If you’re not sure where to begin your Chesapeake exploration, or if you’re looking for a new adventure, then try a trail or a tour!
Trails and tours capture some of the best sights the Chesapeake has to offer. Usually themed around history and the environment, trails and tours will lead you on an adventure down rivers, along paths, and through beautiful natural areas.
Are you ready to begin? Trace the voyages of Captain John Smith as you paddle down a water trail.
Or follow the paths of historical figures like George Washington and Francis Scott Key while walking and biking. You can even take a leisurely drive through parks, wildlife refuges, and quaint towns on a tour of the Chesapeake’s most special places.
Whether you’re an avid explorer or discovering the Chesapeake for the first time, you’ll love spending a day on a trail or a tour. Learn more about the Captain John Smith, Star-Spangled Banner, and Potomac Heritage trails below, and then check out all the places and events where you can explore trails and tours.
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 mapped and documented nearly 3,000 miles of the Bay and its rivers. The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail lets you experience and learn about the Chesapeake Bay through the routes and places associated with Smith’s explorations.
The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail is a 560-mile land and water route that tells the story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake Bay region. It connects historic sites in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and commemorates the events leading up to the Battle for Baltimore, the aftermath of which inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem.
Hike, bike, ride and paddle the Potomac Heritage network of trails.
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.
Learn how to use a compass and topographical map and take off on an adventure around the Sweet Air area of Gunpowder Falls.Baldwin, MD
Learn about habitat and behavior of a woefully misunderstood species.Havre de Grace, MD
Explore the banks of Turkey Point by paddling the Elk River.North East, MD
Enjoy a ranger guided paddling tour of the Monocacy River from Pine Cliff Park to Buckeystown.Frederick, MD
Learn more about fossils: where to find them, how to identify them, what they can tell us about the past.Solomons, MD
Bring the family for a paddle on the Rhode River at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.Edgewater, MD
Learn about the vital role the James River has played in Virginia transportation over the past few hundred years, replica batteau and antique auto exhibits and more.Monroe, VA
Skyland chefs create special blackberry-infused dishes combined with a full day of live music, dancing, local crafts, pony rides, and kid’s activities to make it a fun day for the entire…Luray, VA
This event highlights Surry's three world-renowned agricultural products in a two-day festival of arts, crafts, music and food.Surry, VA
At this free family fun celebration, enjoy cultural exhibitors, hands-on activities, lotus tea tasting, and the spectacular lotus and water lilies in full bloom!Washington, DC
Discover two of our native ecosystems with this 1 mile guided hike through First Landing's dune forests and Cypress swamps.Virginia Beach, VA
Put in at Hazard Mill on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and paddle down to the Bentonville, with some great snorkeling along the way.Bentonville, VA
Join the Sierra Club for a Park Ranger-led kayaking outing exclusively for Sierra Club Potomac participants to explore Theodore Roosevelt Island from the water!Washington, DC
Sit in the shade and relax, savor roasted chicken, enjoy dancing & singing or try hands on crafts such as spinning.McLean, VA
Hop on board the train in Cumberland and enjoy the trip to Frostburg where you'll enjoy a picnic and Appalachian music.Cumberland, MD
Enjoy a relaxing tube float on the Shenandoah and learn about the flora and fauna of the region!Bentonville, VA
Search for fossils as you beachcomb parts of the Caledon State Park shore that are not accessible by land.King George, VA
Enjoy an easy paddle on this wide and lazy stretch of river which is part of the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.Poolesville, MD
York River State Park will supply you with a GPS unit and the ranger will help you hike off of the beaten path for a unique discovery.Williamsburg, VA
Discover the abundant wildlife in the Patuxent River wetlands., MD