Downtown Annapolis, Maryland

Annapolis, Maryland: 6 Reasons to Visit This Historic Capital City


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Annapolis, Maryland, is located several miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay. Although it is now the humble seat of Anne Arundel County, it once hosted the Congress of the Confederation, making it more or less the first capital of the United States.

Few people realize that Annapolis is actually named after Princess Anne, a Norse lady who would one day become Queen Anne of Britain. Although the United States seceded from the United Kingdom hundreds of years ago, it still shapes our nation today. The history of the area is built on all kinds of British intrigue that includes a range of past players, such as the Puritans and more obscure individuals like Lord Baltimore.

Whether you're driving down I-95 from through cities like Providence, New York, and Philadelphia, or flying all the way into the state from the West Coast, we hope this list of suggestions help guide your way across the historical coastal plain.

What is the Capital of Maryland?

If you guessed Annapolis is the state capital, you win! Unfortunately, the only prize we have to give is whatever pride you take from nailing that deduction. Considering how geography is taught in American public schools, you should probably feel at least a little proud.

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The lil' old state of Maryland is located on the eastern shore of the United States where Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River converge. It is surrounded by the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia, not to mention Washington D.C. At nearly 10,000 square miles, it is the 9th smallest U.S. state.

What's more, Maryland has played a crucial role in American History. For instance, it was the 13th and last state to sign the Articles of Confederation, cementing the United States' identity as a sovereign nation. This being the case, the state is packed with historical attractions.

6 Reasons to Visit Annapolis, Maryland

1. Maryland State Capitol Building

The Maryland Statehouse is the oldest state capitol building that has remained in constant use since its construction in the late 1700s. Quite a bit of early American politics played out in its chambers, including the Annapolis Convention that preceded the gatherings that gave us our constitution.

It was also in this famous building that George Washington handed the U.S. Continental Congress his resignation as general of the Continental Army. Just a few weeks later, a document known as the "Treaty of Paris" was signed, ending the Revolutionary War. Little did anyone realize that six years later this literal and figurative giant among men would be the first president of the United States.

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In addition to three floors of interior exhibits, the statehouse has exterior attractions, including a statue of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. For more information about the capitol's hours and features, visit the msa.maryland.gov website.

2. Annapolis Historic District

The capital city's historic district is overflowing with aging sites and structures that any history buff would be thrilled to behold. These include national treasures that predate that Revolutionary War, such as St. John's College, which was once known as King William's School. Other points of interest include the William Paca House & Garden, the Hammond-Harwood House, and many others.

3. Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park

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In addition to exhibits that highlight subjects such as naval combat and nautical labor, the Maritime Museum houses a few aquariums full of local sea life. Meanwhile, its park section features a small boat launch, simple walking trails, and an outdoor amphitheater that hosts a range of programs. Parts of the museum's campus can even be reserved for events like birthdays and weddings.

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4. United States Naval Academy

If you didn't quite get your fill of the maritime entertainment from the museum discussed above, you should consider heading over to the USNA. Although it is still a functioning educational institution, it has a museum and other attractions that are open to the public. If you like what you see, you could always try to enroll!

5. Enjoy the Outdoors

Outdoor enthusiasts will pleased to know there are quite a few recreational areas in and around the Annapolis area. Since the capital city is situated on the Severn River and the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, it has great access to a range of aquatic activities. Both Thomas Point Park and Sandy Point State Park are particular Marylander favorites.

6. Close In On Some Big Cities

Since both the cities of Washington D.C. and Baltimore are only a little over 30 Miles from, it takes only a short drive to reach them. Of course, these famous metropolises have their own story, and we're here to talk about Annapolis, MD, so we won't go into detail about what you can do in either burg. But to be sure, Annapolis's proximity to these two more than triples a traveler's options.

Did we miss your favorite Annapolis spot? Let everyone know what's good on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

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READ MORE: Albany, New York: 6 Reasons to Visit this National Historic Treasure

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