If you need ideas of things to do in Annapolis, MD, you’ll find no shortage of options. From waterfront dining and shopping to sightseeing and history, this charming colonial town has something for everyone. Here are just a few of the top attractions in Annapolis.
Annapolis is the sailing capital of the United States. Boston is placed right on the Atlantic Ocean, and Providence. It is surrounded by the Providence River and is the only state capital that sits on open water without being right on the ocean. It is located on the Chesapeake Bay, which provides incredible waters for recreational sailing.
Visit in October to see the U.S. Sailboat Show. But you can get on a boat during the summer to enjoy some beautiful bay views. If you have an experience in sailing and have a day to explore, you can sail from Annapolis to Baltimore for a five to seven-hour journey.
Visit the Annapolis Historic District
Besides Annapolis being one of the oldest cities in the United States and once the nation’s capital, this city is brimming with historically significant buildings and landmarks. The city was one of the first to be elevated to a National Historic Landmark District, including top historic attractions like St. Anne’s Church, the William Paca House, and the Maryland State House.
Take guided or self-guided tours of the nation’s founding, architecture, and African-American history, using this route:
Start at the Museum of Historic Annapolis at 99 Main Street for an overview of the district’s history. From here, proceed to Prince George Street to admire Sands House, which was built as early as 1681. Head to explore Pinkney Street, dating back to the 18th century passing through Waterfront Warehouse, Shiplap House of 1715 and Hogshead, a small residential building typical of the era.
Next, you can go and admire the impressive James Brice House at the junction of East Street and proceed on Prince George Street to visit the neighboring William Paca House and Garden. Head west past the Judge John Brice House, and take a right onto Maryland Avenue for a stroll through the Chase-Lloyd House and a tour of the Hammond-Harwood House.
You can visit the Maryland State House by heading back down Maryland Avenue and heading to the State Circle. Pass the Old Treasury Building before heading up East Street to your starting point on Prince George Street.
Learn about African-American History at the Banneker-Douglass Museum
This museum’s permanent exhibit allows you to explore the History of African Americans in Maryland from the arrival of the first slave in 1633. You will get a chance to listen to a speech by Frederick Douglass, learn about Thurgood, and the efforts of Marshall in changing the education system, and see artifacts like Harriet Tubman’s reward poster. This museum also features several changing exhibits that look at various topics, like the art and culture of African tribes and the work of African-American artists.
Additionally, this museum regularly offers special events to introduce temporary exhibits and give visitors a chance to learn more about local and national research, projects, and initiatives related to African-American history.
Visit the Sandy Point State Park
Sandy Point State Park is on the shores of Chesapeake Bay and offers a range of activities for visitors. Families flock here for the mile of sandy beach with lifeguard stations, a bathhouse, food concessions, and beach supplies. Additionally, there is a playground near the beach, picnic areas and a pavilion for those in larger groups. The park facilities have a Marina with boat rentals.
Since the park is on the “Eastern Flyway,” it is on a flight path for many species of birds in migration, which make this a great spot for bird-watching. Finally, there is a nature center and interpretive center if you want to learn more about the local flora and fauna, and kids can register for a junior ranger program each summer.
Head over to Historic London Town and Gardens
The Historic London Town and Gardens is a short drive from the city in Edgewater. This establishment quickly became a crucial trade junction, and within a hundred years, it had grown to rival Annapolis in size and importance.
Today, the town is seen as it was during its 18th-century heyday, featuring costumed interpreters and some of the original and reconstructed buildings. Visitors will get an overview of the area’s history at the exhibits in the visitor center, and they can explore the ground independently or via guided tour.
The building at the center is the William Brown House, built in 1760 as a tavern and later converted into an almshouse. Other highlights like Lord Mayor’s Tenement and the Carpenter’s Shop were reconstructed on the buildings’ original footprint with the help of historical accounts to make them as authentic as possible.
There are also some of Maryland’s nicest gardens in London Town, which feature various areas like a woodland garden, an ornamental garden, and the “Sound and Sensory Garden,” encouraging children to interact with nature.
Tour the Naval Academy
Located right on the Chesapeake Bay, the Naval Academy makes Annapolis the ideal spot for the United States Navy to train its future admirals. When you tour the campus and visit its domed chapel, you get a truly unique experience, especially for the history buffs in your family.
This academy has existed in Annapolis since 1845. Whether you are there for a sporting event, to see the crypt of John Paul Jones, or the flyover at graduation, you will get unmatched history and culture from the moment you step on campus.
Annapolis is the state capital and houses some of Maryland’s best museums and historic sites. This city also has some lovely parks and a lively arts district that hosts regular events during the summer months. Consider these recommendations in your itinerary of the things to do in Annapolis, the next time you visit. You will be guaranteed a good time!