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.
Now 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.
The Anacostia Water Trail map and guide has information on historic and cultural resources, access sites and other features associated with the Anacostia River. The trail covers a ten mile stretch of the River extending from Bladensburg, Maryland through Washington, DC to the Anacostia’s juncture with the Potomac River, about two miles south of Capitol Hill. Download a copy of the map and guide and learn more about recreational opportunities on the Anacostia River by visiting the Anacostia Watershed Society.
Three marked canoe/kayak trails, totaling over 20 miles are available for paddling. Boats may be launched from designated areas only. Maps of the water trails can be purchased at the visitor center. For more information call 410-228-2677 or TDD/800-735-2258 or visit http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Blackwater/.
The waterproof / tear-proof guide highlights three separate water trails which range from 1 mile to 2.8 miles along Marshy Creek, Prospect Bay, and Cabin Creek. CBEC features extensive marsh and woodland habitat and is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts to view a variety of wildlife. Copies of the water trail map are available at the CBEC visitor center and the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitor Center.
Choptank & Tuckahoe Rivers Water Trail "River Guide" - A web based guide to the water trail with maps, trip planning information, photos and river use guidelines.
Choptank & Tuckahoe Rivers Water Trail interpretive map - A printed interpretive map of features along the water trail. The map may be obtained at the Joppa Wharf visitor center in West Denton.
A 10-mile long, water trail starts at Bogle’s Wharf and circles the entire Eastern Neck National Wildlife Refuge and connects scenic, historic and wetland restoration sites located around the island. The trail consists of seven points of interest which contain interpretive wayside signs easily accessed and viewed by paddlers. All of the stopping points along with navigational markers and other useful information are displayed in a waterproof, tear proof, floating map and guide which is available at the Friends of Eastern Neck Bookstore located at the Visitor Center.
The Janes Island State Park Water Trail map features six different trails, all of which begin and end at the Janes Island Park Marina and boat launch. For more information contact Janes Island State Park at 410-968-1565 or send an e-mail inquiry to Park-Janes-Island@dnr.state.md.us. Copies of this waterproof map can be obtained for $3 at the Janes Island State Park office or by using the online order format.
Free downloadable electronic maps for the York River and for the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers segments, as well as a five map set of waterproof river maps detailing the Lower Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers, are available for purchase from the Mattaponi & Pamunkey Rivers Association.
The Rockbridge Regional Tourism Office Outdoor Recreation Guide provides basic information for trip planning, but does not contain detailed information for canoeing or kayaking the river.
Experienced canoeists can consult published whitewater guides, but these may not be up to date. For those venturing on the Maury or white water for the first time, a trip with an outfitter is advised.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources provides a map that includes all three trails as well as information about local history, saltmarsh ecology, and flora and fauna that you may encounter on the trails. All maps are provided in a pdf format that can be easily printed or viewed on a smart phone. There are also individual maps for the Orange Trail, Yellow Trail and White Trail.
This map and guide provides information on water access sites, facilities, and cultural and historic information along 41.8 miles of the Monocacy Scenic River, from Rocky Ridge on Maryland Rt. 77 to the Potomac River. This colorful guide is printed on waterproof, tear proof paper and was designed primarily for those touring by kayak or canoe. The water trail has been divided into three segments which allows visitors to make their trips shorter or longer according to their time and ability. The Monocacy Scenic River Water Trail map is available by request or download from the Frederick County Division of Parks and recreation. Visit their web site or call 301-600-1646.
Download the Nanticoke River Water Trail Map and Guide Set:
Map Segment 2 – Seaford Canoe and Kayak Launch | Map Segment 3 – Seaford Boat Ramp, Seaford Canoe and Kayak Launch, Nanticoke River Marina (“Blades Marina”) | Map Segment 4 – Phillips Landing | Map Segment 5 – Phillips Landing, Ed Koch Fishing Area, Roger C. Fisher (“Laurel River Park”)
A trail map and guide can be purchased online from Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Headquarters The waterproof paddler's guide traces the scenic waterways of the Occoquan and Potomac rivers in Northern Virginia. The guide comes in two sections- the upper segment of the trail from Bull Run Regional Park to Lake Ridge Community Park and the lower segment from the Occoquan Regional Park to Pohick Bay Regional Park.
Download a free copy of a simple, not-for navigation Patuxent Water Trail map. It lists the major points along the entire water trail as it winds through seven counties in Maryland. For a detailed GPS-friendly map in waterproof or non-waterproof versions, visit the Patuxent Riverkeeper shop.
The State Park offers a variety of paddling experiences that range from an hour or two to all-day excursions with overnight camping options. In addition to the water trail routes, the water trail map/guide also provides information on special features and points of interest on the Point Lookout peninsula. Originally printed in 2003 and reprinted in 2007, the guide features over 7 miles of water trails along three different routes in and around the Park. The map is printed on waterproof, tear-proof paper and is available at the Point Lookout State Park visitor center.
Water Trail Guides and books are available from various organizations and links can be found on the NPS Potomac Heritage website, https://www.nps.gov/pohe/planyourvisit/paddling.htm.
A map and guide for the lower 26 miles of the Susquehanna River Trail is currently available from the Susquehanna River Trail Association. They also provide information about river amenities, river navigation landmarks and camping / day use island location.
Sections of the North Branch Water Trail Map & Guide is available for download through the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. This comprehensive river map and guide is for paddlers and river enthusiasts and provides for a special experience on the North Branch of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake watershed: Section 1 – Sayre to Laceyville | Section 2 – Laceyville to Harding | Section 3 – Harding to Berwick | Section 4 – Berwick to Sunbury
Order the Susquehanna River Water Trail - West Branch map and guide from the Lumber Heritage region. This detailed guide includes safety and route information, along with 16 waterproof maps showing historic rafting points, natural resources and recreational opportunities and is described by paddlers as the "standard for all paddling guides.
Paddling through the trails of Tangier Island offers a unique opportunity to explore the marshes, discover wildlife and view the workings of the Chesapeake Bay watermen. Download a copy of the Tangier History Museum and Interpretive Cultural Center’s Water Trails guide.