First thoughts of the Chesapeake Bay often bring up images of crabs and oysters. But, as the largest estuary in North America, the Chesapeake Bay has touched and influenced much of the American story – early settlement, commerce, the military, transportation, recreation and more. The Bay and its surrounding 64,000 square mile watershed hold a treasure trove of historic areas, natural wonders and recreational opportunities.
Experience the diversity of the Chesapeake Bay through the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network –
with over 115 sites and trails in the Gateways Network, you can find an incredible variety of activities through which to experience the Chesapeake Bay. Visit a museum, sail on a historic skipjack, paddle a kayak, stroll a maritime community or watch the Bay’s diverse birdlife.
The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network is coordinated by the National Park Service, which also manages about 10 of the Network’s sites. Other Gateways are managed by local, state, and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations.
The Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network includes sites in four states and the District of Columbia, though most sites are clustered around the 200 mile long Bay in Maryland and Virginia. For a Gateways Network map & guide and more information for planning trips, visit the