The Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway is designated as an official America’s Byway. For northbound I-95 travelers, the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway begins approximately 31 miles from I-95, exit 19 (US Route 50). Take US Route 50 east to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. From there, the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway is approximately 85 miles long. For southbound I-95 travelers, the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway begins approximately 9.5 miles from I-95, exit 109 (MD Route 279). Take MD Route 279 south to MD Route 213 south to Chesapeake City. From there, the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway is approximately 85 miles long. You should allow about two and a half hours (without stopping) to drive this route or 2-3 days to stop and visit various attractions along the route.
Come closer! Chesapeake Country is small town America at its best! Steeped in early colonial history, crossroad communities, rural farmland, wildlife refuges, and maritime recreation along the Chesapeake Bay, this Byway offers a diversity of nature, history, working landscapes, and scenic vistas. Nowhere along this Byway is the visitor far from the tributaries that feed the Chesapeake Bay, or the Bay itself.
Beginning in 1608, Captain John Smith began his voyage to explore and chart the Bay and its tributaries. This exploration resulted in Smith’s famous 1612 map, which was deemed the first accurate depiction of the Chesapeake and served as the definitive map of the region for nearly a century. In 1631, William Claiborne established a trading post and commerce center on Kent Island, the first English settlement in Maryland, named after Claiborne’s English homeland, the County of Kent. Lord Baltimore claimed ownership of Kent Island through a land grant resulting in a dispute that lasted until 1657 when Claiborne gave up claim to the Island. Many of the towns and attractions throughout the Byway hearken back to Colonial history. Come closer! This Byway is a treasure chest of finds for any history buff!
Come closer and bring your binoculars! The Chesapeake Byway, situated along the Atlantic Fly-Way, offers wildlife refuges and management areas which are major feeding and resting places for the migratory and wintering waterfowl. Tundra Swans, Canada geese, Pintails, Great Blue Herons, Killdeer, Sandpipers, to name a few, along with the endangered Delmarva Fox Squirrel and Southern Bald Eagle have all found habitat in the protected resource areas of the Byway.
Come closer! The lore of the Bay’s bounty can be seen still in operation today. From schooners and shallops, to clippers and bug-eyes, from dead-rises and skipjacks, the traditions of working the waters can be seen from numerous ports of call. Try your hand at soft-crabbing, or fish for Striped Bass also known as Rockfish to most Marylanders. The picturesque rivers, creeks and Bay give the Chesapeake Country National Scenic Byway exceptional outdoor recreation and fun for all. Come closer!
Top Left: © 2000. Mary Means & Associates, Inc..
Right: © September 2005. Bernadette Van Pelt.
Bottom Left: © 1996. Cecil County Tourism.
The National Scenic Byways Program recognizes highways that are outstanding examples of our nationâ€™s beauty, history, culture, and recreational experience by designating them as All-American Roads and National Scenic Byways. The roads being featured were designated by the Secretary of Transportation from nominations submitted by the states and federal land management agencies. These designations provide a compass for people from all over the world to explore America’s treasured open roads.
Content reproduced with permission from the National Scenic Byways Online: www.byways.org