Every Chesapeake Explorer needs a good guide to get started. With these maps and guides, you’ll be on your way to a great adventure on the water in no time! Download the Boater’s Guide below to begin your journey on the Captain John Smith National Historic Trail. Or check out dozens of other guides to water trails around the Eastern Shore and on rivers like the Anacostia, James, Susquehanna, and more.
Now you can explore the Chesapeake Bay as Captain John Smith did it—by boat. But you’ll have the advantage of an expert guide who has “hindsight.” Let John Page Williams take you on a journey along the waterways traveled by Smith and discover the special places Smith described and how remarkably the same—or different—these places are today.
A Boater’s Guide to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is for boaters of all types of vessels and all skill levels. Whether you paddle, sail, or motor, whether you are a novice or a veteran boater, you’ll find the information you need to follow in Smith’s wake along the main stem of the Bay and all the rivers he traveled.
Even non-boaters will enjoy John Page Williams’s engaging way of weaving history, geography, and practical information for seeing the Chesapeake Bay in a new way. The Boater’s Guide is also loaded with links to take you to trail access points and resources where you can learn even more.
The Anacostia River Water Trail covers a nine-mile stretch of the Anacostia River, running from Bladensburg, Maryland, through Washington, DC, to its juncture with the Potomac River about two miles south of Capitol Hill.
The Chemung River runs through the scenic woodland and hills of the southern tier of New York and the northern tier of Pennsylvania. The Chemung Basin River Trail traverses about 80 miles of this beautiful Chemung Valley.
From the headwaters in Delaware to the river’s mouth between Kent Island and Rock Hall, the Chester River Water Trail encompasses more than 100 miles of waterways, a variety of ecosystems, and over 10,000 years of human history.
A short, developing water trail along the upper reach of the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River. Eventually with connect with Norfolk's watertrail on the Eastern Branch.
The Upper James River Water Trail meanders through beautiful Botetourt County. You'll experience the unspoiled beauty of the river as you paddle through scenic valleys and past rolling farmland while keeping a watchful eye out for wildlife.
Mathews Blueways is an interconnected system of five separate water trails with ninety miles of canoeing and kayaking trails on tidal rivers, creeks and wetlands fronting the Bay.
This water trail follows approximately 120 river miles along the tidal York, Mattaponi, and Pamunkey rivers. The route spans a diverse landscape through parts of Virginia described and mapped by Captain John Smith in the 1600s.
The Maury River Water Trail runs from Cedar Grove down to the James River along 34 of the Maury's 42 mile length. The Maury River is considered one of the most beautiful whitewater rivers in Virginia.
The Monocacy River Water Trail is a self-guided tour of the river for canoeists and kayakers from the Monocacy Battlefield to the Monocacy Aqueduct in Maryland. It provides opportunities to observe diverse wildlife and historic sites.
The Patuxent River Water Trail offers visitors the opportunity to paddle the river, camp along its banks and visit its numerous parks, historic sites, sanctuaries and wildlife areas.
As an American Heritage River and with 300 miles recognized as a National Recreation Trail, the Potomac River is closely connected to our Nation's history and rich in recreational opportunities. Beginning at Jennings Randolph Lake to the mouth of the Potomac, you may choose to paddle the 355 miles to the Chesapeake Bay or take a single or multi-day trip; all will give you a different view of the ways that previous residents used the river and its banks for their livelihood, transportation and recreation.
Powhatan Creek is a 23 mile tributary of the James River - and a great place to canoe, fish and observe birds and other wildlife. The trail is a straight paddle downstream to Jamestown Island.
The Rivanna River watertrail begins in the outskirts of Charlottesville, Virginia and winds it's way south 41 miles where it empties into the James River near Columbia, Virginia.
Over 20 miles long, the Sassafras River traces the shores of Maryland's Cecil and Kent counties before reaching its confluence with the Chesapeake Bay between Howell Point and Grove Point.
From Harrisburg to Havre de Grace, this 65 mile stretch of the Susquehanna shows off the scope of this largest tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Canoeists and kayakers can explore the river's history and scenic beauty.
The Middle Susquehanna River Trail covers 54 miles of the river from Sunbury downstream to Harrisburg. A canoeing and kayaking route perfect for those seeking diverse scenery and animal habitats.
The North Branch of the Susquehanna River flows from New York through Pennsylvania to Sunbury where it joins the West Branch and forms the river's main stem - the largest tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
Whether you take a day trip or a multi-day paddling adventure, the West Branch Susquehanna River Water Trail will give you access to wild lands, scenic beauty and history in this vast region of the Chesapeake watershed.
Do you want to combine water, good food, recreation, open space, history, culture, scenic beauty and geology into one day-trip? The Swatara Creek Water Trail has you covered.