America's Scenic Byways

Roots and Tides Byway

47 miles - 1 hour

This Western Shore byway begins in the Maryland state capital, Annapolis, and incorporates the Four Rivers Heritage Area. It is a feast for the senses as you visit friendly Chesapeake Bay communities, and share in their warmth, absorb their culture and explore their deep maritime roots.

Step through one of the several National Park Service's designated Chesapeake Bay Gateways in the area and be introduced to the beauty of a true natural treasure. Come sailing, paddling, bird watching, museum hopping, or just relax on a sandy beach and watch the sun set on another golden Chesapeake Bay day.

During his explorations of the bay region four centuries ago, Captain John Smith noted, "Heaven and earth never agreed better to frame a place for man's habitation." These words have taken on added significance with the designation of the all-water Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, which commemorates the voyages of Captain John Smith and his crew on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries during 1607-1609. Many bayside attractions, including several from Annapolis to Southern Maryland, provide additional information about Smith.

Driving through the picturesque Maryland countryside be sure to see the colonial mansion, Tulip Hill, and the historic West River Quaker Burying Ground. Also plan a visit to St. James's Church where, dating from 1665, the church graveyard contains two of the oldest known tombstones in Maryland.