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.
Enjoy a leisurely guided hike while listening and looking for early spring migrants in various Patuxent Research Refuge habitats; ages 16+Laurel, MD
Take a scenic Wagon Ride through the park and learn about the environment and the park's history.Oxon Hill, MD
Embark on a van tour along the trail to Farmville and learn about some geological features that were exposed by the construction of the South Side Rail Road.Green Bay, VA
Join Arboretum staff, volunteers, and other dog lovers each Thursday for a walk along the Arboretum's best paths for dog walking.Ridgely, MD
Take in the beauty of spring with a wildflower walk at Seneca Creek State Park.Gaithersburg, MD
Come out for a guided pontoon tour and try to spot some of Trap Pond's furry pond residents.Laurel, DE
Wildflower enthusiast and park volunteer, Terry Hoffman, will lead an easy woodland stroll, identifying wildflowers.Lewisberry, PA
Get away from the bright lights of the city and spend an evening looking at the night sky.Williamsburg, VA
Take guided, easy one and a half mile hike through the old growth forest.King George, VA
Using the park's spotting scopes you'll marvel at resident and migrant wildlife, native plants, and historical resourcesCape Charles, VA
Join birder, Phil Powers, on a search for the beautiful marsh birds of Otter Point Creek.Abingdon, MD
Join a ranger for a guided canoe tour on Powell's Creek.Woodbridge, VA
Discover the magnificent stands of Mountain Laurel located along the ridgeline of Catoctin Mountain Park.Thurmont, MD
Takes a relaxing and easy paddle around Prince Edward Lake in search of wildlife and to discover the history of the park.Green Bay, VA
Paddle up some of the smaller branches of the Patuxent River to look for beavers, birds, and flowering wetland plants.Lothian, MD
Come to High Bridge for a tour of one of the four earthen redoubt fortifications built to guard the approaches to the bridge.Green Bay, VA
Enjoy a guided tour of Paradise Creek Nature Park’s 11-acre wetland and Paradise Creek during a guided tour led by local outfitter Adventure Kayak Tours.Portsmouth, VA
Hitch a ride to the shores of the Potomac River and play detective to see which creatures have been active recently.King George, VA
Join the park interpreter for a 2 mile canoe paddle on the James River at James River State Park!Gladstone, VA
Enjoy the beauty of the Shenandoah River and learn about its flora and fauna using single kayaks on a gentle stretch of the river,Bentonville, VA