I was visiting my best friend in the Rockville area of Maryland to celebrate her daughters Bat Mitzvah and I had a free day on Sunday. Since Annapolis was only about 1 hr drive away I decided it would make for a perfect day trip. Actually, Annapolis makes a perfect getaway for anyone living or visiting Baltimore, MD, Washington D.C., Philadelphia or Richmond, VA.
Annapolis is a beautiful historic waterfront city that once enjoyed the spotlight as the Capital of the United States. Today, Annapolis it is the Capital of Maryland and the home of the United States Naval Academy. It also has beautiful old streets filled with boutiques, restaurants and cafes as well as incredible views of the Chesapeake Bay. Read along for my list of must do’s on a day trip to charming Annapolis.
1.Get out on the water
Annapolis is considered the sailing Capital of the US therefore you should really consider at least one water activity. There is something for every budget and fitness level. You could charter a private sail boat or try your hand at fishing and crabbing. Or take a leisurely 40 min or 90 min cruise with Watermark cruises. If you rather get some exercise you can always rent a kayak or even learn to sail at one of the sailing schools. Schooner Woodwind has great sunset cruises. And for an inexpensive way to get on the water ride the water taxi.
2.See the historic sites
Naval Academy – Founded in 1845 the U.S. Naval Academy is a prominent institution in Annapolis and a must visit while in town. It is a highly secure area that requires identification to be let in. It almost feels like walking though airport security.
But once inside there are 338 acres of history to explore. Public guided tours are available daily from the visitor center. or you can walk the grounds on your own. It can get crowded and I recommend you arrive early. But this is a must so don’t leave Annapolis without seeing the Naval Academy.
William Paca House – Enjoy touring the Georgian Mansion of one of the four signers of the Declaration of Independence. Beautifully restored with period furniture and meticulously maintained gardens.
Maryland State House – Did you know that no nails were used in its construction and that it is the oldest state capital still in continuous legislative use? It is also the place where George Washington came before Congress to resign his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
St Annes Church – A beautiful Romanesque Catholic Church with gorgeous stained glass windows.
Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial – Located on City Dock this memorial portrays the triumph of the man spirit in very difficult times. As well as national racial reconciliation and healing. A great place to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while talking to locals and people watching.
Banneker-Douglas Museum – For African American heritage and history in Maryland this is the perfect museum to visit.
With the Chesapeake Bay nearby it is no wonder that seafood abounds. You will find plenty of Maryland’s famous crab cakes as well as other types of fresh seafood like fish, shrimp, scallops, oysters and more. A few places you should consider:
For Seafood: Boat Yard Bar and Grill, Carol’s Creek Café, Dock Street Bar and Grill, Sailor Oyster Bar. And my favorite for fresh local oysters and crabs at a great price Wild Country Seafood.
For Coffee: Bean Rush Cafe, Ceremony Coffee and City Dock Coffee.
For breakfast: The Iron Rooster has great southern comfort food. Or you can try a local favorite Miss Shirley’s Cafe.
Don’t forget dessert: Annapolis Ice Cream Factory is the best. With over 36 flavors made fresh in house every day it will be hard to pick just one. Portions are large so come hungry.
Downtown Annapolis has lots of charm and is full of unique boutiques. You can find a wide selection of goods. Lots of preppy sailing chic styles, teas, oils, and plenty of other souvenirs. The best streets to roan for shopping are Maryland Ave and Main Street.
Come in early or stay late and enjoy a beautiful sunrise or sunset from the dock or from the water. Take time to sit and enjoy the site of the start or end of a day.
Where to Stay
A day trip is perfect. But if you are looking to stay overnight or for a weekend, I would suggest either the Lowes Annapolis or the Marriott waterfront hotel. If you prefer a more homey feel there are plenty of B&B’s to chose from.