Help your students relive John Smith's adventures
John Smith was a man of legendary curiosity. While many of his fellow colonists cowered behind a wooden stockade at Jamestown, Smith sailed the James River, trading with the Algonquian Indians. He learned their language and documented their customs. Scarcely a year after his arrival, Smith led two epic explorations of the Chesapeake Bay, producing a map of remarkable accuracy.
Let Smith inspire curiosity in your students. His swashbuckling stories make history come alive. His awe and reverence for the unspoiled Chesapeake teach the value of our waterways and wetlands.
The information on this Web site correlates most directly to Virginia's Standards of Learning for Virginia Studies (VS.1-3) and Science (4.5, 4.8). Use the site in your classroom or arrange a field trip to one of the historic sites, parks or museums along Capt. John Smith's Trail. Many of these facilities offer hands-on opportunities, programs and guided tours for school groups. Contact information for each site is available by clicking on the site numbers along the interactive trail map.
Find information on other useful websites that contain additional educational resources related to John Smith's adventures -- view list
Upper Oxbow Loop
The rocky Fall Line marks the border of Virginia's Piedmont and Coastal Plain geographic regions. The Falls of the James stopped John Smith and Christopher Newport from traveling farther upriver, and eventually spawned Richmond itself. -- read more
Middle Cypress Loop
Bald eagles, herons, cormorants and a variety of songbirds nest along this stretch of the James River. Stands of cypress grow along the water's edge, and tributary creeks fan into wide marshes. -- read more
Lower Oyster Loop
Oyster reefs no longer project above the waves, but echoes of the Chesapeake John Smith explored still await along the lower James. Never a true island, Jamestown Island remains hemmed in by forest and marsh, connected to the mainland by only a narrow spit of land. -- read more
Order the Trail Maps
Capt. John Smith's Trail is a 40-site water trail and auto tour for modern explorers. Each set of three travel maps features historic descriptions and information for the modern traveler, including where to hike, camp and launch your boat.
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