Annapolis is a laidback place of narrow cobblestone streets, 18th-century brick buildings and colonial mansions and a proud naval heritage. Although now home to many high-tech industries, the city has retained its historic charm.
Situated on the south bank of the Severn River, the state capital of Maryland has been the center of marine activities for years. It’s a port and the site of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Annapolis was founded in 1649 by Puritan settlers, and renamed Annapolis in 1694 after Princess Anne of Denmark and Norway. For nine months between 1783 and 1784 it served as the nation’s first peacetime capital after the American Revolutionary War.
Make City Dock your first port of call. It’s the heart of the city’s waterfront. Walk along the promenade to view the boats, peruse the shops, and dine in the restaurants and bars. While there, walk on the dock to see the memorial of Kunta Kinte’s arrival from Africa in 1767. His story was told in Alex Haley’s novel Roots.
The U.S. Naval Academy was founded here in 1845. Within its walls future naval officers undergo four years of training. Take a guided tour of the grounds where you’ll learn about the history of the Academy and its traditions. Visit the U.S. Naval Academy History Museum and view medals, swords and multimedia presentations that chart the history of sea power and the development of the U.S. Navy.
Gain further insights into Annapolis’s history at Maryland State House, the oldest state house in the United States that’s still in legislative use. Stop by Chase-Lloyd House, the Georgian brick mansion that was constructed for Samuel Chase, one of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence.
Annapolis is the gateway to Chesapeake Bay, and its shoreline is dotted with marinas. Get out on the water with a day cruise or charter your own boat. You can also rent canoes, kayaks and pedal boats. If you don’t want to get on the water you can enjoy it from dry land by watching one of the sailing races. From the end of April to early September there are sailboat races every Wednesday night. More than 150 boats sail around several markers in the bay before heading for the finish in front of the Annapolis Yacht Club.
Annapolis is less than an hour’s drive from Washington D.C. and is a popular daytrip destination for visitors to the nation’s capital.