• A kayaker paddles on the Patuxent River at the Jug Bay Natural Area. Photo by Middleton Evans.

    Captain John Smith Chesapeake

    National Historic Trail VA,MD,DE,DC,PA,NY

Plan Your Visit

Follow in the wake of Smith's journeys on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, America's first national water trail. Experiencing the Bay first-hand, you can imagine what it may have been like for Smith's hardy crew, mapping the Chesapeake's shorelines and tributary rivers for the first time, and meeting and communicating with the region's numerous American Indian communities.

With over 3,000 miles of trail route, there are countless ways to enjoy the trail. You can paddle or boat along numerous water trails; pick a driving tour or other trail exploration from our suggested itineraries; use the Chesapeake Explorer mobile app to customize a tour; go geocaching at more than 60 sites along the trail and learn about Smith's voyages and Chesapeake Indians; and, discover the best places to experience the authentic Chesapeake.

Supplement your trail explorations with a visit to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail companion website (www.smithtrail.net). There you'll learn about Captain John Smith and the American Indian and natural worlds of 17th-century Chesapeake. You'll also find lots of tips for planning your trail adventures.

Did You Know?

Satellite image of the Chesapeake Bay region

The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and one of the largest in the world. It is uniquely shallow, with an average depth of 21 feet and only a few troughs deeper than 170 feet. The Bay has 11,600 miles of shoreline including tidal wetlands and islands.