• The working watermen community of Tangier Island VA at sunset. Photo by Starke Jett.

    Chesapeake Bay

Outdoor Activities

The Chesapeake Bay is all about the outdoors! Here's a fun list of great Chesapeake experiences outside, but before you go, consider downloading the official NPS mobile application "Chesapeake Explorer". The app provides all the details you'll need to find great adventures near you.

Go birdwatching at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, or Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

Shop for native plants for your garden at Adkins Arboretum.

Experience the life of a waterman, and catch a ferry to Tangier Island VA from Reedville VA, Onancock VA, or Crisfield, MD. Then be sure to visit the Tangier History Museum and Intercultural Center.

Follow the Geotrails! Close to sixty geocaches are hidden along the John Smith GeoTrail, and close to forty are waiting for you along the Star-Spangled Banner GeoTrail. Collect enough passwords and redeem your GeoTrail passports for trackable geocoins.

Go boating along the John Smith Trail. Download the appropriate section from the trail's Boater's Guide and you'll have a list of trailheads, resources, and practical information for your type of boat, and true stories of John Smith's travels on the Chesapeake 400 years ago.

Paddle the Patuxent River on the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, and imagine Commodore Joshua Barney's Chesapeake Flotilla.

You'll find many more ideas on the websites for the John Smith Trail and the Star-Spangled Banner Trail. Plus, more than 170 parks, trails, historic towns, lighthouses, and refuges are waiting for you in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network.

Did You Know?

One of the many wading birds found in the Bay watershed

The water in the Chesapeake Bay is surprisingly shallow. Although the Bay covers a large surface area, its average depth, including all tidal tributaries, is about 21 feet. In fact, a person who is six feet tall could wade through over 700,000 acres of the Bay and never get his or her hat wet.