Annapolis, Maryland: Staycation on a Budget

You don’t need a lot of money to have a great vacation in your hometown. If you live near Annapolis, Maryland there is no excuse for not getting out and enjoying your beautiful city. I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in Annapolis earlier this month and even though I was only twenty minutes from my home it truly felt like a vacation.

Annapolis is a historic city with so many fun free and inexpensive activities you’ll want to plan your trip right away!

If you don’t live in Maryland come back tomorrow for a list of staycation ideas for over 80 cities! 

Exploring Annapolis, Maryland

Historic Annapolis

historic annapolis

The best part about historic Annapolis, is historic Annapolis. Aside from parking (which can be a pain) there is so much to see in the large historic Annapolis area. The entire area is easily walkable, although it will take you all day, so wear comfortable shoes. From historic buildings to quaint shops and beautiful sailboats there is plenty to see on your walking tour of Annapolis.

U.S. Naval Academy

2008 USNA Commissioning Week

The U.S. Naval Academy’s campus is beautiful and the museum admission is free. Check the security requirements and bring an id for access to the campus. The campus is absolutely beautiful and worth visiting. You can walk the campus on your own or purchase a guided one hour and fifteen minute tour. ($10 adults, $8 kids, preschoolers are free).

Check the Naval Academy website for hours and more information.

First Sunday Art Festival


It’s a street festival, an art market, entertainment venue and a arts and craft fair all in one place! Admission is free to the First Sunday Arts Festival open every Sunday from May to October. This is a great free activity the whole family can enjoy!

Quiet Waters Park

The Quiet Waters Park is beautiful and admission is only $6 a vehicle, free for military and their dependents. The park has a beautiful playground, plenty of green grass to throw the frisbee or stretch out and enjoy the weather, and art exhibits. You could easily spend the entire day at this park.

Chesapeake Children’s Museum

I wouldn’t pay full price to visit the Chesapeake Children’s Museum, but take advantage of discounted days. This museum is old, and could use a little face lift, but it is totally hands on and your kids will love it! From finger painting to puppet shows your kids can enjoy the day exploring the different rooms of the museum, with minimal supervision.

Wednesday Night Boat Races


Every Wednesday during the summer months, hundreds of sailors take to the Severn River for this weekly race. Get a great view of the finish line from the drawbridge that separates Annapolis from Eastport.

United States Naval Academy Band Concerts

The USNA Band performs all over Maryland, including several times in Annapolis every summer. You won’t want to miss a free concert!

National Wildlife Center

The National Wildlife Center is a short drive from Annapolis, but I highly recommend visiting this refuge. My family went a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed their time. The crowds are minimal and it is free. There is a small charge for the guided tram tours.

Big Spend

My favorite not so frugal place to hang out in Annapolis is Cantlers.

If you want a taste of “real Maryland” try Cantlers. Butcher paper tablecloths, waitresses that call you “hon” and “sugar” and full crabs tossed right on your table is all part of this experience. This place is a local favorite so be prepared to wait on a weekend evening just to get a parking space.

Photo Credits: Jeff Kubina, Radio Rover, ursusdave, The ClayTaurus

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  1. Shirley says:

    Toni, I just thought I’d send a note saying thank you for planting this idea in my head a couple of years ago through another post that you’d written. We did the staycation thing last year and loved it. There are places that we NEVER go because of the cost and so we decided that we’d take about $500 and do the things that we normally would never do right here in our metropolis. So, my hubby and I came up with something different to do every day of the week. The surprise part was that we didn’t tell the kids what we were planning to do. They just had to wait until we arrived at whatever place we chose.

    We had a blast doing this, and I think we might plan one again next year. There’s so much to do in our area that our next staycation will be completely different. And, considering that this $500 that we spent was on a family of six, I think we had one very frugal staycation and the memories will live on.

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