Top 20 Things to Do in Annapolis (Don't Forget the Flower!)
If you're looking for things to do in Annapolis, you won't be disappointed. This charming town is full of historical landmarks, great Maryland seafood, and lovely views. It's also a city rich in history, architecture, art, and culture. Likewise, it's home to some of Maryland's most amazing beaches, boating, and parks. From exploring vibrant downtown Annapolis and the visitor center to Ego Ally and Hogshead, there are many places to explore!
A Short History of Annapolis
Before we dive into the top things to do in Annapolis, let's take a quick history lesson. Annapolis is the state capital of Maryland and one of the oldest cities in the United States. It was founded in 1649 by Lord Baltimore and named after his wife, Anne Arundel.
Way back in the era of powdered wigs and paying taxes to a monarchy an ocean away, Annapolis was known as the "Athens of America." It was the cultural and intellectual heartbeat of the colonies, and Annapolis' thriving port brought great wealth to the city. As a result, many of the city's stunning 18th-century mansions are still standing and open to the public.
Annapolis is also deep with American History. George Washington resigned as General of the Continental Army in the same State House where the Governor keeps office today. Annapolis is also where The Treaty of Paris was signed, ending the Revolutionary War.
Today, Annapolis' historical sites are a major tourist draw, but the city is also home to a thriving arts community, fantastic beaches and boating, sprawling public parks, and pubs and restaurants with some of the best seafood in the world. They call it a "Maryland" crab cake for a reason!
The Top 20 Things To Do In Annapolis MD
Cue the highlight reel. It's time for the Top 15 Best Things To Do In Annapolis! But wait, there's one place you need to visit first...
Visit Panacea Wellness Dispensary
No trip to Annapolis would be complete without a visit to Panacea Wellness Dispensary (it would also be way less fun). So whether you visit JPJ's crypt, watch the Midshipmen march, or check out the ego alley boat parade, Panacea's award-winning brands can elevate the experience.
For the smoker, there are flower and concentrates from Nature's Heritage. If edibles are your thing, try the all-natural fruit chews from Betty's Eddies or soft-baked Bubby's Baked brownies. Thirsty from walking the Discovery Trail? Get HIGHdrated with Panacea's full-spectrum Vibrations cannabis drink mixes.
Once you've got your goodies, enjoy all that Annapolis, Maryland, has to offer!
United States Naval Academy
Known to insiders as "the Yard," the entire campus is a National Landmark with many amazing historic sites, buildings, and monuments. Take a guided tour of the stunning campus to ensure you don't miss anything. The "noon meal formation" is a must-see, as is the US Naval Academy Museum. The Naval Academy is also known for music, and the Naval Academy Band regularly gets down for the public.
Visitors refer to "Historic Annapolis" as the cluster of restaurants, galleries and shops in the converted row houses on Main Street. Chick & Ruth's and the boutique Lilac Bijoux are favorites. The historic area also includes most of downtown and the harbor, where you can visit the Hammond-Harwood House and the Banneker-Douglass Museum.
As Maryland's official museum of African American heritage, the Banneker-Douglass Museum serves to document and teach African American history and culture. Its exhibitions, programs, and projects improve the understanding and appreciation of America's cultural diversity.
The Banneker-Douglass Museum is named after Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass, who fought against slavery in the 19th century. This museum tells their stories and the stories of other African Americans who made significant contributions to Maryland and the nation.
Quiet Waters Park
Time to stretch those legs! Quiet Waters Park is 340 acres of everything from paved paths perfect for jogging or biking to stunning formal gardens. Beautiful sculptures and two art galleries will feed that creative soul. Visit in the sweet summertime, and there are outdoor concerts, canoes, and kayaks to rent.
This narrow waterway drains out into Spa Creek. In case you were wondering, it's named "Ego Alley" for a good reason. On evenings and weekends, a parade of yachts strut through the public waterway, preening. The benches on Dock Street are the spot to watch it all — boats and people. And if it's summer, grab an ice cream cone from Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory.
This self-proclaimed "jewel of Annapolis" is a must-see. A National Historic Landmark, the house was built in 1774 and was the final work of architect William Buckland. With its carved doorway entrance, formal rooms, and elegant scale, the building blends the artistry of the finest Anglo-Palladian architecture with American sensibility.
Take the tour, and learn about the history of the people who lived there, the architecture, and the art collection.
Maryland State House
It's all about the history here. The Maryland State House is the oldest US state capitol in continuous legislative use, dating to 1772. It houses both the Maryland General Assembly and the Governor's offices.
In 1783 and 1784, it was the capitol building of the United States Congress of the Confederation. It is also the site for Ratification Day, which ended the American Revolutionary War.
William Paca House & Garden
Once known as Carvel Hall, the William Paca House is an 18th-century Georgian mansion designed by William Paca himself. Paca was a signatory of the Declaration of Independence and a three-term Governor of Maryland. The house was built between 1763 and 1765 and features a 2-acre garden.
Sandy Point State Park
Sandy Point's the perfect spot for fun in the sun. The 786-acre paradise on the northwestern shore of the Chesapeake Bay has it all. Swim, fish, crab, or picnic until sunset seven days a week.
In 1952 when Sandy Point State Park opened, it was the only state park that African Americans were allowed to visit. However, while the park was integrated, the public facilities were not. Following the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the NAACP filed suit, and the US Supreme Court ordered the integration of the park in 1955.
Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse
In 1824 Congress appropriated $6,500 for its construction, but it wasn't lit until November 1875. A hundred years later, in 1975, the lighthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and still operates today as an aid to navigation.
Climb the stairs to the top for a breathtaking view of the Bay Bridge and Annapolis harbor. On a clear day, you can even see the Washington Monument!
Annapolis Boat Tours
Annapolis has 533 miles of shoreline, and a boat tour is one of the best ways to see it. Cruise past popular landmarks like the US Naval Academy, Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
Boat tours typically run from March to the end of October.
Guardians of the First Amendment Memorial
This memorial affirms our First Amendment. Its five granite pillars honor Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith, and Wendi Winters, five employees of the Capital Gazette killed in a mass shooting in 2018. It honors
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
When you hear "Smithsonian," most think of the museums in Washington, DC. But the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center is just outside Annapolis. The Center is a 2,650-acre area of wetlands, forests, marshes, and 15 miles of protected shoreline. It is an ecological research site for scientists but is open to the public. Yay!
Guests have three main hiking trails: History Trail, Discovery Trail and Contee Farm Trail. They all take hikers on an educational journey about the importance of the environment.
In 1777, way before anyone thought of Airbnb, Maryland housed Continental Army recruits in short-term rentals known as "hogsheads." Located in the heart of Annapolis, Hogshead is a wood-frame structure with a gambrel roof that was common in the 18th century.
Hogshead is now an interactive museum and landmark that will take you back in time to live in the 1700s. Volunteer museum guides dressed in colonial attire explain life during the Revolutionary War. Fun.
John Paul Jones' Crypt - The United States Naval Academy
Yes, we've already been to the Naval Academy, but the Crypt deserves its own spot in the Top 15. John Paul Jones, the father of America's navy, is known for shouting, "I have not yet begun to fight," when asked to surrender at the Battle of Flamborough Head during the American Revolutionary War. That's gotta be right up there with "Give me liberty or give me death." Bonus if you know who said that. (Hint: it's Patrick Henry).
What most people don't know is that the location of Jones' body was a mystery for over a century after his death. Jones died in Paris after a stint in the Russian Navy and was buried in a cemetery of a French royal family. But In 1796, France's revolutionary government sold the property, and the cemetery was forgotten.
Then, In 1905, Jones' remains were re-discovered by America's Ambassador to France and returned to the United States. Today, Jones rests in an extravagant sarcophagus below the United States Naval Academy chapel in Annapolis, Maryland.
Visit Historic London Town and Gardens
This 23-acre site was once home to the colonial town of London. The property includes the ruins of homes, a tavern, warehouses, and a church. It also has beautiful gardens with flowers galore!
Adventure to Pennsylvania Dutch Farmer's Market
The Pennsylvania Dutch Farmer's Market, also known as the Amish Market, is located in Annapolis Harbor Center. All merchants who sell their goods at this market come from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This is an ideal place to buy fresh produce and baked goods or find handmade furniture.
Relax at Quiet Waters Park
With over 340 acres of land and six miles of shoreline on the South River, Quiet Waters Park is a great spot for picnics, fishing, kayaking, and more.
The park also has a cafe, an outdoor amphitheater, and several playgrounds. In the springtime, the park is covered in beautiful flowers.
Check out the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1962, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra is the only professional orchestra in Anne Arundel County. The orchestra performs at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and offers a variety of concerts throughout the year, including family-friendly shows.
Enjoy a Day on the Chesapeake Bay
There are plenty of things to do on the Chesapeake Bay, from sailing and fishing to crabbing and swimming. You can also take a scenic cruise or go kayaking. Whatever you decide to do, you're sure to have a great time! Just don't forget the sunscreen!
A Remedy for a Good Time!
As you can see, Annapolis has a lot to offer! And we didn't even mention the food or the festivals. But one thing's for sure, you won't be bored with all of these things to do in Annapolis. But what pairs well with all this good fun? Good old Maryland Weed, of course! And luckily for you, we know just the place.
Stop by our shop and pick up some quality weed to enhance your experience while visiting Annapolis. Then, pair a nice preroll with a city tour or some delicious seafood, or grab an edible and head to the boat rentals. No matter what you choose to do, we've got the perfect remedy for a good time!
Panacea is proud to be a new chapter in the history of Annapolis. Visit us when you're in town, or check us out online and place an order for delivery!