Located just 32 miles from Washington, DC, 26 miles from Baltimore, and minutes from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Annapolis is the gateway to North America’s largest estuary, the Chesapeake Bay. A bustling port town in the 18th century, Annapolis is world renowned as America’s Sailing Capital and one of the top waterfront destinations in the country. No wonder lovers of all things nautical head to Maryland’s capital city each year. Sailing, cruising, stand up paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking are among the options for outdoor enthusiasts who know how to turn a fine day into an even better one by “just adding water.”

In this City of Flowers by the Bay, all roads lead to the water. City Dock is a place to see and be seen. Families enjoying ice cream cones line the walls of Annapolis’ Harbor – aka Ego Alley – watching skippers parade boats of all shapes and sizes. Add U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen to the mix, and you have a combination you won’t find anywhere else. Midshipmen are a part of the fabric of this Navy Town. Be sure to visit the “Yard”, home to the 4,000-strong Brigade of Midshipmen – future officers of the Navy and Marine Corps.

Boasting 17 miles of waterfront, Annapolis is synonymous with fresh-from-the-bay seafood. Rockfish – known by the rest of us as striped bass – is a prized local favorite as are crabs, any way you like them. You pick the nationality; Annapolis has the cuisine – including restaurants and pubs that are as Irish as the Emerald Isle itself.

Just across Spa Creek from downtown Annapolis lies the quirky, mock breakaway Republic of Eastport and its famous Restaurant Row. There you’ll find a dizzying array of dining possibilities. Take your choice – waterfront, rooftop, simple, sublime. Locals and visitors in the know stake out their favorite waterfront haunts for the Wednesday Night Sailboat Races held weekly from April to September. Picture the beauty of 130 boats – their colorful spinnakers backlit by a setting sun – etched forever in your memory.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Annapolis a National Treasure. Stroll along the brick-lined streets of this walkable city and you’ll see why. A Museum without Walls, Annapolis has more 18th-century brick buildings than anywhere else in the nation. Maryland’s four signers of the Declaration of Independence all had homes here, and three of them are open to the public. The Maryland State House is the oldest state house in continuous use in the country. It is the first and only state house to serve as our nation’s capitol. It was here that George Washington resigned his commission as commander in chief of the continental forces and the Treaty of Paris was ratified, ending the Revolutionary War.

To enjoy the full Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay experience, park your car in one of the city’s five public garages and walk to historic homes, art galleries, antiques shops, and one-of-a-kind boutiques. If you prefer, hop aboard a City Circulator for a nominal $1 fare.

No matter what the time of year, Annapolis is known for its fun and quirky events. Spring’s Oyster Roast and Sock Burning, summer’s Wednesday Night Sailboat Races, fall’s U.S. Sailboat and Powerboat Shows, and winter’s Lights Parade are among the highlights, but the events and experiences don’t end there. To learn more, visit VisitAnnapolis.org.