For over four hundred years, the Chesapeake Bay has lured explorers seeking adventure, wonder, and fun.
Captain John Smith navigated the Chesapeake’s waters in 1608, when he set off for a voyage into the unknown. He was in search of riches and a route to the Pacific. Instead, he discovered America’s largest estuary: a place teeming with fish, oysters, and birds.
Today, these waters are yours to explore.
Set sail across sparkling waves on the Chesapeake’s open waters. Or take a calmer route, paddling upriver along the same swampy shores Captain Smith saw long ago.
Want a truly Chesapeake experience? Catch yourself a delicious dinner of fresh rockfish and blue crabs.
And at the end of a long summer day, cool off with a dip in the Bay at one of its great swimming spots.
Whether fishing, swimming, or boating, there’s so much for you to explore on the water. Create your own adventure today at one of the places and events below.
Safety on the water is everyone's responsibility. Though many of the waterways within the Chesapeake region are suitable for beginning boaters, there is also plenty of broad open water that demands respect. Sections of the rivers can funnel wind and develop nasty, choppy seas. Remember that accidents can happen on any type of water.
Whether you are paddling a kayak or piloting a trawler, it is important to build your boating skills, keep your vessel(s) in good operating condition, and review safety guidelines before every trip.
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.
A holiday spectacular celebration in the B&O Roundhouse devoted to trains of all sizes and shapes, holiday festivities, family fun and activities.Baltimore, MD
Take a one-of-a-kind trek through Winter Land aboard the Western Maryland.Cumberland, MD
Birders of all levels of expertise or experience are welcome and urged to participate in this annual Baltimore Bird Club post-migration bird census in eastern Baltimore County., DE
Survey bird activity at Fort McHenry with the Baltimore Bird Club.Baltimore, MD
Get into the holiday spirit by placing donated items under your favorite tree decorated by local areas businesses and organizations.Natural Bridge, VA
Join Audubon to explore this urban oasis in Southeast Baltimore.Baltimore, MD
Enjoy in-depth discussions of the Stradford region 1.5 million years ago followed by a guided hike on the beach.Stratford, VA
Celebrate the holiday season at George Washington's birthplace with colonial music, costumed interpreters and candlelight.Colonial Beach, VA
A FREE holiday social event paired with Drop in Art for the creative in you and a chance to have your picture taken with Santa.Salisbury, MD
Enjoy the Pocomoke Train Garden and take photos with Santa in Pocomoke City.Pocomoke City, MD
Create your own tree decorations from natural materials like pine cones and acorns.Columbia, PA
Enjoy the annual antique and collectible dolls, trains and toys in festive holiday displays at St. Clement's Island Museum.Coltons Point, MD
Adults and children alike will enjoy the sights and smells of the festive creations displayed at George Washington’s Ferry Farm!Fredericksburg, VA
View a Lighthouse Digest cover exhibit, Flying Santa exhibit, a number of exhibits on children’s holiday stories and more.Piney Point, MD
Learn to identify the waterfowl that winter on the Potomac River and in the swamps and marshes of Caledon.King George, VA
Explore the Old Stone House’s new exhibits and new store!Washington, DC
Pepper can dance, play games, pose for photos and tell stories. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Edgewater, MDEdgewater, MD
Join an interpreter for an adventure through the abundant fossil beds at Chippokes Plantation State Park.Surry, VA
Walk through 2 miles of spectacular lights displays with family and friends.Norfolk, VA
Annual light show along the shore of the Chesapeake Bay at Sandy Point State ParkAnnapolis, MD