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Maritime-Related National Parks in Virginia


Assateague Island National Seashore (also in MD)

  • Visit a place recreated each day by ocean wind and waves. Life on Assateague Island has adapted to an existence on the move. Explore sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests, and coastal bays. Rest, relax, recreate, and enjoy some time on the edge of the continent.

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail (also in DC, DE, MD, NY, PA)

  • Four hundred years ago, Englishman John Smith and a small crew of adventurers set out in an open boat to explore the Chesapeake Bay. Between 1607 and 1609, Smith and his crew mapped nearly 3,000 miles of the Bay and rivers and documented American Indian communities. Smith?s map and journals are a remarkable record of the seventeenth-century Chesapeake.

Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network (also in DC, MD, NY, PA, WV)

  • Learn about and enjoy the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America. Here, you can visit major league cities, colonial towns, farms, and fishing villages. You can learn to kayak, pick crabs, go fishing, tour a lighthouse, slurp oysters, and slow down to enjoy the natural beauty of the Chesapeake.

Colonial National Historical Park

  • Witness America?s beginnings, from an English colony in 1607 to an independent nation in 1781. On May 13, 1607, Jamestown was established as the first permanent English settlement in North America. Three cultures came together—European, Virginia Indian, and African—to create a new society that would eventually seek independence from Great Britain. On October 19, 1781, American and French troops defeated the British at Yorktown in the last major battle of the American Revolutionary War.

Fort Monroe National Monument

  • Fort Monroe National Monument spans the American story from its beginning through the twenty-first century: American Indian presence, Captain John Smith's journeys, a safe haven for freedom seekers during the Civil War, and a bastion of defense for the Chesapeake Bay.

George Washington Memorial Parkway (also in DC, MD)

  • The George Washington Memorial Parkway was designed for recreational driving. It links sites that commemorate important episodes in American history and preserve habitat for local wildlife. The parkway and its associated trails provide a scenic place to play and rest in the busy Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

Great Falls Park

  • At Great Falls, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country. Great Falls Park has many opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park only 15 miles from the Nation's Capital.

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (also in MD, WV)

  • A visit to this quaint, historic community, at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, is like stepping into the past.?Stroll the picturesque streets, visit exhibits and museums, or hike our trails and battlefields. Spend a day or a weekend.

Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (also in DC, MD, PA)

  • Linking the Potomac and upper Ohio River basins, the Potomac Heritage Trail network follows the paths explored by George Washington. You can follow the same routes today—on foot, bicycle, horse and by boat—exploring contrasting landscapes between the Chesapeake Bay and the Allegheny Highlands.

Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail (also in DC, MD)

  • For three years, the young United States was embroiled in the War of 1812. The Chesapeake Bay region felt the brunt of the war, choked by shipping blockades and ravaged by enemy raids. Through sites and landscapes in Virginia, the District of Columbia, and throughout Maryland, the Trail tells the stories of the events, people, and places that led to the birth of our National Anthem.


Are you interested in other historic maritime resources in Virginia? We have information about historic life-saving stations and historic lighthouses and light stations.