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.
Celebrate National Puppy Day by bringing your four legged friend along on this 3 mile hike.Surry, VA
An opportunity to get an up close and personal view of these awesome birds in their natural habitat at Caledon State Park.King George, VA
Hike along the river with Dutch Gap Conservation Area guides for an adventurous three miles.Petersburg, VA
Celebrate Maryland’s 385th anniversary with ceremony, pageantry, speeches, and free admission to living history and museum exhibits.St. Marys City, MD
Learn about the magical plant offerings during this season that support health and well-being.Norfolk, VA
Begin your visit to the National Cherry Blossom Festival at the Tidal Basin Welcome Area which will offer information, food, souvenirs and more.Washington, DC
This clinic is primarily geared toward people looking to switch to a tarp as their primary backpacking/camping shelter, or perhaps just learn a new skill.Chesterfield, VA
Before you hit the water, learn and practice the skills needed to fish in fresh water.Williamsburg, VA
Explore amphibian life cycles and also see aquatic invertebrates up close as you hike below High Bridge and visit the park's abundant vernal pools.Green Bay, VA
Enjoy a scenic spring ride on the rails from Cumberland to Frostburg.Cumberland, MD
join Annapolis Maritime Museum’s annual oyster roast and sock burning.Annapolis, MD
Enjoy a 3/4 hour presentation about Eastern Bluebirds, then hike to a nest box in the park.Gaithersburg, MD
Explore the rich archaeological resources that have been identified throughout the Park over the past 112 years!Owings Mills, MD
Celebrate spring on the right foot and join the Arlington House Victorian Dance Society for an afternoon of dance.Fort Washington, MD
Bring your furry friend for a two-hour stroll among the cherry blossoms!Washington, DC
Join Master Naturalist Mike Quinlan for a leisurely hike through the Sanctuary to see and hear the signs of spring.Lothian, MD
Join park staff for a night in the woods, exploring the sounds of our early spring frogs and toads - including the Spring Peeper!Edgemere, MD
Bring your flashlight for a guided evening stroll beneath the blossoms.Washington, DC
Enjoy a tour of Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area’s aviary during morning feeding time, followed by a short hike.Owings Mills, MD
Join the Sierra Club for a moderate but brisk-paced hike--8 miles through multiple parks and urban neighborhoods.Washington, DC