Gloucester was founded in 1651 from the original York River Shire. Gloucester is the site of Werowocomoco, the chief city of the Powhatan tribe prior to the arrival of the English. It is a mostly rural county, with large tracts of farmland and a large population of watermen. Its close proximity to the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown have shaped its history.
From the Virginia Peninsula (Yorktown, Newport News, Hampton) and points south, visitors enter Gloucester from US-17 across the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge, spanning the York River. From the Peninsula, US-17 can be easily accessed from Interstate 64.
From Richmond and points West, the easiest way into Gloucester via Interstate 64 is through the town of West Point on State Route 33. SR-33 crosses US-17 at Glenns in the northern part of Gloucester County. Traveling on US-17 South will direct you to the Courthouse and Gloucester Point area.
From the North, one can take I-95 South to I-64 and travel through West Point through Gloucester. Alternatively, US-17 spans from Gloucester to Warrenton, Fredericksburg, and Tappahanock and provides a leisurely, four-lane drive to Gloucester. SR-3 may also be used to get to Gloucester via Fredericksburg, offering scenic views of the Piankatank River along the way.
Gloucester is located approximately 20 minutes from Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport, approximately 60 minutes from Norfolk International Airport, and approximately 90 minutes from Richmond International Airport.
There is no public transportation system in Gloucester County. Vehicle transportation is recommended. The majority of businesses and tourist attractions are located on or near US-17, the main artery through the county.
- Rosewell (Gloucester Point). Monday-Saturday, 10AM-4PM, and Sunday 1PM-4PM. The ancestral home of the Page family. The house was destroyed by fire in 1916, but the APVA maintains the ruins and an accompanying visitor center.
- The College of William and Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), located in Gloucester Point, offers public tours by appointment. The tour includes a visit to the Visitor's Center and Aquarium, a VIMS Research Laboratory, and the VIMS Teaching Marsh. Allow 1.5 hours. Tours may be reserved by calling VIMS at +1 804 684-7846.
- The historic Gloucester Courthouse area (accessed via Main Street) includes the historic Courthouse. Located nearby is the Gloucester Museum of History. The museum is open Monday through Friday, 10AM - 3PM and Saturdays 11AM - 4PM.
- The Point Walk, 1255 Greate Rd (Gloucester Point Beach). Offers an interpretive walk along the York River.
In the summer months, public beach access is available at Gloucester Point.
Beaverdam Park, located at 8687 Roaring Springs Road, is a 1340-acre park surrounding a 635-acre lake. The park offers numerous hiking trails, and fishing and canoeing are popular activities in the lake.
The annual Daffodil Festival occurs in late March/early April. The festival celebrates Gloucester's status as a large cultivator of the Daffodil Flower. Festivities occur on Main Street in the Gloucester Courthouse area and include food, children's activities, art displays, craft vendors and Daffodil-related exhibits.
The annual Gloucester County Fair occurs in mid-August at Ark Park (off of US-17 South on Number Nine Rd). The fair includes numerous carnival rides, food vendors, food & craft displays, and vendors.
The annual Guinea Jubilee occurs in late September. The festival celebrates the Guinea area of Gloucester County, home to a large population of watermen. The festival is held each year at the Abingdon Ruritan Club off of Guinea Road. The Jubilee showcases the fine seafood of the Guinea area.
The Gloucester Courthouse area, accessible off of US-17 via US-17 Business (Main Street) is home to numerous shops and restaurants.
- Nick's Spaghetti and Steakhouse, 1440 George Washington Memorial Highway (US-17), ☎ +1 804 642-2330. Nick's serves Italian cuisine and steak in a casual environment.
- Sweet Madeline's, 2091 George Wasthington Memorial Highway (US-17), ☎ +1 804 642-1780. Sweet Madeline's is a gourmet deli and bakery serving lunch.
- Goodfellas, 5036 George Washington Memorial Highway (US-17), ☎ +1 804 693-5950. Goodfellas specializes in Prime Rib, Seafood and Pasta.
- Sal's Sicilian Pizza and Restaurant, 2520 George Washington Memorial Highway, ☎ +1 804 642-6470. Sal's is a traditional Sicilian pizzaria.
- Short Lane Ice Cream Company, 6721 George Washington Memorial Highway, ☎ +1 804 695-2999. Serves hand-made ice cream in a restored general store.
In addition, fast food restaurants operate at Gloucester Point and Gloucester Courthouse. An Applebee's and Ruby Tuesday's operate near Gloucester Courthouse.
There are a few sports bars in Gloucester, but no dance clubs or nightclubs. However, many of the full-service restaurants offer bar service.
- Comfort Inn - Gloucester, 6639 Forest Hill Ave (near the Courthouse area off of US-17), ☎ +1 804 695-1900.
- Hampton Inn - Gloucester, 6638 Forest Hill Ave (near the Courthouse area off of US-17), ☎ +1 804 693-9393.
- Thousand Trails Campground - Chesapeake Bay, 12014 Trails Ln (in the northern end of Gloucester County), ☎ +1 804 693-6924. Thousand Trails offers campground sites for RVs and cabin rentals in a quiet setting. Numerous water activities abound.
- Yorktown, site of the final major battle of the American Revolutionary War, is located across the York River from Gloucester. The National Park Service maintains a visitor center (admission required) and tours of battlefields and historic sites associated with the Siege of Yorktown. The private Yorktown Victory Center (admission required), located near the Park Service's site, offers additional perspective and recreations of the battle. Yorktown also offers public beach access and shopping along the York River.
- Williamsburg is located approximately 30 minutes from Gloucester Point via the National Park Service's Colonial Parkway. Colonial Williamsburg offers a living recreation of the colonial capital of Virginia. Located near the Colonial Williamsburg site is the campus of the College of William and Mary. Williamsburg is also home to numerous outlet shopping centers, and the Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA amusement parks.
- Jamestown is located approximately 45 minutes from Gloucester Point. Home to the first permanent English settlement in the U.S., Jamestown is home to the National Park Service's Historic Jamestowne and the state-managed Jamestown Settlement Park.
|Routes through Gloucester Courthouse|
|Winchester ← Fredericksburg ←||N S||→ Newport News → Norfolk via|
|Culpeper ← Fredericksburg ← Jct ← Jct ←||W E||→ END|