Mouth of the Bay, Hampton Roads & James River
Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network

Photo from Mouth of the Bay, Hampton Roads & James River

The influence of the Atlantic Ocean seems everpresent at the mouth of the Bay. In the water, salinity levels are high enough to support dolphins and other ocean species. On land, human settlement patterns usually have an Atlantic twist. Ocean access is one reason the famed settlement of Jamestown was established here in 1607. The same access helps make urbanized Hampton Roads an important cargo port and Naval center today.

The James River is the natural connection between Hampton Roads and the broader Chesapeake watershed. Along its 450-mile course, the James shows off a little of everything—extraordinary mountain scenery, grand Colonial plantations, and some of the East Coast’s best rafting whitewater.

Gateways in this region offer a rich array of historical and natural experiences. Water trails lead paddlers through landscapes both rural and urban. Museums and historical parks explore the traditions of colonial America, military history, and maritime life.

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Featured Gateway
Dutch Gap Conservation Area - Chesterfield, VA
Dutch Gap Conservation Area surrounds the location of Henricus, the second successful English settlement in Virginia. It consists of 810 acres of woodlands, wildlife and waterways along the James River, a major Chesapeake Bay tributary. Dutch Gap is home to a blue heron rookery, beavers, muskrats and other wildlife of ...More info

Regional Events
12/18 Holiday Evening in the Planetarium - planetarium show about the Star of Bethlehem, laser music shows
12/31 Noon Year's Eve - daytime family New Year's party
12/26 Chesapeak Bay RAVE Exhibit - photo exhibit of Chesapeak Bay Watershed and its pollution

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