Did you know that Annapolis is the only capital city east of the Mississippi without any form of rail transport? Or that its highest point is only 50 feet above sea level? Or that it was the finishing point for the fastest crossing of America by bicycle?
Centuries-old architecture and meticulously-preserved historical buildings blend beautifully with the vibrant hum of everyday life as Annapolis locals share the streets with visitors who have come to see why Maryland's capital was named one of the 20 best places to live in the country by Coastal Living.
This seaside colonial city, which once served as America's capital, is constantly buzzing with activity as travelers choose from countless locations to enjoy memorable daytime and evening activities. Take in the collection of naval ships and maritime history at the historic Naval Academy Museum or trek with local tour guides down 350-year-old brick-lined streets to visit some of the many historical buildings in Annapolis, such as St. John's College, built in 1696 and operating as the third oldest college in America behind Harvard and William & Mary in Williamsburg.
In the historic downtown area, your eyes will pop at the multitude of vibrant colors splashing all around the city, from brightly-painted doors in pinks, reds, and yellows to the lush, verdant greens of Quiet Waters Park. Visit the Maryland State House that witnessed President George Washington and the founders of America as they sought to bring our fledgling nation to life. Stand where Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and friend to President Abraham Lincoln, gave his speech almost 150 years ago, as the nation was just beginning to rebuilt after the years-long and brutal Civil War.
As a downtown tour after dark will reveal, the city's nightlife is overflowing with unique activities in some of the nation's oldest pubs, and strange occurrences in old buildings that have witnessed so much history. Throughout its unforgettable scenic surroundings, this purely American destination is full of surprises, as are unique Junket experiences, like the Annapolis haunted ghost tour!
The Junket Annapolis Experience will reveal intriguing stories and little-known facts that made this quaint seaport town such a fascinating waterfront retreat.
Come along with expert local guides as they introduce you to the most exciting legendary stories and hidden secrets of Annapolis. immerse yourself in the mysteries of the past as you stroll centuries-old cobblestone streets and watch the line blur between the past and the present. Choose one of our popular tours:
Join us for an exploration of Annapolis, and immerse yourself in this charming seaside town's extraordinary heritage, with its untold stories, captivating scenery, and the serene grace of centuries past.
The history of Annapolis is one that was largely shaped by the sea. Founded upon the importance of trading and commerce, with the harbor adjoining it to ensure safe passage for its residents, Annapolis flourished as one of America's most prominent seaport locations.
Located on the scenic Severn River at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, the land around Maryland's capital was inhabited for thousands of years by several Native American Algonquian-speaking tribes who called the area home.
With the establishment of the Colony of Maryland in 1632, there was a great demand for goods to support the colonies and Europe, which led to import and export by water up the Chesapeake Bay. The earliest recorded settlers of Maryland arrived in 1608. Early settlers migrated from Virginia and became known as the "gentleman planters". They were wealthy men with origins in the English gentry and noble descent from Englad whose principal business ventures involved tobacco growing and trading.
In 1649, a colony of Puritans, exiled from Virginia for religious intolerance, settled a patch of riverfront land that would become the city of Annapolis. They named it "Providence."
The area remained rural, prospering from the production and sale of tobacco, until the town reached a size deemed worthy to replace the current capital of the colony in what was then called Anne Arundel's Town, for the wife of Maryland's proctor, Lord Baltimore. In 1695, Providence was declared the new seat of government and renamed Annapolis, in honor of England's future queen, Princess Anne of Denmark and Norway.
From its earliest days as a colonial capital, this small seaport town was known as the "Athens of America," as it was a hub of intellectual stimulation and cultural and social activity. A 17th-century baroque street plan mimicking European cities was designed with radiating thoroughfares that converge on the State House, and the city welcomed visitors from around the world with gracious hospitality.
"[Annapolis is] the town that excelled all other towns and portes in our said province."
Governor John Seymour (1708)
A thriving shipping industry developed and brought great wealth to Annapolis. Prosperous merchants and wealthy planters sought to recreate the amenities of England in the colonies, building Georgian mansions that rival any in Europe. Elite social functions such as horse racing, card parties, theater performances, and balls enticed prominent travelers like George Washington, who kept a record of his social engagements in his diary.
The town's fertile fields and shipping connections made Annapolis a prime maritime port for gathering and shipping troops and supplies during the American Revolution. The city even held its own protests against British taxes. After the conflict, Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris at the Maryland State House, making Annapolis the first peacetime capital in the newly-independent United Sttes.
A city steeped in history and full of charisma, Annapolis is at once a city of many worlds. Weaving your way through the town streets, you can walk the same paths as several of our Founding Fathers, enjoy similar hospitality, and taste the same delicious Tidewater cuisine that was appreciated in colonial America.
With its Old-World European style and maritime legacy, Annapolis makes for a unique and historical getaway, offering modern cultural amenities in an immersive, 18th-century atmosphere.
Although the brick-lined streets of Annapolis hold over 350 years of history, the city is small enough to be entirely walkable, making it the perfect waterfront destination. Guests can stroll through historical buildings and neighborhoods, appreciate the beauty of the carefully-restored colonial homes, explore nearby scenic trails, and enjoy an array of boutique shops and locally-sourced restaurants in the 18th-century brick storefronts.
"Its appearance is interesting from its air of quiet seclusion; and the antique look of many of the houses, with their peculiar style of architecture, gives the stranger an impression of some old European town, rather than that of an American City."
The American Cyclopaedia (1879)
As a center for the sailing arts, Annapolis honors its deep-rooted maritime history with museums, festivals, and races. The home of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis is a true boating paradise, with sailors in the crisp dress whites adding to the nautical ambiance and seagoing vessels of every kind decorating the city's harbors. The thriving colonial shipping hub of City Dock serves as a host to schooners, sailboats, and yachts waiting to set sail on the sparkling waters of Chesapeake Bay.
In addition to a vibrant historic district, enthusiastic art scene, and lively nighttime enjoyments, Annapolis offers a waterfront teeming with quaint shopping opportunities, world-class restaurants, and an array of attractions to interest any visitor. Here is a list of some of our favorite spots:
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