Just 30 miles outside of D.C., Annapolis sits on the Severn River. Home to the US Naval Academy, it’s a quaint city, perfect for water-lovers. There’s so much to see and do while visiting Annapolis. You’ll be swept into the energy of the city and captivated by its beautiful views. Read on to prepare for your Annapolis visit.
Annapolis Historic District
Fifty years ago, Annapolis became one of the first cities to be named a National Historic Landmark District. The area encompasses several historic sites, such as the Maryland State House, the Historic Annapolis Museum, and the William Paca House and Garden. Taking a self-guided walking tour of the Historic District is an easy way to see all of the sites. Use this map as a guide when planning your tour. You could also opt for a guided tour of the area.
Maryland State House
One of the biggest attractions in the Annapolis Historic District is the Maryland State House. Dating back to 1775, the State House is the oldest U.S. state capitol (in continuous use) in the country. It’s also the only state capitol to have ever served as the country’s capital. Tours of the State House take you through the many rooms, such as the 18th Century State House, the Old Senate Chamber, the House of Delegates Chamber, and the Archives Room. Until in-person tours can resume, there is a virtual tour available on the website.
U.S. Naval Academy Museum
The U.S. Naval Academy Museum is a public maritime museum in Annapolis covering over 12,000 square feet. It began in 1845 as the Naval School Lyceum and has since transformed into a modern museum at Preble Hall. The goal of the museum is to educate students in the Naval Academy — as well as the general public — about the Navy’s history. The museum holds a wide array of exhibits, including artwork, artifacts, flags, uniforms, books, and photos. Touring the museum is free and is a great way to spend a few hours in Annapolis.
William Paca House and Garden
William Paca was one of Maryland’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the state’s third governor. In the 1760s, Paca built this five-part mansion, where he lived with his wife and children. The 10- acre lot is lush with gardens and gorgeous artwork. It was recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1971 and has been carefully preserved. A tour of the home will take you through the many rooms, which are full of upper-class furnishings and artwork. The beautiful two-acre garden has been preserved to match its original condition. You can enjoy the heirloom plants, greenery, and fish-shaped pond. The garden is a popular place for weddings and events and is a gorgeous place to relax and explore.
Sandy Point State Park
Located on the Chesapeake Bay, Sandy Point State Park is a public recreation area known for its beach. Fishing and boating are permitted year-round, while summer brings excellent swimming conditions. A day (or even a weekend) at Sandy Point is fun-filled and active. Choose from canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and picnicking — or just do them all! There are cabins and lodges available for rental within the park, but you could also pitch a tent under the stars. Sandy Point is the perfect place for families who want to enjoy the outdoors and soak in all that beautiful Annapolis has to offer.
Chesapeake Bay Sailing
Touring the Chesapeake Bay by boat is one of the best ways to enjoy the river views. There are many touring companies that lead excursions. Take a historical tour, which will show you sights like the US Naval Academy and Annapolis Harbor. Beer lovers enjoy the Beer Tasting Tuesdays sail, where you can sample brews from Mid-Atlantic breweries as you take in the scenic views.
Quiet Waters Park
Looking for an outdoor space with something for everyone? Located between the South River and Harness Creek, Quiet Waters Park has 340 acres of public parkland. Hike through the trails, walk or bike along the paved path, and enjoy the several scenic views. There are playgrounds for children (and dogs), as well as several dog parks. The park’s mini marina offers kayak, canoe, paddleboat, rowboat, and bicycle rentals. The perfect day at Quiet Waters could involve any of these activities — followed by a picnic in the park, of course!
The Hammond-Harwood House was commissioned by tobacco planter Matthias Hammond in the late 1770s. Today, it remains true to its original form and is a perfect example of late Colonial architecture. Tour the beautiful rooms, which feature fascinating architectural details, original furniture, and artwork by notable artists from the era. The home also boasts robust gardens. Choose from the 30-minute and 60-minute tours of the main house as well as the gardens. You could also tour the exhibitions, which rotate and feature historical information and artifacts about the house’s past.
Learn to Sail in Annapolis
In Annapolis, there is no shortage of sailing schools since Annapolis is America's Sailing Capital. Two of our favorites are 1) Annapolis Sailing School founded in 1959 and considered to be the first sailing school for adults in the United States 2) Sailtime Annapolis as a national subscription membership sailing club also offers sailing lessons located in Eastport. The sailing lessons at both outfits are ASA (American Sailing Association) certified and will help you learn the basics of sailing. With Sailtime you are able to take it one step further if you wish to gain access to a sailing fleet without forking over money to buy a boat. Sailtime Annapolis offers a fleet of Beneteau's while Annapolis sailing School has access to Rainbow 24's.
St. Anne’s Church
Located in the center of Church Circle, St. Anne’s Church was built in 1704 and then rebuilt after a fire in 1858. This extensive church features 24 stained glass windows, many of which are 100 years old, and one of which was designed by Tiffany Glass. There’s also a beautiful mosaic in front of the nave made from imported Venetian gold. As you tour the church, take note of the Romanesque Revival architecture. You may even wish to explore the archives located in the Parish House.
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