There’s nothing quite like getting acquainted with an area by paddling through its waterways. In and around Annapolis, the scenery from a paddleboard, kayak, or canoe is breathtaking. And because you’re moving relatively slowly, there’s plenty of time to absorb your surroundings.

Here, that could mean watching a regatta out on the bay, admiring the arc of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, or witnessing up close the perfectly still stance of a Great Blue Heron before it flaps its wings and takes flight. 

Find your happy place on the water 

Seeking a quiet, peaceful paddle? Then you may consider heading out early in the morning before the crowds form and the sun beams hot overhead, or just before sundown. Either way, you’ll find a fair amount of solitude—save for fishermen, the occasional leaping fish, and a smattering of folks like yourself. 

 Wednesday Night Sailboat Races

Some of our tributaries can get busy, especially on beautiful summer days during the weekend when scores of sail boats and power boats take to popular waterways in and near the Annapolis Harbor. Another high-traffic time? Wednesday Night Sailing Races, which happen weekly between the end of April and the beginning of September. They’re fun to watch—but you may prefer to see them from the top of Spa Creek Bridge or the deck of a waterfront restaurant rather than on Spa Creek. With 100-plus boats participating in the race, it gets crowded. But if you like to be in the thick of the action, you’ll find it late spring and summer Wednesday nights on Spa Creek. 

Rent a paddleboard, canoe or kayak while you’re in town 

In Annapolis, you don’t have to own a boat or paddleboard to get on the water in one. An increasing number of local outfitters are providing visitors the equipment, the gear and, in some cases, even guided tours to experience one of the most awesome ways to get to know the area. 

 Paddleboarding

Whether you want a straightforward paddling experience or something a little more out of the ordinary, Annapolis can provide it. How about a guided night time paddle with lit-up boards to lead the way? Or an early morning yoga class on the calm of Spa Creek—atop a paddle board? Whatever type of experience you’re looking for, you’ll find it in Annapolis.

Sailing the ChesapeakeLaunch your own boat  

Maybe you’re already a pro and just need to know where to launch your board, canoe or kayak in Annapolis. Here are some popular parks where you can launch your small vessel: 

Back Creek Nature Park (7314 Edgewood Rd Annapolis, MD 21403) is a recently renovated urban ecology park that abuts Back Creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Here you’ll find a pier for kayaks and other small boats. If you want to explore the land, there are also 12 acres with plenty of nature trails.  

Truxton Park (273 Hilltop Ln, Annapolis, MD 21403), site of the Pip Moyer Recreation Center and a public swimming pool, also has a public boat launch that leads to Spa Creek. 

Amos Garrett Park (101 Spa View Ave, Annapolis, MD) is one of the town’s many “street-end parks” where land meets the picturesque shoreline. A small quiet spot, it provides some park benches, a sandy kayak launch, and even a small pier for dinghies. If you head downstream, you’ll enjoy views of the Annapolis Historic district. 

Check out some of our partners below, or click here for a full directory of paddleboard and kayak options in town.