What comes to mind when you think of October-fall foliage, football, and Halloween, right? Well, it’s all here. In the beautiful Annapolis countryside, family-friendly festivals abound. Think hayrides, big fat pumpkins, corn mazes, and all the things that make this time of year memorable for kids. For grown-up kids or youngsters who can handle a spine-tingling thrill, check out Annapolis' haunted tours. You'll be spooked by centuries-old tales of Annapolis' long-deceased inhabitants. When it comes to fun fall traditions, you can't beat Navy Football. Join the crowd at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and embrace the tradition and excitement that permeates the stands. If you're a sailor, boater, or just dreaming of getting on the water, come to our fall Boat Shows. On consecutive weekends, the U.S. Sailboat Show (October 5 thru 9) and the U.S. Powerboat Show (October 12 thru 15) present two of the most extravagant, in-water boat shows in the nation.
Maryland Renaissance Festival
When: Weekends and Labor Day, August 27 through October 23; 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Where:1821 Crownsville Road, Annapolis
The region’s premier outdoor event and second largest Renaissance Festival in the country is celebrating its 40th season at Revel Grove. Travel back in time as you immerse yourself in the culture of a 16th-century English village, complete with King Henry VIII and his court. The festival includes 200+ entertainers, ten stages, a 3,000 seat jousting arena, 122 craft shops, 48 food and beverage emporiums, games, attractions and 85 acres of complimentary parking. Let merriment abound! Visit www.rennfest.com for more information.
First Sunday Arts Festival
When: Sunday, October 2 (and every first Sunday through November) Noon to 5:00 p.m.
Where: First block of West and Calvert Streets, Annapolis
Enjoy live entertainment and the works of 100 local and regional artists as you stroll along the first block of West Street and Calvert Street next to Whitmore parking garage. Local restaurants set up outside cafes that are perfect for people watching and an afternoon bite to eat. Free parking for the family-friendly event is available at the state parking garage on the corner of Calvert and Bladen Streets. Visit www.firstsundayarts.com for more information.
Greenstreet Gardens Fall Festival
When: Saturday and Sunday, September 17 - October 30
Where: Greenstreet Gardens, 391 West Bay Front Road, Lothian, MD 20711
Six weekends of fall festivities is back and even better than before! Come enjoy different themed events and activities each weekend with family and friends. Our 5-acre corn maze, pumpkin bowling, jumping pillow, haunted hay ride, cow train, giant teepee, corn box, straw castle, underground slide and more - is everything you could ever imagine!
Homestead Gardens Annual Fall Festival
When: Saturdays and Sundays, September 24 to October 30; Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sundays, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Where: Homestead Gardens, 743 West Central Avenue, Davidsonville
Admission: Free, includes free parking
Homestead Gardens' Annual Fall Festival is the largest in the area! Enjoy this family tradition featuring 15 rides and attractions, demonstrations, entertainment, food and beverages – including Homestead’s world famous apple cider doughnuts. New This year is the Midway and the Midway Bee Stage in the nursery where you will find special shows and music geared to families, the pumpkin express’s “cousin” the Bee Express, carnival games under the tent, sweet treats and more. In the lower field there is live music on the main stage, the pipe slide, straw maze for the little ones, corn holes, the new “human Bowling ,” delicious food and beverages at Homestead’s “Grab & Go,” and Kona Ice. Visit Homestead Gardens online for more information.
U.S. Sailboat Show
When: Thursday-Monday, October 5-9
Where: City Dock, Annapolis
Admission: Adult, $18-$48; Child, $5; 6 and under, free
Now in its 48th year, the nation’s oldest and largest in-water sailboat show featuring exclusively new boats attracts more than 50,000 boating enthusiasts from around the world to America’s Sailing Capital each year. The event is recognized worldwide as the premier sailing showcase for seminars, boating attire and accessories, foul weather gear and boats of all sizes. Visi twww.annapolisboatshows.com for more information.
U.S. Powerboat Show
When: Thursday-Sunday, October 12-15
Where: City Dock, Annapolis
Admission: Adult, $18-48; Child, $5; 6 and under, free
Now in its 46th year, the nation’s oldest and largest in-water powerboat exhibition features everything from luxurious motor yachts and trawlers to high-performance boats and offshore fishing machines. The show includes family cruisers, center consoles, inflatables and the world's largest power catamaran section. Attendees will also find a wide selection of marine equipment, high-tech electronics, accessories, gear, and related services. Visit www.annapolisboatshows.com for more information.
Patuxent Wildlife Festival
When: Saturday, October 15; 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: Patuxent National Wildlife Visitor Center, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Court, Laurel
Enjoy live animals, children’s crafts, tram tours ($), scientific demonstrations and behind-the-scenes research tours of the U.S.G.S. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. See where endangered Whooping Cranes and Sea Ducks are raised and studied. Visit www.fws.gov for more information.
When: Sunday, October 16; 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Captain Avery Museum, 1418 East West Shady Side Road, Shady Side
Admission: Adults, $6; children under 12, $2
Enjoy food, live music by local artists, unique crafts, face painting, and demonstrations showing the vital role oysters play in maintaining the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Seafood lovers are invited to feast on raw and fried oysters, oyster stew, fried oyster roll sushi, cream of crab soup, Maryland crab soup, and much more. Hamburgers and hotdogs will also be available. The day also includes the Avery Café and bake sale. Visit www.captainaverymuseum.org for more information.
Discover additional lodging options located just 30 minutes from Annapolis and 10 minutes to Baltimore, check out TheHotelsAtBWI.com.