Boater’s Guide to the Chesapeake Trail

You can explore the Chesapeake Bay as Captain John Smith did it—by boat. But you’ll have the advantage of an expert guide who has “hindsight.” Let John Page Williams take you on a journey along the waterways traveled by Smith and discover the special places Smith described and how remarkably the same—or different—these places are today. A Boater’s Guide to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is for boaters of all types of vessels and all skill levels. Whether you paddle, sail, or motor, whether you are a novice or a veteran boater, you’ll find the information you need to follow in Smith’s wake along the main stem of the Bay and all the rivers he traveled. Even non-boaters will enjoy John Page Williams’s engaging way of weaving history, geography, and practical information for seeing the Chesapeake Bay in a new way. The Boater’s Guide is also loaded with links to take you to trail access points and resources where you can learn even more. A Boater’s Guide to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is a joint project of the National Park Service, the Chesapeake Conservancy, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

In this first guide to America’s first national water trail, Chesapeake expert John Page Williams suggests itineraries for each area explored by Smith and tells what you need to know for exploring the areas today. The Boater’s Guide is intended for online viewing and downloading. Download the entire document to enjoy all the interactive features designed to help you navigate quickly to specific areas of the Guide. Or download and print individual river sections to take along as you travel the trail. This online publication will be revised periodically as new access points are developed for the Smith trail.

Please contact us if you have suggestions for future editions.

In June 2016, Chesapeake Conservancy and the National Park Service, Chesapeake Bay launched an Online Boater’s Guide. The mobile Boater’s Guide app allows users to click on itineraries at various locations on the map to expand the different areas of explorations and to learn more about each unique region of the Chesapeake.

Click on the picture below to see the mobile version