Chesapeake Gateways

Chesapeake Bay Gateways are the places to experience, first-hand, Chesapeake life and culture. Gateways are the Bay’s hidden treasures — each communicating a unique relationship and story of the Chesapeake. Gateways are parks, wildlife refuges, maritime museums, historic sites and water trails. They are places you can go to volunteer, explore, enjoy, relax, learn or simply renew your spirit.



The Chesapeake Bay Gateways tell the story of the way that water, place, nature and people have been connected over time. The journeys of generations traveling up from and down to the Bay are told on the rivers such as the Susquehanna, Potomac, James, and Rappahannock. Follow the path of early adventurers on the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Experience the hardships and triumph of life in the Chesapeake region at places such as Jamestown, St. Mary’s City, Londontown, Annapolis and scores of other settlements. Trace the movement of troops and hear the tales of the military events that have shaped the course of a nation. Explore the sites and landscapes that witnessed the birth of a new nation with Washington’s victory at Yorktown. Follow the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and experience the events of the War of 1812 and the victory at Fort McHenry that inspired the nation’s anthem.


Gateways are places that can inspire and where discoveries are around every bend in the trail. Discover the living maritime traditions of watermen who work the bay on boats with fascinating names like clipper, bugeye, dead-rise and skipjack. Make your own adventure and get out on the water on one of the many water trails. Over twenty Gateways water trails cover one thousand miles of the Bay and its rivers with hiking and biking trails available for adventurers of every age and skill level. Hikers, bikers and paddlers can find adventures that will last a few hours or days on end.


Gateways encourage you to volunteer and get involved with Bay preservation. As groups or individuals you can have fun while helping to save the Bay. Whether restoring lost marshland, cleaning up a beach or river, planting trees or educating others about Bay stewardship, these projects offer a rewarding hands-on Chesapeake experience. Gateways connect you with the waters where people have gone for centuries for life-sustaining food such as oysters, crabs and fish. The Chesapeake region is home to many other natural wonders which can be experienced through the Gateway sites. Stunning waterfowl migrations, the quiet beauty of pristine landscapes and an abundant wildlife population await you as you explore and play in the Chesapeake region.

Last updated: August 9, 2018

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Mailing Address:

410 Severn Avenue
Suite 314

Annapolis, MD 21403


(410) 260-2470

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