Annapolis, Maryland, is mainly known for the Naval Academy and its proximity to great sailing. We’ll show you other ways to get the most family fun out of a trip to Annapolis, MD. Here are our favorite things to do in Annapolis with kids.
Family-Friendly Restaurants in Annapolis, MD
Let’s eat! Annapolis offers great seafood, kid-friendly options, and plenty of twists on the classics. Dig in!
At Miss Shirley’s, you can start your day with fried green tomatoes, mini strawberry lemonade baked donuts, or Chesapeake Deviled eggs. If you feel like living it up, they offer Mornin’ Cocktails—and yes, they do have alcohol. The food might be called comfort with an edge—chicken ‘n cheddar green onion waffles, a soft shell crab stack, or a Cuban Huevos Sandwich. Whatever you get, someone please order the Funky Monkey Bread, complete with chocolate chips and chocolate sauce. Read reviews here.
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While you can order lunch or dinner at the Iron Rooster, the draw is really breakfast, all day. You might start with “shareables,” maybe breakfast nachos, or chorizo mac-n-cheese bites. Avocado toast gets a new twist with the addition of strawberries and goat cheese, while eggs can arrive in a tortilla, if you so desire. And don’t overlook the bowls—mixtures of everything from steak, eggs, cheese and potato to quinoa with vegetables. And just FYI—there’s an entire section just for fried chicken. Read reviews here.
We’re not sure if the Potato Valley Café is actually in a valley—but yes, they do serve potatoes, and then more potatoes. Their specialty is oven-roasted potatoes with a variety of fillings. They’ve got bacon and cheddar, Cuban chicken, chicken curry, and even a Rustic Vegan potato. Not feeling the spuds? They’ve also got sandwiches and salads. Read reviews here.
At some point when you’re in Annapolis, you’re going to get a hankering for seafood. That might be the time to head to the Boatyard Bar & Grill. Crab, not surprisingly, is heavily featured, but you can also get tuna, salmon, shrimp, and more. Non-seafood lovers will be just fine—they can choose from chicken tenders, nachos, and salads. And kids get their own menu, with choices ranging from pasta to crispy cod. Read reviews here.
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MOD pizza is fast casual, meaning, a step above McDonalds, but you don’t need heels or a suit. You can look to the Classics menu for the restaurant’s top 10 pizza combos, or you can go rogue and create your own. Choose the size and the toppings (over 30 to peruse, from spicy chicken sausage to roasted corn, and the price stays the same, no matter what you pick). Nice touch: you can ”finish” your pizza with a topping like balsamic fig glaze or Mike’s Hot Honey. Read reviews here.
Family-Friendly Hotels in Annapolis, MD
Looking for a family-friendly place to stay in Annapolis? Check out our suggestions, below—we’ve got options that will appeal to kids—and their parents.
The Hotel Annapolis has both a business center and a fitness center, plus it’s located near the U.S. Naval Academy. It’s mid-sized—200 guest rooms, and just 17 suites–the latter feature extra space; both have a nautical theme. (How could they not? Annapolis is known as America’s sailing capital.) Check out their special packages, too.
If the furniture and bedding at Springhill Suites by Marriott Annapolis look like you might have seen them in a catalogue—you probably did; everything was designed in partnership with West Elm. All the rooms are suites, guests are close to downtown Annapolis and the Naval Academy, and they’ve got free Wi-Fi and free onsite parking. You can also get delivery from local restaurants, so start scoping out those menus.
At the Westin Annapolis, you can be at the Naval Academy or on the shores of Chesapeake Bay within the hour, or you can hang out at the hotel and use the fitness center or pool. Rooms have modern furnishings and a lot of natural light, and you can eat at the on-site restaurants or partake of 24-hour room service if you get a craving for crab cakes at 2 a.m.
With a free hot breakfast and a free weekend and evening shuttle service to explore the area, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson in Annapolis offers a good home base for your stay. There’s an indoor pool and hot tub and a fitness center, and complimentary cookies in the lobby, plus it offers a quiet locale that’s still near downtown and other area attractions. Perhaps their most charming feature: The Read It and Return It Library that offers a wide array of titles—and if you don’t finish the book you chose, you can return it the next time you stay at a Country Inn & Suites.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites Annapolis knows that some people like to sit and linger over their eggs, while others want to grab a muffin and run—that’s why guests can choose from either a complimentary hot sit-down breakfast, or to-go options. There’s a fitness center and guest laundry, plus you’re near the Annapolis Maritime Museum, or sailing on Chesapeake Bay. Want some extra pampering? Check out the rooms with the whirlpool tubs.
Family-Friendly Activities in Annapolis, MD
So much to do for families in Annapolis! From adventures at sea to exploring the land, check out the many ways to take advantage of all that Annapolis has to offer for families.
Located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy Museum has two floors of exhibits relating to the history of sea power and the development of the U.S. Navy. Historical artifacts are mixed with audio and video technology to bring real-life stories to life. Don’t forget to check out the museum’s collection of fabulous model ships, as well as paintings, uniforms, and art books. Someone’s child will walk out of there singing a sea shanty. Read reviews here.
Built in the 1760s by William Paca, one of Maryland’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence, the William Paca House and Garden is one of the finest examples of 18th century homes in the country. Kids will most likely enjoy the two-acre colonial garden, especially the kitchen garden and the bridge that crosses the fish-shaped pond. Don’t forget to visit the Hogshead (not the pub in “Harry Potter,” sadly) an 18th century home that hosts an interactive, hands-on experience for visitors. Read reviews here.
Artworks Studio offers pretty much every form of art class/workshop you can imagine, from edible art (materials like candy and cupcakes are used, and participants get to take home what they make) to parent/child art classes. When they’re not eating their creations, kids can explore such techniques as drawing, painting and sculpting.
The Chesapeake Children’s Museum, not surprisingly, focuses on the Chesapeake Bay area, with an emphasis on fun, hands-on activities. They offer a variety of workshops and special programs, from Teddy Bear Tea Parties to Outdoor Water Play. They also offer a robust array of workshops for kids, including crafts, story time, animal interactions, and even deconstructing a machine. Free play is encouraged, and there are tons of play areas for kids to explore. Read reviews here.
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Often called the Father of the US Navy, John Paul Jones was also a Revolutionary war hero. He’s famous for the phrase, “I have not yet begun to fight.” His remains were interred in a crypt beneath the US Naval Academy in 1906, in a ceremony presided over by Theodore Roosevelt. At one point he was buried in Paris, before being re-discovered and moved to the U.S. And if your kids aren’t running out the door right this minute to go see it after that description, we don’t know what will get them going. Read reviews here.
Family-Friendly Outdoor Activities in Annapolis, MD
When it’s time to get some fresh air, partake of one of the many family-friendly activities in Annapolis. From pirates to parks, we’ve got you covered.
At Quiet Waters Park, visitors can hike some of the six miles of nature trails, picnic, and bring a dog to run around (or just watch them frolicking in the dog park). You’ll find picnic areas, a playground for kids, and paddle or pedal-boat rental. In the winter there’s ice skating, in the summer, swimming. It’s the place to go when kids need to romp, and adults need to gaze wistfully at some trees and water. Keep an eye on the kids while you’re doing that, though. Read reviews here.
Looking for a family-friendly pirate cruise in Annapolis? You’re in luck—Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake lets kids (and adults, if you’re so inclined) live the pirate life as they search for sunken treasure. Kids get to have their faces painted, learn the rules at sea, and discover the contents of a message in bottle. Who could be lurking nearby? Why it’s up-to-no-good Pirate Pete! Avast ye hearties! Or something to that effect. Please note: water cannons will be used, children will get messy. Read reviews here.
The Annapolis Maritime Museum focuses on the area’s maritime history as well as the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay. They offer hands-on programs and workshops, as well as exhibits. The museum is housed in the last surviving historic oyster-packing plant in Annapolis. Note: there’s a large focus on oysters here. Don’t miss the 850-gallon aquarium that houses an oyster reef. Read reviews here.
Located on the city docks, the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial offers a testament to African American ancestors whose names might not be known. It’s also the only memorial in the country that commemorates the name and place of arrival of an enslaved African. The sculpture shows author Alex Haley reading to a group of three children; a plaque next to it commemorates the arrival of Kunta Kinte. You’ll also find other markers, such as a story wall. It’s a great “teachable moment” for kids, and a moving tribute as well. Read reviews here.
With a swimming pool (swimming classes are offered), boat launch, tennis courts, play area for kids and a skate park, Truxton Park offers a respite in the middle of the city. If you don’t feel like lugging over sports equipment, explore the many walking areas. It has over 80 acres. Bring some lunch and a swimsuit, and settle in for the afternoon. Read reviews here.
Getting Crabby: While Annapolis might be known for the Naval Academy, it would be a shame to miss its crab cakes and the other forms of crab served up all over the city. Landmark Chick and Ruth’s Delly serves them up jumbo style (have them with one of their famous milk shakes) while Buddy’s Crabs & Ribs offers steamed crabs, crab dip, cream of crab soup, and more crab cakes. And head to Carrol’s Creek Café on the waterfront for a more upscale meal, including crab and artichoke dip.