Looking for a new source of education and history in D.C.? Tourists, bikers, residents, hikers and history lovers, look no further, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail holds 560 miles of American roots. This trail traces back to the War of 1812 and covers all of the Chesapeake Bay area from Virginia, to D.C., to Maryland. There are hundreds of points along the trail, some of which are accessible by the D.C. Metro. With both land and water landmarks, the trail is full of fascinating sites, events, and family friendly activities.
The name of the trail is based on Francis Scott Key’s chronicling of a night in 1814 which became an anthem for our nation. Now, 200 years later, the Star Spangled Banner Trail has officially been opened to the public. The sites along the trail commemorate the events of the years 1812-1814 when the British and Americans again found themselves at war. The Chesapeake Bay region was the “theater of war” that involved the most British Raids. As for Washington, D.C., The British marched in on August 24th, 1814, setting fire to the Capitol building, the Treasury, War, and State Departments, and even the White House. Information about these and other events in D.C. can be found at the D.C trail stopping points, which include the Octagon House and Decatur House, the U.S. Daughters of 1812 Museum, Francis Scott Key Park, and the White House Visitor Center.
The Star Spangled Banner Trail is a work in progress as there are sites along the trail that have not yet been regulated as a tourist or guest attraction. But currently there are hundreds of access points along the trail including places to go biking, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking.
The Patuxent Water Trail and Potomac Tidal Basin are two famous pieces of the trail that offer water tours. The Tidal Basin is well known for paddle boating, located right near the National Mall, while the Patuxent Water Trail is best for scenic canoeing and kayaking. Paddle boats, canoes, and kayaks are available for rental. There are also multiple biking trails along the Chesapeake Bay that travel as far as Pennsylvania.
In addition to the daily outdoor recreational activities, dozens of educational events are held related to the war of 1812. Many events are offered at the National Mall, where you’ll find something for everyone, such as “Children’s Program,” “Memorial Tour” and a dog friendly presentation called “Presidential Pets.” There are also special events held at a popular tourist attraction, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore. The site’s summer schedule includes tours, educational talks, and the flag change, where guests can help a ranger raise or lower the flag.
To find out more about events, notable sites and monuments along the 560 mile trail visit the Star-Spangled Banner Trail website for schedules, directions, and prices.