15 Things to do in Annapolis
with kids

Annapolis, the capital of the state of Maryland, was founded in the 17th century, and it is a lovely coastal town sitting on the Chesapeake Bay. It's famous for its historical landmarks, beautiful scenery, and delectable seafood. It's also a kid-friendly destination — so we've put together our list of the best things to do in Annapolis with kids.

Museum of Historic Annapolis

What is it?
A downtown history museum dedicated to the story of Annapolis.

Why should you go?
Located in a historic 18th-century building on Main Street next to the City Dock, this compact museum is a great place to start your discovery of Annapolis and its gems.

A comprehensive collection of artifacts that help unpack over 400 years of the coastal town's history is spread across three floors. It's here that you'll learn that Annapolis was once the capital of the emerging nation in the 18th century. The exhibition is organized chronologically from the first European settlers to the civil rights movement of the 20th century. Besides, it's accessible and interactive, with special activities for the youngest visitors.

You can explore the museum as part of the walking tour of downtown Annapolis.

Recommended age: school age
Cost: general admission is $5; children aged 9 and younger go free

Quiet Waters Park

What is it?
A large regional park with trails, water access, a playground, and other recreation facilities.

Why should you go?
This 340-acre green space is located just 10 minutes drive from the city center between the South River and Harness Creek, and a day trip here is one of the nicest family activities in Annapolis.

The park is chock full of various amenities: walking and cycling trails, play areas for the kids, and a bunch of fun water activities such as water skiing. There's public art and fountains, plenty of spots and pavilions for picnicking, and enough shade under the trees or in a gazebo for the weary parents to relax while the offspring are romping around. Dog owners would appreciate the place, too: there's a dog park and a special beach in the southern part of Quiet Waters. Overall, just a perfect summer recreation spot!
Recommended age: kids of any age
Cost: daily pass is $6.00 per vehicle

Boatyard Bar & Grill

What is it?
Nautical-themed seafood restaurant and bar located in the historic maritime district of Eastport.

Why should you go?
One of the nicknames of Annapolis is 'Crabtown on the Bay,' which means eating seafood is an absolute must while you're in town — and there are so many great spots you're really spoilt for choice. We'd like to suggest, for example, this family-owned eatery that is located on the famous Restaurant Row in Eastport, the place to celebrate Maryland's maritime history. Sailors, fishermen, and locals come here to enjoy amazing seafood paired with a couple of pints.

The Boatyard crab cakes are loaded with chunks of fresh crab and are simply out of this world: let's just say the restaurant has received the award of 'The Best Crab Cake You'll Ever Eat' by Southern Living Magazine. Otherwise, go for crab soup, oysters, scallops, or grilled fish. It's all finger-licking good.
Recommended age: toddlers and older kids (provided they are not allergic)
Cost: oyster prices start at $2.25, crab cakes are around $20, depending on the market prices

Related tours:

Ego Alley

What is it?
A narrow waterway in the City Dock area with a daily parade of flashy boats.

Why should you go?
If you're feeling like a stroll after a nice seafood lunch, there's an iconic site to discover within walking distance of Eastport. Walk across the Spa Creek Bridge (don't forget to enjoy the views), past the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel and Pusser's Caribbean Grille, et voilà: dozens of luxurious yachts for you to marvel at (hence the name of the waterway).

Grab some ice cream for the wee ones at the historic Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory, find a spot to sit down, watch the boats, people, and ducks, and unwind. If you're lucky, you'll catch a sailboat show, holiday fireworks, or a parade. Also, check out the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial — one of the city's iconic landmarks.

Ego Alley is also part of the walking tour of the town's historic sites.
Recommended age: any age
Cost: free

United States Naval Academy

What is it?
One of the oldest undergraduate naval service academies in the US.

Why should you go?
One of the key historic establishments in Annapolis, the USNA was founded in 1845. Midshipmen who are educated here serve in the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps upon graduation.

The local campus is nicknamed 'The Yard,' and it offers a wide range of guided tours to showcase the rich history of this fine institution and a behind-the-scenes gaze at the life of its students. The self-guided walking tour of the downtown area also allows you to explore the Academy and chat with its graduates.

The USNA also has a museum located in Preble Hall, with two decks of exhibits dedicated to the US maritime history and the role of the Academy in producing America's finest sailors and marines — including battle maps, flags, and ship models.
Recommended age: kids of school age and teenagers
Cost: museum's admission is free; tour prices are $14 for adults aged 18+ and $12 for younger visitors

Banneker-Douglass Museum

What is it?
Maryland's official museum of African-American history and culture based in a 19th-century former church.

Why should you go?
In case you're thinking about what to do in Annapolis with kids (or without them) on a rainy day, we suggest that you pay a visit to this cozy and hospitable little museum in the heart of historic Annapolis. Named after two prominent African-Americans, it occupies the former Mount Moriah African Methodist Episcopal Church. Built in the late 19th century in the Gothic Revival style, it features red brick walls and nice stained glass windows.

Inside, you'll be greeted by friendly staff and see the exhibition dedicated to African-American history and culture, from the earliest slave trade era to the civil rights movement and more recent history. This is your chance to learn quite a bit about Maryland's most famous Black Americans.
Recommended age: schoolchildren and older kids
Cost: free

St. Anne's Episcopal Church and Cemetery

What is it?
The oldest church in Annapolis with a historic cemetery.

Why should you go?
St. Anne's parish is over 300 years old: the first church in its location was founded in 1692, and this is the third one. It's a beautiful building, and its highlights are the 24 stained glass windows, two of which were made by Tiffany Studios.

The church also runs a cemetery. The main part of it is adjacent to the building. It has many of the leaders of the Maryland Colony interred on its grounds. The other section is five minutes walk down Northwest Street: it's larger and features some beautiful sepulchral art, with notable residents buried here too. If you've got a Goth kid on your hands, they're likely to enjoy it.

Should you wish to learn more, the tour of historic Annapolis starts at the cemetery!
Recommended age: teenagers
Cost: free

William Paca House & Garden

What is it?
A Georgian mansion with a gorgeous manicured garden.

Why should you go?
Located near City Dock in the downtown Colonial Annapolis Historic District, the William Paca House is part of the historic 18th-century estate that used to belong to the lawyer and signer of the Declaration of Independence, William Paca. Behind the house is a charming 2-acre walled green space. The whole complex has been meticulously reconstructed to its former glory and can be seen with a guided house and garden tour or a self-guided garden stroll.

The house is, indeed, an important historic site that offers a great opportunity to learn about the life of its inhabitants back in the day. But we particularly love the garden with its water lily pond, neat hedges and flower beds, physic and kitchen garden sections, and a wilderness part. You'll pass by the house during the self-guided tour of Annapolis historical sites.
Recommended age: any age
Cost: $12 for adults, $7 for children aged 3-17, and free for younger kids; the self-guided tour is $5, and children younger than 3 can enter for free

Related tours:

Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park

What is it?
Eastport waterfront venue dedicated to the maritime history and ecology of the Chesapeake Bay.

Why should you go?
A trip to the local maritime museum is, in our opinion, one of the most exciting things to do in Annapolis with kids — to a large extent because it's much more than a traditional museum, and there's always something going on at the venue. For starters, it occupies what used to be the last oyster-packing plant in town, the McNasby Oyster Company.

Inside the building, you'll come across an exhibition focused on the town's maritime past, covering three major themes: Bay Health, Oyster Economy, and Annapolis Waters. There are a whole lot of cool interactive exhibits for the younger visitors, inducing a holographic display, digital games, and a virtual reality-based boat experience. Two aquariums show a recreation of a 17th-century Bay and compare it with the current situation in the Bay waters.
Recommended age: schoolkids and older children
Cost: $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids aged 3-12; younger kids go free

Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers' Market

What is it?
An indoor farmers' market featuring vendors from the local Amish communities.

Why should you go?
We tend to think a trip to a farmers' market is a great family activity — and this one is a market with a twist. Located about 15 minutes drive from the center of Annapolis, it is known locally as the Amish Market. Vendors come from the local Amish communities in Lancaster, PA, the heart of PA Dutch Country, and most of the foodstuffs and recipes have a traditional Amish background to them. There's meat, cheeses, baked goods, sweets, fresh fruit and vegetables, canned goods, spices, and whatnot — even Amish-made decorative items and furniture.

How about some fresh lemonade, hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries, traditional PA Dutch soft pretzels, or blueberry lemon bread for the little ones (and yourself, you old sweet tooth)?
Recommended age: any age
Cost: free (until you start feeling peckish — and you will soon)

The Colonial Players

What is it?
Community theater with a variety of shows, including some signature pieces.

Why should you go?
Do you want to see a show? No problem: the Colonial Players has been around for decades striving to provide the best experience to its spectators. Founded in 1949 by a group of enthusiastic Annapolitans, this volunteer-run non-profit theater has amassed quite a following and continues to thrive to this day.

The atmosphere is fairly intimate, with only 180 seats. The theatre runs classic and contemporary comedies, dramas, musicals, children's shows, experimental performances, and other features. The absolute classic that is staged every year is the traditional production of A Christmas Carol, a Dickens adaptation that was written specifically for the Players in 1981. If you're in town over the holiday season, it's a family show that we can wholeheartedly recommend.
Recommended age: school kids and teens
Cost: general admission $23, students, seniors, and military $18

Chick & Ruth's Delly

What is it?
A landmark diner with huge portions and over 50 years of history.

Why should you go?
Founded in 1965, this cheeky little orange diner is a bit of a local landmark with its positive retro vibe, tiny booths, and giant portions. Located on Main Street right between the City Dock and St. Anne's church, the family-owned small eatery is one of the local favorites — and kids just love it. They serve huge fancy and classic milkshakes, incredible sandwiches named after Maryland political figures, and, of course, half-pound jumbo crab cakes.

We suggest heading over for breakfast whenever you've got a whole day of adventures with the little ones ahead of you, and need a lot of energy. Just make sure you don't overdo it, as you risk falling into a food coma afterward (a six-pound milkshake is not for everyone). And when you're done, you're ready to embark on our walking tour!
Recommended age: toddlers and older
Cost: $17.99 for eggs Benedict with jumbo lump crab cake, $6.99 for a regular milkshake

Sandy Point State Park

What is it?
A recreation area with a sandy beach and a lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay.

Why should you go?
Located just a short drive from central Annapolis, Sandy Point State Park is where you should be headed when you're in desperate need of seaside recreation but can't be bothered to go to the ocean. Established in 1952, the park is best known for its beach. Clean and spacious, it has lots of picnic tables and barbecue grills and offers amazing views of the 19th-century red brick Sandy Point State Park lighthouse and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. There are hiking trails and tennis courts, as well as various boating, fishing, and crabbing activities available.

Beware of the jellyfish, though: these things can be really irritating.
Recommended age: any age
Cost: from May 1 to September 30: $5 per person on weekends and holidays, $4 per person on weekdays; from October 1 to April 30: $3 per vehicle

Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake

What is it?
A popular pirate cruise experience aboard a real ship in Annapolis Harbour.

Why should you go?
Sightseeing, beach activities, and gulping down seafood might be of interest to some children, but, say, you were looking for some really fun things to do in Annapolis for kids. Why not go on an actual pirate adventure cruise?

This family-friendly treasure-hunting experience takes place on a real ship: aided by the enthusiastic crew, the kids get their faces painted, dress up and choose tattoos for themselves before the real fun begins. Kids read treasure maps, discover messages in a bottle, and engage in a (small-scale) naval battle with sneaky pirates. Finally, the enemy is defeated, and no child leaves without a well-deserved loot bag.

And while the kids are having the time of their life, you can chill in the shade, being confident that the little ones are taken care of.
Recommended age: 2-12 years old
Cost: $30 for a full-price ticket, $25 for a pre-sale ticket, and $14 for kids aged 2 and younger

The Chesapeake Children's Museum

What is it?
Kids' play area with various interactive displays located in a woodland park.

Why should you go?
One of the places that offer a range of kids' activities in Annapolis, the Children's Museum is not really a museum as such but more of an interactive space with a number of hands-on experiences. This volunteer-run center is about three decades old and occupies a former radio station near Spa Creek.

Educational exhibits include a medical center, a music room, some art and history displays, live animals and reptiles, and nature walks with talks about the local flora and fauna. Special events take place regularly, from cooking classes for the young ones to parenting workshops for their parents. Overall, it's nice no-frills educational fun.
Recommended age: toddlers, pre-schoolers, and younger schoolkids
Cost: $8
  • 1
    What are the must-visit destinations in Annapolis with kids?
    • Quiet Waters Park
    • Boatyard Bar & Grill (and other seafood joints)
    • Ego Alley
    • Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake
    • The Colonial Players
    • Sandy Point State Park
  • 2
    What are free things to do in Annapolis with kids?
    • Ego Alley
    • Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers' Market
    • Museum of Historic Annapolis (free for kids aged 9 and younger)
    • United States Naval Academy Museum
    • Banneker-Douglass Museum
    • St. Anne's Episcopal Church and Cemetery
  • 3
    What are the best things to do In Annapolis with toddlers?
    • The Chesapeake Children's Museum
    • Sandy Point State Park
  • 4
    What are the best things to do In Annapolis with teens?
    • Museum of Historic Annapolis
    • The Colonial Players
    • Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park
    • United States Naval Academy
    • Banneker-Douglass Museum
  • 5
    What are the best things to do In Annapolis with a baby?
    • William Paca House & Garden
    • Sandy Point State Park
    • Ego Alley
    • Quiet Waters Park

Related tours: