When it comes to bountiful aquatic resources, we've got a lot to brag about. Anne Arundel County's rivers, streams and coves form over 533 miles of shoreline. We claim the Chesapeake Bay, the nation's largest estuary, as our very own playground. Glimpses of sparkling water can be had even from the middle of downtown Historic Annapolis. It's no wonder countless people come to play on the water here.
You can too. Whether you're an experienced kayaker, a day-tripping motor boater, an adventurous sailing novice, or anyone else who yearns to spend some time on the Chesapeake Bay or the winding streams, creeks, and rivers that flow to this crown jewel of the Mid-Atlantic, we can provide the information you need. Let's get started.
Rent a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard (SUP)
You don't have to own your own boat to get on the water in Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay. Plenty of local outfitters and even some parks in and around Annapolis rent kayaks, canoes, boards, and related supplies to folks who simply want to test the waters. Being out on the water is a great way to spend time with friends and family, to unwind and soak in the ambience of the area, or to get a workout in a natural setting.
Have you tried the latest water sport? It's stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). It originated in Hawaii as an offshoot of surfing. Like it sounds, SUP involves standing on a board and paddling through the water. Try SUP in the calm waters of a river or, for more excitement, head out to the bay where it's a little choppier and more challenging. Either way, prepare to get wet and have a blast. For the truly adventurous, you can find variations to the sport: yoga on SUPs, nightime SUP, and more. Search our directory for local businesses and parks that rent canoes, kayaks, SUPs, and related equipment here.
Launch your own boat
Have a canoe, kayak, or board of your own? Then make your way to one of Anne Arundel County's public launch sites. Serene shorelines and scenic vistas await. Whether it's a quiet, wooded shoreline you seek as a backdrop to your water travels or the bustle of Eastport or the Annapolis City Dock, you'll find it here. For a list of car top boat launch sites throughout Anne Arundel County, click here.
Like you, the residents of Anne Arundel County value recreational opportunities on the water. Some of our water-loving residents have formed a group called the Anne Arundel Public Water Access Committee. Working with the Anne Arundel County Recreation & Parks, the committee aims to identify new water access points on the north and south shores of each major river in Anne Arundel County. The committee also is hard at work creating water trails. These water "webs" will link launch sites in Anne Arundel County, so that paddlers and rowers can experience the area's incredibly diverse, but always scenic, aquatic ecosystems. As these exciting updates occur, we will share them on our website.
Take a water tour
Ever seen elegant sail boats bobbing out on the bay or motor boats zipping along at full speed? If so, chances are you've longed to get out there yourself. And you can.
The area offers a range of boat tours. Want to learn more about the area's Naval and Colonial history while sitting in a sailing vessel? Interested in getting close to some of the most awe-inspiring resources our area offers--from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the Thomas Shoal Lighthouse to the Annapolis Wednesday Night Sailing Races? Want to try your hand at sailing, helping raise the sails and steer the boat? Or would you rather sit back and enjoy cruising along the Chesapeake Bay, drink in hand? The choice is yours. Search our directory of local boat tour operators.
For the smallest of sailors with the biggest of imaginations, there's Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake. Once kids board this authentic-looking pirate ship, they're quickly transformed into pirates, with bandanas, eye patches, and more. When the ship leaves its dock from Annapolis, those on board go seeking-what else?-hidden treasures.
For a quick, fun and scenic way to various points in Annapolis, try the Annapolis Water Taxi. It travels through the Annapolis Harbor as well as Spa Creek and Back Creek. In addition to designated pick-up times, it also picks up customers upon request (with advanced notice).
There's nothing quite like the feel of your feet dangling over the edge of a pier and a tug at your fishing pole. Throughout Anne Arundel County, several great fishing spots make it possible to pursue this old-fashioned summer rite of passage. Wander onto a 350-foot pier that juts out into the Chesapeake Bay and cast a rod or dip a crabbing net into the bay. Find a spot on a sandy beach and try to reel in a few. Find out more information about the dozen or so fishing spots sanctioned by Anne Arundel CountyRecreation and Parks.
Guys weekend? Colleague team-building excursion? What better way to spend it than on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, bonding as you try to reel in the big one? You don't need your own boat to have a big-time fishing experience in the Chesapeake Bay or one of its tributaries. Contact a local charter business that will show you all the fishing hot spots, or rent a boat and explore on your own. Find it here.
Windsurfing and kitesurfing
Do you windsurf or kitesurf? Then bring your board and gear when you come to Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay. A handful or so of select parks offer great launch points for windsurfers and kitesurfers. Your friends with kayaks and canoes can also take off from these same spots. So pick a windy day, catch some of that wind with your board, and then head to one the area's many restaurants or pubs afterwards to round out your day.
Please note: permits may be required to launch from designated sites.
On the Water News & Stories
Once again, the 2014 U.S. Boat Show held in Annapolis’ Harbor cruised by without running aground. The world’s largest in-water boat show – drawing over 150,000 boat-lovers from across the seven seas – tantalized onlookers with the newest accessories, equipment, and vessels of 2014. From October 9 through October 13, the sailing capital of the U.S. welcomed the best-in-class sailboats to its harbor, followed by the powerboats on October 16 through October 19...more
Grab your little scallywags this summer and head for Annapolis to embark on a unique family voyage on the Chesapeake Bay. Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake offers families the chance to board a mock-pirate ship, while the children experience a day in the life of a pirate. Aboard the Sea Gypsy, relax in the sunshine while your kids – dressed like pirates – troll the waters for sunken treasure, battle other pirates with water cannons, and engage in fun activities at sea...more
You've checked off the walking tours, historic sites, and maybe even paddle boarding from your Chesapeake Bay itinerary, but that fishing expedition still has a blank next to it. The Deale Captains Association (DCA) is here to help complete that to-do list. Located in Southern Anne Arundel County (South County to residents) in the quiet seaside town of Deale, Md., the DCA's boat fleet leads visitors to Annapolis and Anne Arundel County on exciting fishing trips throughout the Chesapeake Bay...more