The Birthplace of America Trail

The Birthplace of America Trail  (BoAT) is a multi-use trail that will be the centerpiece of a regional active transportation plan that will connect the Virginia Capital Trail with the Beaches to Bluegrass Trail / South Hampton Roads Trail in Eastern Virginia.  The vision is to be able to Run, Walk, Ride or Roll from the oceanfront at Virginia Beach or the waterfront communities in Fort Monroe & Newport News to the capital steps in Richmond on a trail system free from motorized traffic.  Building this trail will provide connections to major population centers in Hampton Roads, providing recreation, health and wellness opportunities to hundreds of thousands of Virginia residents – many of whom come from historically underserved communities.  The trail will be a hub connecting residential communities, tourism attractions, historical sites, educational institutions, and recreational facilities throughout Eastern Virginia. This regional trail system will be approximately 190 miles when complete. 

The Birthplace of America Trail traces the history of the first settlement of the new world in Jamestown, VA (1607), highlighting the three landings prior to the founding of the first permanent English-speaking colony.    

Three landings and regional trail system

From the trailhead in Jamestown (and the eastern terminus of the Virginia Capital Trail), you cross the James River via ferry into Surry County (Claremont -third landing prior to the establishment of a colony at Jamestown) and travel to Suffolk, VA  (gateway to the Dismal Swamp) and connect to the Beaches to Bluegrass TrailSouth Hampton Roads Trail, which will take you to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and Cape Henry (first landing of the settlers).

Or you can start in Jamestown and travel to our newest National Monument at Fort Monroe or Newport News’s Victory Arch -locations of the second landings of the settlers.  Traveling to Fort Monroe, you will pass the Emancipation Oak at Hampton University.    Traveling to Victory Arch, you pass many attractions including The Mariners Museum  & Christopher Newport University

Instead of heading east,  you can head west along the Virginia Capital Trail.  This trail opens up to the completed 52-mile pathway to Richmond where it meets the East Coast Greenway, which runs from Maine to Florida.

The Birthplace of America Trail is the culmination of a 2-year engineering and cost feasibility study conducted by Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization (HRTPO).  This project was submitted to and approved by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) in 2017. The plan is in place, but the Trail will not happen without advocates to see the trail to its completion.  In 2018, a group of visionaries formed the Tidewater Trails Alliance to advocate for and support the Birthplace of America Trail.  We have incorporated as a not-for-profit organization and are tax-exempt under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Please watch this website and our Facebook page,  Friends of BoAT, for news about this project that will help ensure the safety of runners, walkers, cyclists & skaters across all of Coastal Virginia.  Your financial support is needed. If you would like to donate to support the Trail, please do so below. Your contributions will be tax-deductible. We will acknowledge all contributions received and confirm the tax status of your donation.


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