Planning family vacations is a lot of work. We all look forward to relaxing for a few days and forgetting about the everyday grind. However, unless you know what to do in Annapolis, you’ll probably spend much time discussing what to do instead. Fortunately,
Annapolis is a town of historical significance. Founded in 1649, Annapolis is the home of the US Naval Academy and the country’s oldest operating state capitol building. Many things to do in Annapolis, MD, focus on history, the Navy, and maritime culture.
Historical things to do in Annapolis, MD
Because Annapolis is a town with historic significance, many of the things to do in Annapolis showcase its colonial character and role in the Revolutionary War. And there’s plenty of variety to suit any age group.
Historic London Town
Located just outside Annapolis, the Historic London Town attraction is a historic area from the Colonial period. Here, you can explore the gardens, see a colonial home, and learn about colonial life. You’ll even see people dressed up in period costumes giving demonstrations. Kid and pet-friendly.
Open Weds-Sun, 10-4. Admission is $0-$11. Parking on site.
Maryland State House
Completed in 1779, the Maryland State House is America’s oldest continuously operating legislative building. It’s also the building where the Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Revolutionary War and the first US capitol. Visitors can enjoy a self-guided tour and appreciate the building’s architecture and history.
Open daily, 8:30-5, it’s one of the things to do on the weekends. Free. Parking in local lots or on the street.
Black History Month has never been cooler.
One of the best things to do in Annapolis is explore the Banneker-Douglass Museum. Named after Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, the museum focuses on Maryland’s Black history. In particular, Banneker was a Black inventor and naturalist from the late colonial and early American period. Douglass was a literary genius who spoke of freedom for everyone.
The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday 10-4. Closed on federal holidays. Free unless you want a guided tour (booked in advance). Park on the street or use the Naval Academy Stadium lot.
Fun things to do in Annapolis
We get it. Most people want to do more than visit a museum. Explore Annapolis’ maritime roots for fun in the sun or relaxation. You can check out the latest yachts, take in the sights, go fishing, or enjoy the park.
Visit Quiet Waters Park
On the outskirts of Annapolis, you’ll find Quiet Waters Park. At nearly 400 acres, this is a major gathering spot for area residents and tourists alike. If you’re visiting with Fido, there’s a dog park where he can go off-leash for a while. During the summer, don’t miss the evening concert series for a budget-friendly treat.
Want to enjoy the outdoors? This is one of the best things to do in Annapolis. Quiet Waters Park doesn’t disappoint, with several trails, playgrounds, beaches, and even a boat launch. You don’t even have to leave the park for lunch because there are several picnic spots.
The park is open daily from 7 a.m. until dusk. $6 per car. Parking on-site.
Chesapeake Children’s Museum
If you have kids, finding things to do in Annapolis might seem challenging. After all, kids have lots of energy and don’t always enjoy “adult stuff.” Luckily, the Chesapeake Children’s Museum can keep your children busy for hours. While they’re playing and enjoying the exhibits, visitors will learn about the Chesapeake Bay, including its unique ecosystem.
There are both indoor and outdoor activities available. And, if you plan ahead, there are plenty of family-friendly events at the museum, mostly on weekends.
Open daily, from 10-5. Cost: $8 per person.
Learn to Sail
With Annapolis’s naval and maritime flavor, it’s unsurprising that a fun thing to do in Annapolis is learn to sail. People have used sails to power boats for thousands of years, and America even won her independence using sailboats!
Although sailboats are less common, you can still get in the spirit of John Paul Jones. Annapolis Sailing School offers an introduction to sailing. This is a two-hour course where you’ll learn the basics of sailing with an instructor. You can even get some hands-on experience.
Of course, the bragging rights and pictures are awesome.
Weekends during the summer. Price: $99 per person, $165 for a couple.
Unique things to do in Annapolis
With the unique mix of culture, history, and government, Annapolis provides an unforgettable experience. Try these sightseeing opportunities when you’re bored of museums and outdoor adventures.
Visit the Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is one of the most significant locations in Annapolis. As part of its outreach to the public, the Navy opens its doors to visitors through guided tours. Walk across campus with a guide or get driven around in an electric tour vehicle. You’ll learn the Navy’s history, watch Midshipmen in formation, and learn about naval history.
Besides the regular buildings, you can see the chapel unless services are in session. As part of a chapel tour, view the tomb of John Paul Jones, the father of the US Navy. Check-in at the visitor center to view exhibits and sign up for tours.
Hours: 9-5, 7 days per week. Cost: varies based on tour. Parking is offsite in downtown facilities or on the street.
Spend Time at Ego Alley
One of the best free things to do in Annapolis is visit the city dock. One section of the dock is called Ego Alley because that’s where you’ll find the fancy boats and yachts. Visitors and residents love to watch the boats go by, and it’s always open. Plus, you can enjoy some Maryland crabcakes or other seafood at one of the restaurants.
Cost: free. Parking in municipal or private facilities.
As you can see, there are lots of things to do in Annapolis, MD. Some are outdoors, while others are better for a rainy day. No matter what activities you choose, we hope you enjoy your stay.
What is the biggest attraction in Annapolis?
That depends. If you’re a history buff, the statehouse is a must-see. But military enthusiasts can’t leave without touring the Naval Academy.
Is there camping available in Annapolis?
Due to the heavy Naval presence, all camping close to the city is restricted to Defense personnel. The closest campground is 30 miles away.
Is Annapolis expensive to visit?
Not really. You can spend a lot of money on activities, but most attractions are free or inexpensive. For instance, most museums are less than $10 per person, and the Statehouse is free.