York County (formerly Charles River County) is a county in the eastern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia, located in the Tidewater area. The county seat is the unincorporated town of Yorktown. Located on the north side of the Virginia Peninsula, with the York River as its northern border, York County is included in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area. York County contains many tributaries of the York River. It shares land borders with the independent cities of Williamsburg, Newport News, Hampton, and Poquoson, as well as James City County, and shares a border along the York River with Gloucester County.
Formed in 1634 as one of the eight original shires (counties) of the Virginia Colony, York County is one of the oldest counties in the United States. Yorktown is one of the three points of the Historic Triangle of Colonial Virginia. It is the site of the last battle and surrender of British forces in 1781 at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War, when the patriots gained independence from Great Britain.
York County has miles of waterfront residential and recreational areas. York County adjoins the Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park and includes within its borders the affiliated Water Country USA water park, the Yorktown Riverfront area, Yorktown Battelfield and Visitor Center and Yorktown Victory Center. Yorktown is linked by the National Park Service's bucolic Colonial Parkway with Colonial Williamsburg and historic attractions at Jamestown, Virginia. Heritage tourism to the Historic Triangle draws international visitors and is a major economic activity for the county.
York County and Yorktown in particular are part of an important historical area of attractions known as the Historic Triangle of Colonial Virginia, which includes Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg. Yorktown is the northern terminus of the scenic Colonial Parkway operated by the U.S. National Park Service which links the three. In 2005, the county completed Riverwalk Landing, a successful pseudo-colonial waterfront development at Yorktown to revitalize the previously deteriorating beach and town district and complement the 2007 celebration of Jamestown.