3,000 Miles...15,000 Years of Culture

People first arrived in the Chesapeake Bay during the last ice age. As glaciers melted, diverse societies learned to thrive in a world of water. When Englishman Captain John Smith explored the Bay in 1608, he documented hundreds of American Indian communities. Today, sites on his map are archeological treasures and sacred sites for tribal citizens. Come join us on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay!

John Smith's map of the Chesapeake Bay
History & Culture

Discover the people, cultures, places, and events that made history here in the 1600s and beyond.

A map of the nation's national trails
What is a National Historic Trail?

What is a National Historic Trail and how do I visit one? Learn about our National Trail System and discover what the trail is all about!

Artistic rendering of Werowocomoco town.

For hundreds of years before Europeans first came there, Werowocomoco was an important town whose name meant "place of leadership".

A European style sailing ship on a river.
Smith's Voyages

In the summer of 1608, Captain John Smith embarked on two exploratory voyages of the Chesapeake Bay, convening with Tribes along the way.

A map of the Chesapeake National Historic Trail with selected locations marked.
Trail Map

View a map of the trail's route and key sites along the way.

Aerial view of a marshy island with houses and small boats alongside.
Places to Go

Discover the trail's visitor centers and contact sites located throughout the Chesapeake region.

A rack of canoes with a marsh landscape behind.
Things To Do

The trail offers countless ways to enjoy the rivers, marshes, and coastlines of the Chesapeake Bay.

Two boys hold up a crab they caught.
Kids & Youth

Explore fun activities and discover how to become a Junior Ranger for the Chesapeake National Historic Trail or Susquehanna River.

A photographer with a tripod on a rocky beach overlooking the Bay.
Photos & Multimedia

Virtually visit the park by viewing photos, videos, animal webcams, coloring books, and more!

A computer screen viewing the virtual tour with a view of a river and map.
Street View Virtual Tours

Thanks to high-resolution street view technology, you can take a virtual tour of the trail from your computer or smart device.

Last updated: January 10, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 210
Yorktown, VA 23690


(757) 856-1220

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