrawal to Richmond.

Today, it’s one of the most scenic routes in New Kent and Virginia, especially during Autumn and Fall.

It is when leaves start to paint the entire landscape with picturesque views.

If you’re bringing a car while visiting New Kent, don’t miss driving through New Kent Road and being amazed at its natural beauty.

You can also stop by and take snaps of photos for a souvenir.

Witness World-Class Horse Racing at Colonial Downs

Horse racing at Colonial Downs Racetrack

Calstanhope, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Colonial Downs is one of Virginia’s best horse racetracks and venues.

Situated along Colonial Downs Parkway, this race track is one of Virginia’s few pari-mutuels thoroughbred racetracks.

It’s where 80 percent of the region’s summer thoroughbred racing events happen.

From a visitor’s perspective, this horse racetrack is a fun place to visit and experience the exciting scenes during the race.

The venue, the setting, and the atmosphere are nothing short of spectacular.

Many people across Virginia visit this place for affordable entertainment, while adults enjoy wagering their best bets for added excitement.

This place is managed and owned by the Colonial Downs Group, part of Peninsula Pacific Entertainment.

Visiting Colonial Downs is highly recommended if you want to see top-notch horse racing or want to wager and try your luck during races.

Go for a Fishing Adventure with New River Charter

New River Charter is a local fishing and boating charter based in New Kent along the I-81 and I-77 highways.

It has been serving countless tourists and anglers visiting New Kent County with its fishing and boating charters in New River since 1974.

New River Charter is renowned for its top-notch fishing opportunities, where anglers can catch walleye, muskie, and smallmouth bass every trip.

What makes this river charter more exciting is it cruises through the oldest river in the world, the New River, which has existed for over 350 million years.

While cruising along New River, you’ll enjoy watching picturesque vistas, rolling hills, and the abundance of wildlife in certain areas.

Treat Your Tastebuds Elegantly at Martha’s Kitchen

Martha’s Kitchen along New Kent Highway is known throughout the county for its unique and elegant dining experience.

This restaurant follows a concept dedicated to the nation’s first lady, Martha Washington.

Historically, Martha Washington was a proud daughter of New Kent.

It’s where she was born and grew up before becoming a trailblazer during the nation’s early days.

To honor Martha Washington’s legacy, this restaurant adopted a theme that perfectly suits the latter’s charm and warmth.

This restaurant offers a cozy but elegant setting, while its food is high quality.

At the same time, Martha’s Kitchen also recreates how Martha Washington served her guests back in the day with a top-notch fine-dining experience.

Overall, it’s a nice place to bring your loved ones and share food in a unique setting.

Visit St. Peter’s Church in Williamsburg

St. Peter’s Church Williamsburg is roughly 30 minutes south of New Kent.

It’s one of Williamsburg’s oldest structures after it opened in 1679 by Virginia’s General Court.

However, the vestry ordered another construction of a second lower church to replace the original due to weak structural integrity in 1700.

The new church’s construction was completed in 1701, paving the way for the permanent church that serves as the Diocese of Virginia’s oldest parish church.

This church in Williamsburg is an excellent place to visit for Christians and history buffs who want to explore more of its fascinating backstory.

Visiting St. Peter’s Church lets you tour its centuries-old walls, furnishings, ceilings, and structure.

At the same time, you can stop by the church and enjoy the solitude inside while praying.

Stay at The New Kent Ordinary

The New Kent Ordinary, located along New Kent Highway, is a historical and charming guest house offering unique overnight stays.

This historic guesthouse also has a separate watering hole, the Bassett’s Tavern, a nicely-renovated historic home in New Kent.

It features five bedrooms, each equipped with all the excellent amenities of a top-notch lodging.

Historically, this guest house is where the nation’s first president, George Washington, visited numerous times back in the day during the Revolutionary War.

If you’re looking for a place in New Kent to stay during your vacation, the New Kent Ordinary is your best choice.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Roam inside the Pamunkey Indian Museum & Cultural Center

The Pamunkey Indian Museum & Cultural Center, located in the neighboring community of King William, is a tribal museum featuring Native American history.

Situated 30 minutes north of New Kent, it is a unique place to visit.

It is mainly for exhibits about the Pamunkey Indian Tribe’s rich history and heritage dating back 12,000 years.

Opened in October 1980, this museum has exhibits highlighting the culture and daily life of the Pamunkey Indian tribe.

To further educate museum-goers, numerous exhibits display replicas of Native American artifacts.

At the same time, tribal citizens donated numerous heirlooms and personal belongings relevant to their history and culture.

Overall, the Pamunkey Indian Museum & Cultural Center should be on your itinerary if you’re looking for fascinating history.

Score a Hole-in-One at Royal New Kent

Royal New Kent along Kent Field Road in Providence Forge is a top-notch public golf club.

This golf club, 11 minutes south of New Kent, is set on Diascund Creek and Chickahominy River’s lower hills.

Thus, it gives golfers a picturesque view of nearby areas.

Since its opening in 1997, Royal New Kent has received countless positive reviews, with some even naming it the “Best New Upscale Public Course.”

This golf course, designed by Mike Strantz, features a fantastic design and landscape spanning more than a thousand yards.

Overall, it’s a must-visit place for golfers who happen to be in New Kent.

Explore Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve-Virginia

Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve-Virginia is 7.1 miles east of New Kent, making it one of the nearest significant nature preserves in the area.

The Chesapeake Bay, in general, is the nation’s most extensive estuary, covering thousands of acres of diverse habitats.

To widen the protection of these habitats, it established numerous nature reserves across the area; one is near New Kent.

From a visitor’s standpoint, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve-Virginia is an excellent place to spot local wildlife and unique biodiversity.

If you’re looking for more outdoor adventure, you can explore this nature preserve with your family or travel buddies.

Experience the Thrill at the New Kent Paint Ball/Airsoft Games

The New Kent Paint Ball/Airsoft Games in Marine Corps Drive near Lanexa offers you a top-notch paintball and airsoft experience.

This place is full of fun, action, and adrenaline-pumping experience where you’ll find yourself waging battles with fellow players in the arena.

If you’ve already experienced doing paintball or airsoft, you’ll be pleased to learn that this facility boasts seven bases, numerous bunkers, towers, and wooded fields as your warzone.

On top of that, New Kent Paint Ball/Airsoft Games promises paintball and airsoft enthusiasts a realistic military experience and environment during the war games.

The paintball center is located in Lanexa, less than 10 minutes outside New Kent.

Final Thoughts

New Kent is one of those unassuming communities in rural areas of the United States that boasts a rich history and unspoiled natural beauty.

It’s an ideal destination for family vacations, especially for those who want to breathe fresh air and commune with nature.

At the same time, history buffs will also get their hands full of New Kent’s fascinating history, involving George Washington and the great wars the nation endured.

Don’t forget to bookmark this list of the best things to do in New Kent, Virginia, as your handy itinerary!

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