Busch Gardens is one of the most popular amusement parks in Virginia. My family just took a vacation there last month. It was truly one for the books! My son even said it was his new favorite family vacation of ours. 🖤 There were things we loved and were so glad we did, things we wish we did, and things we wouldn’t want to do again. I’m going to let you guys in on all of those! Let’s chat about how to have the perfect Busch Gardens family vacation and how to plan to actually relax on a family vacation.
What is Busch Gardens?
Busch Gardens is a fun family-friendly theme park in Williamsburg, Virginia. In the park itself, you’ll find thrilling rides, entertaining shows, and even a bit of culture and scenic charm. But your trip to Busch Gardens doesn’t have to be all about the park! I’ll walk you through a few of my tips to make a Busch Gardens family vacation memorable with less of the stress. Don’t worry though, the level of planning isn’t Disney World level!
Where should we stay?
There are of course, tons of places you could stay to visit the park. We stayed at The Double Tree by Hilton and loved it. I would highly recommend staying here. It does require a drive to the park, but it’s the best deal without giving up family friendly amenities!
Planning Your Busch Gardens Family Vacation
Let’s chat planning the trip itself! First off, I would check for seasonal events and deals. They do fun stuff for Halloween, Christmas, Oktoberfest + more. If you wanted to go during one of the colder months, planning it around a holiday would make it that much more fun for the family!
The first day you’re in Williamsburg, plan to go to Busch Gardens. You’ll be excited and refreshed and there’s likely to be less meltdowns. Busch Gardens Williamsburg normally has fireworks around 9ish so you could stay and watch and then head to the hotel for the night.
Plan for the next day to be a pool day! You can either sit back and relax while the kids swim or join in on the fun! They have an indoor and outdoor pool at the Double Tree I recommended above where you can lounge while the kids swim. There are arcade games in the hotel, corn hole, indoor and outdoor pool, bar and restaurant, places to eat outside, breakfast buffet, and tons of space to let your kids run around while you sit in the lobby areas and charge your phone or enjoy a drink! There is so much for the kids to do, they won’t be bored! Bonus: All of these give you the opportunity to just chill, while your kiddos have the time of their life.
Inside Busch Gardens
In the park itself, there is something for everyone! There are rides for older kids and younger kids all over the park. They also have some rollercoasters for the big kids and adults. If you’re wanting a more contained area for your littles, try the Sesame Street Forest of Fun and the Land of the Dragons. They both have little kid friendly rides, playgrounds, and play areas with water or nets. The Land of the Dragons is geared more towards younger kids while Sesame Street Forest of Fun is geared towards fun for the whole family with younger kids! We’ll chat more about them below.
Even if you don’t like rides or rollercoasters, there is something for everyone to enjoy! There’s bumper cars. They have separate ones for younger kids and older kids. Even if your younger kids can’t figure out how to make it move (like my daughter), they’ll still have fun sitting in the car! They also have a railway train ride (we loved) and a sky ride to see a birds eye view of the park. Pro tip: the sky ride doesn’t go back and forth. You’ll have to go a few times to get back to your starting point. The swing ride and river cruise were also hits with my family.
Pro Tip: Have your child bring a friend! Our son is older and our next child 8 years younger. So we had him bring a friend to have someone his own age there. His friend bought his own ticket, and we paid for everything else. It helped make it that much more fun for everyone!
For all my Military Mamas
They do offer deals if you’re in the military! Check out their discounts + deals here. They give out free tickets each year (you just have to input names for each ticket).
How to Actually Vacation on your Family Vacation
Go to the kids areas at the park:
Sesame Street Forest of Fun – There is so much for the kids to do that you can just sit back, relax, and watch. If a nice adult beverage sounds like it might be needed while you relax and watch your kiddos have fun, bring them from outside this area. I, personally, didn’t see anywhere to buy alcohol in this area. Again, there are so many things to do here. There is an opportunity for photos with characters, a splash pad water area (amazing for hotter weather), a little bit larger rollercoaster that my ten year old and his friend went on over and over. It’s also very contained. If your older kids are old enough you could even have them ride the bigger rollercoaster while you take the littles around the rest of this Sesame Street spot to things the older kids might not enjoy.
Land of the Dragons – This is another contained area which made it great for the littles to run around! Sincerely there was so much running around for the kids here. There is a small ride area for littles, but tons of climbing in tree houses with nets to run across where you’re on top of everyone else. This is where you can, again, sit back and watch the kids play. My 2 year old loved climbing the stairs and running on the nets just as much as my ten year old and his friend!
Date Night Opportunity
When you think Busch Gardens family vacation or even family vacation in general, you might not think about a date night or hanging out with just your partner. I’m here to tell you, it’s totally possible! Bring a baby monitor, put your kids to bed, and go on a date in the hotel! You can eat and drink at the bar, then even let loose and play on the arcade games. Talk about a Dave and Busters experience! Just because it’s a family vacation doesn’t mean you can’t get some extra special alone time to reconnect with your partner.
Bonus Busch Gardens Family Vacation Tips + Tricks
- Bring your own stroller so that you can put tons of stuff in it and you don’t have to worry about carrying anything. The entire bottom of our stroller was filled with snacks + extra things for the kids!
- Bring a refillable water bottle or keep the empty water bottle you buy there to refill. Water is free, so you’ll save a lot of money that way!
- There are tons of great food options. They have sit down restaurants and stations for quick bites to grab and go. My son loves getting the huge turkey legs!
- There’s adult beverages all over for when you need something a little stronger than a diet coke.
- Theres an all-day dining deal where you can eat and drink all day long at participating Busch Gardens Williamsburg locations! You’ll receive an entrée, a side or dessert plus a drink every 90 minutes.
- We didn’t go to any shows in the park this time. Next time, I would definitely look at the schedule and plan to go to at least one!
- The water rides are seasonal so I definitely recommend going in the hotter months even though it can be very hot in Virginia in the summer. We went this summer and it was still so worth it! Just plan on being sweaty all day. They also have a bunch of huge fans blowing mist to run through with the kids so you can just stay wet all day!
- Bring bathing suits to the park for the kids to play in the splash pads! Clearly we forgot ours, but luckily kids air dry and it helped us cool off.
Last but CERTAINLY Not Least for your Busch Gardens family vacation…
Let your kids jump on the bed!
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