These are the places that are instantly known by name, the spots that when you tell your friends and family you are planning a Maryland journey, they will ask, “Oh! Are you going to visit (insert famous place),” to which your answer will be a firm and emphatic YES! This guide to the top Annapolis tourist attractions is an easy one to write and we hope that it will help fill in the empty spots of your Annapolis vacation itinerary.
US Naval Academy Museum, 118 Maryland Avenue
Number five on our list is an old favorite that has been closed for a while during the pandemic, and we are so excited to tell you that it is open once again! Offering a peek into the history of the Navy, its exhibits and artifacts from the early days of the Navy makes it a fascinating place to visit and it attracts over 100,000 visitors from all over the world! One of our favorite exhibits located on the second deck is the Roger’s Ship Model Exhibit, offering a room filled with over 70 models of ships that date back to the 17th century! Although we have yet to see a ship in a bottle, there is quite a collection of ships in wood and glass boxes that will make any naval buff’s heart beat a little faster!
The Maryland State House, 100 State Circle
Life is great once again, as some of our more historically important homes and buildings are opening to the public and the Maryland State House, built in 1772, is one of our favorite examples. Rolling in at number four, the stately brick building faced with columns and featuring a beautiful rotunda is a space where history was made, as it briefly served as our nation’s capital in 1783, but that is not all that makes the state house so popular. President George Washington tendered his resignation inside these walls, and the Treaty of Paris, the document that signaled the end of the Revolutionary War, was ratified in this space. As you walk the halls, peeking into rooms that, except for the electronics, still harken back to those days of turmoil, knowing that you are walking in the footsteps of heroes will give you chills!
St. Anne’s Church, 199 Duke of Gloucester Street
Although this isn’t the original church, St. Anne’s Church has stood in this same spot since 1704 and is the first church of Annapolis. It was demolished in 1775 to make way for a bigger model which actually burnt to the ground in 1858. The building you are standing before today, however, has been here since 1859, and still shares in the historic past of the church. Today, it is an active diocese, offering peace and salvation as it has for hundreds of years, and the beauty of the building will stun you into silence as you examine the room-sized organ and the magnificent pulpit surrounded by stained glass and topped with an intricate design in its coffered ceiling. Speaking of stained glass, the large piece located in the south wall of the church is of St. Anne and is an impeccable example of early Tiffany glasswork. Everywhere you turn in this dignified building offers something new to appreciate, making it an easy decision for our number three choice!
London Town and Gardens, 839 Londontown Road
We have mentioned London Town before, but it definitely bears repeating as this special place ranks number two on our list of top hot tourist spots! You have to go back a few hundred years to learn about its humble beginnings, and although there is only one building left from its heyday, the William Brown House, the fascinating reconstruction of a time we have only read about in history books brings the past to life. Featuring tenements that would have been rented by the poor, a carpenter’s shop in which traveling carpenters will still work, using tools from that time period, and a visitor center that contains artifacts that were actually discovered right here in the area and date back to the 1680s as well.
The Chesapeake Bay
This is why everyone in the world falls in love with our beautiful town! Annapolis sits on the shores of Chesapeake Bay, and sailing excursions, boat tours, and a variety of other water-based activities will change the way you look at vacations forevermore. The US Sailboat Show in the spring and fall and the US Power Boat Show that takes place in October offers fun ways to explore the vessels you see when hanging around City Dock and the Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake give your children something exciting to look forward to. There is always something wonderful about activities on the bay and your Annapolis journey will be when you can experience it all!
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It is time to stop dreaming and start exploring—we hope to see you soon!