Suffolk Tours

GENERAL TOUR INFORMATION

Departure Location
Suffolk Tourism tours depart from the Suffolk Visitor Center located at 524 N. Main Street, Suffolk, VA 23434, unless otherwise noted. 

Participants are asked to arrive 15 minutes before tour departure time. 

General Tour Guidelines
The following guidelines apply to all tours produced by the Suffolk Division of Tourism:
• Consumption of alcohol on tours is prohibited.
• Smoking of any type during tours is prohibited. 
• Children must be seated in a suitable, approved Child Safety Restraint System, certified to meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. 
• Photography is permitted. The use of flash photography is prohibited on Legends of Main Street: A Suffolk Ghost Walk tours. The use of video or any recording device is prohibited on any tour. 
• Please be respectful of tour decorum at all times by not talking over guides, silencing cellphones, etc. 
• Dress accordingly for the weather and tour. Comfortable walking shoes are suggested for all tours. 
• Application of insect repellent is strictly prohibited on the bus. 
• Standing while bus is in motion is strictly prohibited. 
• Please make sure you have any necessary medications (i.e., EpiPen) with you in case of emergency. 

Reservations & Cancellations
Advance reservations are required for all tours. Payment is required at time of reservation. 

Operator cancellation due to weather or unforeseen circumstances: Ticket holder will receive a full refund or may select another tour date.

Ticket holder cancellation: Ticket holder will not receive a refund but can transfer ticket to another tour date. Rescheduling is expected no less than 24 hours prior to scheduled tour date. 

Group Tours
Group tours are available for groups of 8 or more and require a 50% deposit at time of reservation. A minimum of two-week advance notice is required for requesting a private group tour. For additional information contact the Suffolk Visitor Center: 757.514.4130.

TOUR DESCRIPTIONS AND DATES

Historic Suffolk Narrated Bus Tour

Suffolk's rich heritage dates back to the early 17th century, when Captain John Smith first encountered the Nansemond Indians on the Nansemond River. Even now, you can trace Suffolk's legacy through our historic homes and neighborhoods, churches, and Virginia Civil War Trails. 

Departs at 2pm; this bus tour is approximately 75 minutes.
This tour may involve walking. 
Fee: $8 adults; $6 seniors (60+), military, and children ages 8-12; not recommended for children under 7.

2020 Dates:
August 24 | August 29
September 26 | September 28*
October 26* | October 31
November 2 | November 8 | November 23*
December 7* | December 19 | December 28 

Legends of Main Street: A Suffolk Ghost Walk

A hair-raising encounter with the "spirited" side of Suffolk. Follow a costumed guide through the shadows of historic Main Street, discovering stories, legends, and "unexplained occurrences" by lantern light. Tales of unsolved mysteries and unresolved affairs abound throughout Suffolk's historically hip Ghost Walk. 

See specific tour date for departure time. This walking tour is approximately 90 minutes and covers about 1.5 miles; comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate dress are recommended. 
Fee: $10 adults; $8 seniors (60+), military, and children ages 9-12; not recommended for children under 9. 

2020 Dates & Times:
August 29 at 8pm | September 19 at 8pm
October 24 at 7pm | October 31 at 7pm  
November 7 at 7pm

Great Dismal Swamp National
Wildlife Refuge "Swamp Safari"

The Great Dismal Swamp is anything but dismal. Despite its foreboding moniker, the Great Dismal Swamp is one of few remaining American wildernesses and is home to the black bear, bobcats, rare plants, snakes, and river otters. It is the largest intact remnant of a vast habitat that once covered more than one million acres of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. Especially attractive to birders and nature lovers. the Great Dismal Swamp boasts 200 species of birds, frogs, lizards, salamanders, yellow-bellied and spotted turtles. Despite its impressive size and age, the Great Dismal Swamp remains a mystery to most people. Its thick forests protect its wildlife and ward off intruders. But for those who venture in, the Dismal Swamp shelters a wealth of history and lore, flora, and fauna. One of Suffolk's most popular attractions, narrated Swamp Safaris fill up quickly. The tour is led by a biologist specializing in the unique habitat of the Great Dismal. Learn about the history, lore, vegetation, and wildlife with this adventure that includes a stop at Lake Drummond. 

Departs at 9:30am. This bus tour is approximately 4 hours. 
This tour involves walking. Sunscreen, insect repellent, comfortable clothes and shoes are recommended (flip flops and other exposed footwear is not recommended). Snack and water provided.  
Fee: $10 adults; $8 seniors (60+), military, and children ages 8-12.
Not recommended for children under 8. 

2020 Dates:
August 1 | August 15 | August 19 | August 29
September 2 | September 12 | September 16 | September 26 | September 30
October 14 | October 25
November 4 | November 8 | November 18 | November 22
December 2 | December 6 | December 16 | December 27 | December 30

Kayak Excursions

Guided kayak excursions are facilitated by a water adventures outfitter with years of experience. All equipment is included with registration fee. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable clothing recommended. 

Bus boards at 9:15am. *Transportation for the Nansemond River at Constant's Wharf Park and Bennett's Creek Excursions is not available; participants must meet at these excursion locations. 
Excursions are approximately 2 hours. 
Fee: $40 per person.
Participants must be at least 10 years of age or older. Participants must be at least 10 years of age or older. Participants 17 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 
Participants are encouraged to bring a snack and bottled water. 

Great Dismal Swamp's Lake Drummond Kayak Excursion

Experience the unusual and breathtaking Lake Drummond, a 3,108-acre bowl-shaped lake located near the center of the Great Dismal Swamp. The larger of only two naturally occurring lakes in Virginia, on windless days on the lake, the water appears smooth as glass as the horizon disappears into the sky above. Lake Drummond stands only 18 feet above sea level, and though it is three miles wide, it is only six to seven feet deep, allowing great cypresses to rise from its still, shallow waters. Tannic acid from forest vegetation stains the water. 

2020 Dates:
September 20

Nansemond River at Constant Wharf Park Kayak Excursion

Located on the Nansemond River, John Constant founded this important trading center and village known as Constant's Warehouse, which would become the Town of Suffolk in 1742. 

Transportation for this tour is not available. Participants must meet at Constant's Wharf Marina, 110 East Constance Road (behind the Hilton Garden Inn Suffolk Riverfront), at 9:30am for this particular tour. 

2020 Dates:
August 16

Bennett's Creek Kayak Excursion

Explore the tidal wetlands along Bennett's Creek while viewing a variety of bird and plant species. 

Transportation for this tour is not available. Participants must meet at Bennett's Creek Park, 3000 Bennetts Creek Park Road, at 9:30am for this particular tour. 

2020 Dates:
October 18

Lone Star Lakes Kayak Excursion

Located in the Chuckatuck section of Northern Suffolk, explore one of the many freshwater lakes that make up this beautiful park. 

Bus boards at 9:15am and departs from the Suffolk Visitor Center.

2020 Dates:
November 15 

Great Dismal Swamp's Washington
Ditch Boardwalk Nature Stroll

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge is a wonderful place to connect with nature, with the Washington Ditch Trail the most often-recommended trail for hiking and biking. Enjoy a guided walk as you learn about the flora, fauna, wildlife, and history that abound in this 111,000-acre wilderness. The elevated boardwalk is located adjacent to the Washington Ditch parking area. This boardwalk tour meanders almost a mile through a representative portion of swamp habitats. 

Tour departs from the Washington Ditch Boardwalk Parking Lot located at 3076 White Marsh Road. No transportation from the Suffolk Visitor Center is available. 

Tour begins at 10am and is approximately 90 minutes. 
This tour covers about 3/4 mile; comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate dress are recommended (flip flops and other exposed footwear is not recommended). 
Fee: $7 adults; $5 seniors (60+), military, and children ages 3-12. 

2020 Dates:
September 19 | October 17 | November 21 | December 19

Great Dismal Swamp's Underground
Railroad Pavilion Tour

The Great Dismal Swamp has long been known for its impenetrability, as a place where travelers could easily lose their way. Yet in the early centuries of American history, many of the people who vanished into the swamp were lost by their own choice. The swamp was a sanctuary for thousands of fugitive African American slaves. For more information, visit the Great Dismal Swamp website at: www.fws.gov/refuge/Great_Dismal_Swamp/

UndergroundRailroadPavilion_Tour1

Cedar Hill Cemetery Guided Stroll

Downtown Suffolk's historic Cedar Hill Cemetery is a 32-acre expanse, rich in history and natural beauty. Once the 18th century farm of John Constant, Cedar Hill is now the final resting place for historical figures, politicians, and soldiers—many of whom greatly impacted the growth of Suffolk, as well as Virginia. An official Virginia Civil War Trail site, Cedar Hill Cemetery has long been an attraction for history buffs and walking groups. 

Departs at 4pm from the Suffolk Visitor Center and is approximately 75 minutes. 
This walking tour includes walking on uneven and elevated surfaces. Comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate dress are recommended. 
Fee: $7 adults; $5 seniors (60+), military, and children ages 8-12; not recommended for children under 12. 

2020 Dates:
August 10 | August 29
September 14 | September 26 | October 31

Historic Cedar Hill Cemetery
Hometown Heroes Walking Tour

Suffolk's citizens, like in most other American localities, have served and sacrificed in the name of freedom. This 60-minute walking tour highlights and honors the graves and memorials of soldiers from Suffolk and old Nansemond County who died in combat during the two World Wars, Korean War, and Vietnam War. 

Departs at 11am from the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, at 326 N. Main Street; the tour is approximately 60 minutes. 
This walking tour includes walking on uneven and elevated surfaces. Comfortable shoes and weather-appropriate dress are recommended. 
Fee: $7 adults; $5 seniors (60+), military, and children; not recommended for children under 12. 

2020 Dates:
August 15
September 19 | October 17 | November 21

MUSEUM TOURS

Riddick's Folly House Museum

510 N. Main Street
757-934-0822

Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday: 10am - 4pm
Sunday: 1 - 5pm

Admission Rates (purchased at Riddick's Folly House Museum):
$7 - Adults
$6 - Military and Seniors (55+)
$3 - Students 18 and under
Free - Children 5 and under
$4 - Partial tours

While Mills Riddick's contemporaries may have mocked his Greek Revival home when it was built in 1837, the house now stands as a beautiful reminder of the past. Riddick's Folly has four floors, 21 rooms, and 16 fireplaces. All four floors are open to the public. The building features elegantly furnished double parlors, a gentleman's library, and adult and children's bedchambers. Also open are the laundry and dining rooms, and the winter kitchen. Registered with the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission and the National Register of Historic Places. During the Civil War, Riddick's Folly served as headquarters for the Union Army. Guided tours are available during Riddick's Folly's normal operating hours. Group tours are also available; please contact the museum in advance. Visitors should plan to spend an hour to an hour and a half at Riddick's Folly. 

Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum

326 N. Main Street
757-514-4135

Open daily, 10am - 5pm. 

Guided Tour Admission Rates (purchased at the Railroad Museum):
$2 - Adults
$1 - Military, Seniors (55+), and children

This restored Main Street station displays a two-room HO-scale model of Suffolk in 1907 that was built by the Tidewater Division of the National Model Railroad Association. The museum features railroad memorabilia and changing exhibits. The station was built in 1885 and has remained basically unchanged over the years. The Queen Anne style building is reminiscent of the Victorian age. It has an interesting tower with a beautiful, walnut spiral staircase. 

Group tours are also available; please contact the museum in advance.

Self-Guided Walking Tour of
Historic Downtown Suffolk

Download a free self-guided walking tour brochure of Main Street, featuring over 40 historic sites, including:

• Old Post Office (1785)
• Nansemond County Courthouse (1839)
• Suffolk Christian Church (1891)
• St. Paul's Episcopal Church (1895)
• Main Street Methodist Church (1916)
• Suffolk High School (1922)
• First Baptist Church (1957)
• Mr. Peanut (Character Corner)

WalkingTourCover_web

Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society

137 Bank Street
757-539-2781

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9am - 3pm
Friday: 9am - 12 pm

Admission is free but donations are greatly appreciated. 

The Phillips-Dawson House Tour is free and open to the public and researchers alike. Advance appointments are preferred; however, drop-ins are welcome. The Society offers changing exhibits throughout the year. 

Suffolk Art Gallery

118 Bosley Avenue
757-514-7284

Tuesday - Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 1 - 5pm

Admission is free and self-guided. 

As a community partner of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, this gallery offers changing art exhibits as well as open mic nights, artists' demonstrations, and an array of art classes. 

Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts

110 West Finney Avenue
757-923-0003

Tuesday - Saturday: 11am - 4pm

Admission to gallery exhibits is free and self-guided. 

This three-story brick 1922 former high school in downtown Suffolk is now the state-of-the-art Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, boasting musical, theatrical, and dance productions. The 62,880-square-foot facility features a 500-seat theater, a ballroom and banquet hall, art galleries, gift shop, classrooms, and on-site restaurant.