Getting to Annapolis from Baltimore!
Annapolis is an easy 30-45min drive from Baltimore. And it is beautiful all year round. Transformative historical icons such as Jefferson, Franklin, and Washington have wandered Annapolis' brick streets, frequenting many of the still-standing taverns and buildings in town. Home to the county's oldest state house in continuous use (once the U.S.'s capitol building), Annapolis boasts a rich legacy dating back to America's inception. Streets lined with 18th-century homes, historic buildings-turned-museums, and centuries-old taverns and pubs make Annapolis a history buff's paradise.
Some Day Trips Ideas
- Visitors Center (26 West St, Annapolis, MD 21401) has lots of info about events and things to do. Download the Walking Tour app to get an idea of the historic sites and tours.
- Join a tour by brick-lined streets or Bay for a fascinating history lesson.
- Close out the day with dinner at a historic building on Maryland Avenue, State Circle or City Dock.
- Check out Historic Annapolis, a foundation that oversees some of the city's oldest and most historic sites. Stop by the United States Naval Academy (valid ID is required), where you can take a guided tour of this impressive institution, and leave time to poke around the world-class USNA Museum for an education on our Navy's storied history. Have a bite to eat on the Academy grounds at Drydock Restaurant or The Alley
- Wander down historic Maryland Avenue for a quick tour through the Maryland State House.
- Join a guided history tour or a water tour watching the sun set before stopping for dinner at Reynolds or Middleton's Tavern, well-known hangouts of our founding fathers.
- Visit Historic London Town and Gardens and a drive through the Annapolis Countryside, checking out the historic areas dotting the south of Anne Arundel County.
- Download our Driving Tour app to discover all the hidden, historic secrets. Stop for lunch at a seafood restaurant for a traditional taste of the Chesapeake Bay before heading home.
- Sample the famed Chesapeake flavors at one of our many seafood restaurants. Walk along the harbor checking out the boats before grabbing some ice cream.
- Check out the Annapolis Maritime Museum for an in-depth lesson on the Chesapeake Bay and its traditions.
- Have lunch back in Annapolis before getting on the water for a water tour, or, hang out at Ego Alley in Downtown, watching boats of all kinds float in and out of the harbor.
- Try some more Chesapeake flavor at the restaurants on City Dock
- Head over to the United States Naval Academy (valid ID is required) for a lesson in naval history, wander the grounds checking out the USNA Museum and the Armel-Leftwich Visitors Center. Before heading home, visit Historic Annapolis and the many centuries-old buildings that are open to visitors, and were once home to some of the Chesapeake's most influential residents.
Top Ten Things to Do In Annapolis
1. Tour the U.S. Naval Academy
The Naval Academy, situated where the Severn River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, has been preparing officers of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps since 1845. Today, a mix of long-standing traditions and state-of-the-art professional training converge here. Glimpse monuments commemorating navy heroism, including the final resting place of Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones. Take a guided tour that brings you into the very dormitory where midshipmen spend four years. Visit the Naval Academy Museum, with two floors’ worth of world-class exhibits covering the history of the Naval Academy and the U.S. Navy. Catch the excitement of one of 50-plus Navy Men’s and Women’s sporting events throughout the year: Navy Football, Lacrosse, Hockey, Baseball, Water Polo, and much more. Visit the Naval Academy section of our website for everything you need to know about your next visit to this proud Annapolis institution.
2. Get out on the Water
Annapolis is often referred to as the Sailing Capital of the World. Surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, four rivers, and more than 400 miles of shoreline and infused with an enthusiastic sailing community, it’s no wonder. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the waterways of the region, regardless of your sailing experience. Learn to sail at a local sailing school. Enjoy a cruise on one of the area’s tour boats: Choose from a historical tour, sunset cruise, pirate ship, or even an overnight ‘boat and breakfast’. That’s not all. Charter a fishing boat in one of the county’s maritime villages; rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard (the latest water sports craze!); or steer an electric boat. Or, take the Water Taxi from one popular neighborhood in Annapolis to the next. Check out our On the Water section for comprehensive coverage on how to enjoy the waterways in and around Annapolis.
3. Feast on the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay
A visit to Annapolis & the Chesapeake Bay region is not complete without a taste of fresh, local seafood straight from the Bay. Whether you’re a pro at picking steamed crabs smothered with spicy Old Bay or don’t know the claw from the lump meat, a waterfront patio around town is the place to share this local tradition with friends and family. You’ll find plenty of other fresh, seasonal seafood on area menus as well. Browse our complete list of seafood restaurants by region.
4. Discover the area’s rich and diverse history
Walking the streets or gliding through waterways in and around Annapolis, you trace the steps of colonial, maritime, and African American history dating back more than 300 years. Historic sites also reveal this history. The Maryland State House, home of the Maryland General Assembly, is the oldest state house in continuous legislative use and the only one to have served as the nation’s capital. Annapolis is also home to the Banneker-Douglass Museum, the state’s official museum of African American heritage, which tells the story of African Americans coming to Annapolis as slaves, then later working as laborers, watermen, tradesmen, and boat builders. Overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, the Annapolis Maritime Museum demonstrates the area’s rich maritime heritage and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay. And there’s so much more. To experience our history, take a guided or independent walking tour (stop in the Visitors Center for maps and information), download one of Mobile Apps for self-guided history tours of Annapolis and Southern Anne Arundel County, or visit the History & Heritage section of our website.
5. Explore one of the area’s scenic parks and other natural landmarks
Over 87 miles of trails and hundreds of miles of shoreline span the county, waiting to be discovered on foot, bike, or boat. Special landmarks blend nature and culture. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), where scientists conduct world-class research on the Chesapeake Bay and other global coastlines, doubles as a public nature and cultural center. Explore its 2,650 acres on the Western shore of the Chesapeake Bay; watch for interpretive signs that demonstrate how Native Americans once used the land. Another must-see is Historic London Town and Gardens. On the South River in Edgewater, it combines history, archaeology, and horticulture. Walk in a house from 1760, glimpse an archaeological investigation in search of the "lost town" of London, roam an eight-acre Woodland Garden, and more. Find out more about outdoor nature and cultural activities here.
6. Shop ‘til you drop
If you like to shop, you’ll love Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. A multitude of fantastic retailers cater to every age, gender, and style. You’ll also find distinct types of shopping districts. For one-of-a-kind boutiques that offer products you won’t find anywhere else, head to Downtown Annapolis. You’ll find big-name retailers, specialty shops, and nationally known restaurants at Westfield Annapolis Mall. For the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in Maryland, featuring more than 200 stores showcasing the best names in fashion, go to Arundel Mills Mall. The Towne Centre offers high-end shopping and fun food options with a neighborhood feel.
7. Enjoy a fun local festival or event
You’ll get a real sense of Annapolis’ fun and spirited personality when you attend one of scores of local festivals and events that occur throughout the year. First Sunday Arts Festival is THE place to be every first Sunday of the month, May through October. This free street festival-slash-art market-slash arts and crafts fair offers amazing artistry, live performances, great food, and more. Some quirky local events you won’t find anywhere else include the Tug of War, literally the longest tug of war across any body of water (Eastport vs. Downtown Annapolis), and the spring rite of passage, Sock Burning, a tradition picked up from sailors of yore who shed and burned their socks come springtime. The Annapolis Film Festival, one of the biggest crab feasts in the world, a phenomenal St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and so much more flesh out our annual calendar of festivals and events.
8. Experience the Annapolis Countryside
Downtown Annapolis routinely makes it onto national and even global travel guides. But the Annapolis Countryside, just minutes from the center of Annapolis, is not to be overlooked. Scenic bypasses take you to authentic maritime villages, where some fishermen still ply the waters as their ancestors did. History and heritage sites also shed light on the ways of the watermen throughout past decades. It’s very quaint and quiet out here, but you can find luxury too: a modern, eco-friendly waterfront resort and marina is the perfect spot for an overnight stay. Learn more about the Annapolis Countryside.
9. Have a ball and try your luck in the Annapolis-Baltimore region
It’s like a mini-city centered entirely around entertainment for fun-seekers of all ages. The Arundel Mills District boasts Arundel Mills Mall, the biggest retail mall in the state. Like the looks of Coach bags? Saks Fifth Avenue designer wear? Here, you’ll find these and other brand-name factory stores. In the same complex is Arundel Mills’ Maryland Live! Casino, a $500 million, 300,000-square-foot, world-class casino with Las Vegas-style slot machines, traditional poker tables, plus nationally acclaimed restaurants and a 500-seat live-entertainment venue, Rams Head Center Stage. For family fun, head to Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, where guests enjoy a ‘royal feast’ and a rousing display of heroic knights jousting atop live horses. Or, relax at the Cinemark Egyptian 24 and XD Movies, with state-of-the-art sound system and stadium seating. Find everything you need to know about the Arundel-Baltimore Region.
10. Pay a visit to these favorite ‘must-see’ spots around town
Some, like Ego Alley—where City Dock meets the water’s edge in Downtown Annapolis and pleasure boaters gather in the warm weather—are in the center of town. Others, like the Thomas Shoal Lighthouse, are tucked out of the way. Boats departing from the Annapolis Maritime Museum make the one-and-a-half-mile trek to the 1875 lighthouse at the mouth of the South River, where guided tours await. Still other sites you may have heard about, but until you explore them you can’t appreciate their beauty, like the garden at the William Paca House. This 18th-century pleasure garden, an oasis in the heart of Annapolis, is the only one of its kind in the state. Browse through our website to learn more about the special attractions in and around Annapolis you’ll find on your next visit to the State Capital.