Check Out Hampton’s Host of Hotspots
With the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads harbor as partial borders, Hampton attracts a variety of coastal travelers to its many attractions. The charming waterfront setting is where Captain John Smith stopped in 1607 en route to Jamestown and was host to the original seven Mercury astronauts as they trained at Hampton’s NASA Langley Research Center in 1959, prior to America’s launch into the Space Age.
Visitors to Hampton can check out the Virginia Air & Space Center and Riverside IMAX Theater, the Hampton History Museum, and harbor tours and cruises. The award-winning Hampton Coliseum is also a must-see, and for history buffs, check out the Casemate Museum at Fort Monroe National Monument to see chronicles of the imprisonment of Confederate President Jefferson Davis as well as the Fort’s role during the Civil War. The museum itself is currently closed, but visitors can still explore the historical markers and are free to walk around the fort.
Be sure to take advantage of the Sea to Stars ticket offer that includes discounted passes to Miss Hampton II, Hampton History Museum, and the Virginia Air & Space Center (currently closed for renovations).
For those looking for outdoor activities, Buckroe Beach and Park features a nearly mile-long stretch of sandy beach on the Chesapeake Bay or head over to the Sandy Bottom Nature Park. The park is a 456-acre property with twelve miles of nature trails, and a huge nature interpretive center. With wetlands, woodland and wildlife abound, there are white-tail deer, turtles, frogs, Mabee’s Salamander, and the endangered canebrake rattlesnake. Both hikers and cyclists can enjoy the well-maintained trails.
Hitting the links is also a favorite of Hampton’s visitors, with a pair of courses that are open to the public that features top-quality golf. The Hamptons Golf Course includes three, 9-hole courses while the Woodlands Golf Course is an 18-hole, Championship course that serves as hosts to area tournaments. Both are visitor-friendly, so for those who prefer to pack golf polos and khakis on their vacations, we take a deeper look at what each course has to offer.
Known for their consistently excellent conditions and outstanding service, few public courses will rival those found at the Hamptons Golf Course. The grounds are always meticulously maintained, and the 27-holes of championship golf offers gently rolling terrain with expansive fairways and varied elevations. There is a wonderful combination of ornamental grasses, lakes, waterfalls, and wildflowers that lead to the Bentgrass greens. The course is home to a variety of waterfowl and birdlife, creating an inspired surrounding for a round of golf.
Designed by noted course architect Dr. Michael Hurdzan, the Hamptons offers three distinctive 9-hole courses, each having its own distinct qualities. Players can choose from the Lake Course, the Woods Course, and the Links Course. Of course, those who are more adventurous, can try and get in all three.
The Woods, just as it sounds, features tree-lined fairways, all punctuated by well-bunkered greens. While the Lakes is the most scenic of the three courses, it is also the most challenging, with the namesake hazards coming into play on five of the nine holes. Finally, the Links is just as it sounds as well, with a Scottish-style mounding and pot bunkers intertwined with wind-swept ornamental grasses and a colorful array of flora. All three will provide players with an excellent test of their shot-making skills, and are known for being in superb conditions at all times.
At just over 5400 yards, the 18-hole Woodland Golf Course will force most to lean on their iron play to keep the ball within the boundaries of the Bermuda fairways. And with water coming into play on 11 of the holes and the 52 strategically placed bunkers, the course provides a surprising challenge and is often underestimated. The course is a favorite with the locals and is another excellent test of a player’s shot-making skills.
The Woodlands serves as home to several popular area tournaments, including the Hampton Amateur and The Peninsula Women’s Championship. Like the Hamptons Course, it is widely reputed for its top quality conditions.
As is the case with all venues in today’s Covid-19 environment, be sure to check with each facility prior to planning a trip to see what conditions and restrictions are in place.