Annapolis with kids is a wonderful city to explore! It is just a 1-hour drive away from DC and northern Virginia and we had a blast on our recent visit. I didn't realize how many fun things there are to do in Annapolis with kids until I started writing them all down! Below are 16 spots for your family's next adventure including 3 kid-friendly Annapolis restaurants, and then some great family-friendly hotels in Annapolis if you want to stay longer than a day!
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1) Begin your day at Carlson's Thai Kitchen with Donuts! 🍩
Delicious and fresh donuts from a surprising stop! We picked some donuts from Carlson's Thai Kitchen before our drive into the historic center of Annapolis for our kids. We all loved eating them before our morning adventures! Yelp Review here.
2) Ping Pong at the end of the Annapolis City Dock
The Annapolis City dock has two ping pong tables permanently at the edge of the dock right along Ego Alley. They had paddles and balls when were there but to be safe, you could bring your own to make sure. We had fun playing in the warm sun and watching the people and boats go by!
3) Ego Alley
Speaking of Ego Alley, the famous boat slips for huge yachts and small boats alike are a must-visit. It's a simple walk from the historic heart of the city and during the winter holidays, you might see many of the yachts lit up!
4) Rise Up Coffee for Adults and Kilwins Ice Cream for the Kids
A block north of Ego Alley is a great local coffee chain called Rise Up Coffee. We loved their coffee all weekend. And Storm Bros. Ice Cream Factory is just a few stores down for the kids (or adults!) to enjoy! Yelp review for Rise Up Coffee here and for Kilwins Ice Cream here.
5) Kunta Kinte/Alex Haley Memorial - muse see in Annapolis with Kids
I confess I didn't know the story of this memorial but it is an important one and a great conversation starter for kids when you visit Annapolis. It is located just in front of Rise Up Coffee and at the beginning of the City Dock. Kunta Kinte is a character in the book and miniseries Roots by Alex Haley. He is based on one of his real-life ancestors who was enslaved in the Gambia and brought to Maryland around 1767. This memorial is the only memorial in the US that is dedicated to a specific name and place of arrival or an African who was enslaved. Read more on the City of Annapolis website here.
6) Take a ride on the affordable Watermark Water Taxi - fun Annapolis activity for kids of all ages!
Tickets are just $4 to $9 per person, depending on the destination. The water taxi can take you all throughout the Annapolis Harbor and departs from Ego Alley. It can go to Spa Creek and Back Creek. Check their website here for maps and rates.
7) Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake - #1 Annapolis with Kids Activity
For an exciting boating experience, check out Chesapeake Pirate Adventures. Currently sailing on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Weekends from t311 Third Street (not the City Dock). TIP: Pre-purchase online for the best available rates. Make sure to arrive 30 minutes beforehand for face painting and dress up! The boat trip is 1hr 15 minutes roundtrip. (TIP: Get the pirate party started ahead of time with these fun pirate costumes on Amazon!)
8) Ride the Annapolis Free Trolley
Well, to be honest, more like a large van but kids will love it anyway! The city of Annapolis offers a free trolley service around the downtown area. You can track where the Circulator is on this website.
Free Trolley and Quiet Waters State Park
9) Maryland State House and Gardens
Tucked into the central historic district is the beautiful Maryland State House. It has 2 major claims to fame as the oldest state capitol still in use as a legislative chamber and the only state house that has also served as the nation's Capitol! It was completed in 1779 and there is so much history just walking around its historic gardens.
10) Quiet Waters Park - Best park in Annapolis with kids (and dogs!)
Quiet Waters Park is just a 10-minute drive from historic Annapolis. It is a really pretty county park right on the water on 340 acres. Since it’s so big and we only had an hour, we drove all the way down to the water and took the South River Overlook path to the water which was so lovely! It is $6 per vehicle fee and there are lots to explore!
From their website: “Quiet Waters Park is situated between the South River and Harness Creek. Visitors can enjoy trails winding through forests and past grassy fields, children’s playground, or picnic among 340 acres of beautiful parkland.”
11) Annapolis Maritime Museum
This museum focuses on "the Annapolis area's maritime heritage and the ecology of the Chesapeake Bay." Online tickets are released monthly for a timed-visits so make sure you check out their website here. The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for youth, seniors, and the military. Interactive exhibits on shipbuilding, holographic waterman, and even 3 boats you can "board" for a virtual reality experience!
12) Chesapeake Children's Museum - Great Annapolis with Kids Spot!
This museum is currently closed but check out their website for reopening hours soon! Truly kid-friendly exhibits and play areas to experience the Chesapeake Bay and the history of the people who have called it home.
13) US Naval Academy - Currently closed for tours but when open, must-see Annapolis with Kids spot!
Annapolis is the home of the US Naval Academy which was established in 1845. The 338-acre campus is also known as "The Yard." Tours are not currently being offered but check their Visitor's page for more info on reopening.
Annapolis with Kids Restaurants
14) Chick & Ruth's Delly
An Annapolis famous spot for Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes, corned beef hash, and jumbo lump crab eggs Benedict! We ate here years ago and loved it! See pics on their Yelp website here.
15) Reynold's Tavern 1747 Pub
We recently had our first igloo dining experience at this historic tavern and pub! It was delicious and the beer garden was the perfect spot to enjoy our crab cakes, fish and chips, and amazing sweet potato fries! Yelp review here, reservations recommended.
16) Cantler's Riverside Inn - Best spot in Annapolis with kids for fresh crabs
And the finale is a spot we've returned to and brought out-of-town relatives! Cantler's Riverside Inn has incredible fresh crabs (delivered by boat right to the restaurant..you can go down to the water and watch!) and all the traditional sides. All the best pics here.
Family Friendly Hotels in Annapolis, Maryland
I haven't stayed overnight in Annapolis before because we live just an hour away but I have looked at hotels and love reserving through Booking.com because there is often a free cancellation and lots of great traveler reviews. 2 hotels that look good for families are the Crown Plaza a few minutes outside the downtown with a large indoor pool and the Annapolis Waterfront Hotel right on the harbor.