About Us

Statue of Captain John Smith

The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is America’s first water-based national historic trail. It consists of the combined routes of Smith’s historic voyages on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in 1607-1609. Designated by Congress in December 2006, the trail stretches approximately 3,000 miles up and down the Bay and along tributaries in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.

The trail is administered by the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office, which also administers the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network. The NPS Chesapeake Bay Office co-administers the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and is a federal partner in the Chesapeake Bay Program. Located with other Chesapeake Bay Program partners in Annapolis, MD, the NPS Chesapeake Bay Office leads National Park Service efforts

  • to connect people with the special places and stories of the Chesapeake,
  • to help preserve those special places and stories, and
  • to foster stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay.

Who We Are

What We Do

We coordinate the many partnerships that are needed to develop and sustain a national historic trail. By law we administer the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail in coordination with the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network and the Chesapeake Bay Program. We also work closely with other federal agencies, with state and local agencies, Native American communities, non-governmental organizations, and many other partners. Learn more about our trail partners.

We help visitors like you learn how to access and enjoy the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. And we assist historical, recreational, and natural sites along the trail in providing you with meaningful Chesapeake Bay experiences.

Join the Adventure

You can learn more about the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail and join the adventure:

Interactive Content

For Boaters

Boaters Guide

Download the official Boater's Guide.

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Smart Buoys

Smart Buoys

Learn about buoys marking the trail.

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Get the App!

Chesapeake Explorer app

Download our FREE mobile app!

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My Adventure Planner

Boat Wheel

Create your own custom itenerary.

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