About Us > For Kids

Smith illustrationCaptain John Smith was quite an adventurer when he explored the Chesapeake Bay. The routes that he traveled and many of the places that he saw 400 years ago are now part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. It is a trail to lots of adventures for all ages, on water and on land.

The more you see and learn about the Chesapeake Bay the more you will want to explore. Begin your explorations right from your computer with the activities found here.

Check this website often, because new things will be added as the trail develops.

Are you ready for some fun?

Become a Junior Ranger for the Chesapeake Bay

Many National Park areas have Junior Park Ranger programs, and now there is one for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Our Junior Ranger program is for ages 6 through 12.

As a Junior Ranger you will learn about

  • explorer Captain John Smith and his voyages on the Chesapeake Bay
  • the American Indians who lived along the Chesapeake Bay
  • what the Chesapeake Bay was like 400 years ago and what it is like today
  • what you can do as a Junior Ranger to help the Chesapeake Bay.

PLUS you earn a special badge to show that you are an official Junior Ranger for the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.  

It’s easy and it’s fun. Here’s how:

  • Download the Junior Ranger Activity Book. (726 KB)
  • Read the instructions in the introduction.
  • Take a “virtual tour” of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. You’ll find all the information you need on this website to become a Junior Ranger for the trail.
  • Complete the activity pages for your age group
  • Send the completed pages and your signed Junior Ranger Pledge to:

Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail
Junior Ranger Program
P.O. Box 374
Yorktown, VA 23690

A park ranger will review your work. If you’ve done a good job in learning about the trail, the ranger will mail you a badge and certify you as an official Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail Junior Ranger.

Ready for more Junior Ranger fun?  

  • Check out WebRangers for National Park Service websites designed especially for kids.
  • Find other National Park Junior Ranger programs at the Ranger ZONE.

Find Clues from the Past

Captain John Smith did not “discover” the Chesapeake Bay region. There were already people living here for thousands of years before the European settlers arrived. These Native Americans didn’t leave written descriptions, but they left many other types of clues to tell us who they were and how they lived. 

This is the stuff that archeologists study. If you enjoy digging in dirt, solving mysteries, and piecing together puzzles, you should check out the National Park Service website Archeology for Kids.

Join Captain Smith’s Adventures

Take a computer trip with Captain John Smith in this interactive adventure from National Geographic.

Chesapeake Fun and Games

Check out Bay Fun for puzzles, games, coloring pages, and other neat stuff about the Chesapeake Bay.

Keep a Journal

Captain John Smith kept a journal—a daily diary—of his travels. That’s how we know about his adventures and what the Chesapeake Bay was like back then. His descriptions and maps are very important, because they show how the Bay and surrounding lands have changed.

As you explore the Chesapeake Bay water trail named for Smith, keep your own journal or scrapbook so you can share stories of your adventures with family and friends.

Explore the Bay

Of course, the real fun comes when you get outside and have your own adventures along the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Here are some places to begin your Chesapeake Bay experiences:

Interactive Content

For Boaters

Boaters Guide

Download the official Boater's Guide.

Download Guide >

Smart Buoys

Smart Buoys

Learn about buoys marking the trail.

Find Out >

Get the App!

Chesapeake Explorer app

Download our FREE mobile app!

Learn More >

My Adventure Planner

Boat Wheel

Create your own custom itenerary.

Get Started >