Think Annapolis, and all things nautical come to mind. First settled in 1649, the city soon became an important colonial port. But after the Revolutionary War, shipping moved to the Port of Baltimore and Annapolis's business shifted to small-boat harvesting of oysters, crabs, and fish from the shallow waters of Chesapeake Bay.
Today, the town is known as the sailing capital of America and home to the U.S. Naval Academy. Sailing is definitely a favorite pastime for Annapolis residents, and many major national and international sailing events, as well as weekly racing events for the locals, take place in the bay.
There are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water -- schooners, sailing sloops, and cruise boats offer a variety of trips, narrated tours, and even Sunday brunch. Take a guided kayak tour of downtown Annapolis or paddle alone on the many creeks that feed the bay. Sailing schools with family programs abound. A particular favorite with kids is the Sea Gypsy, a re-created pirate ship that offers an action-packed cruise. Kids can pretend to be pirates and defend their ship from fierce attackers by using its water cannons.
The Naval Academy is well worth a visit, and its visitor center features interactive exhibits and displays, as well as a theater showing the award-winning video To Lead and To Serve.
Address: Downtown Annapolis at Church Circle and Main St., Annapolis, MD
To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.