One of the most impressive sights in historic Annapolis is “middies” — Naval officers in training — walking about, sharp and tight in their dress uniforms. The U.S. Naval Academy is a block from the waterfront and welcomes visitors to the park-like campus.

6 Things to Know Before You Go to the USNA

1 – Where to Enter the U.S. Naval Academy

U.S. Naval Academy Entrance
Pedestrian entrance to the Naval Academy

You enter through Gate 1.

It’s at the corner of King George and Randall streets, down the hill from the state capitol near the Annapolis waterfront.

U.S. Naval Academy Entrance
Vehicle entrance at Gate 1. You must have a pass to get in here.

You must park outside the gate and walk-in. There’s a small parking lot inside the gate, but only for valid handicapped tags or special passes.

The public is allowed in from Sunrise to 5pm. But check the website for restrictions on any given day.

2 – You Must Go Through Security

U.S. Naval Academy Visitors Center
U.S. Naval Academy Visitor Center public entrance

You’re going to get carded. 

Anyone over the age of 16 must show a valid photo ID, then you walk through a metal detector. While very accessible to the public, there’s tight security.

Once you get through security, you can walk outside onto campus, or walk inside down a long hall past the sports complex, to the visitor’s desk and gift shop. You’ll also find a small historical museum.

U.S. Naval Academy Visitor Center interactive map
An interactive display map in the Naval Academy Visitor Center. United States Naval Academy Admissions briefings, lasting approximately one hour are held at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday, on the second deck of the Visitor Center. For information on closings on federal holidays, visit the Admissions website.

3 – Tours Are Available

U.S. Naval Academy dormitory
Bancroft Hall

There are several tour options starting at the visitors center.

You can do a self-guided tour, but be aware that the public is restricted from many areas unless you have a guide. Some areas prohibit jogging, cycling, and pet walking. The folks at the visitor’s desk have maps and are very helpful with directions.

4 – The USNA Yard

U.S. Naval Academy Yard
The statue of Tecumseh, an Indian warrior, stands watch over Tecumseh Court

The campus is called the “Yard.”

It’s a mix of early 20th-century and modern buildings with grassy spaces in between.

Newer buildings are tucked among the historic in limited space, so it’s hugely confusing to get around without a guide. Doable, but challenging, even with a map.

The tour includes a look at a dorm room inside Bancroft Hall.

U.S. Naval Academy dorm room
Typical midshipman dorm room in Bancroft Hall

5 – Try to Time Your Visit to See a Drill

US Marine Corp silent drill performance
USMC Battle Color Detachment Silent Drill Performance

The campus is constant activity, on weekdays and weekends.

Middies dressed in fatigues can be marching in tight formation around one corner, while others in white-dress uniforms stroll casually nearby, and another group, looking like regular college students in street clothes,

Certain midshipman drills are open to the public and can be impressive to watch. You can find when and where through the Visitor Center desk.

Noon meal formations for the Brigade of Midshipmen are held 12:05pm on weekdays during the academic year, weather permitting, in Tecumseh Court.

6 – Public Access Can Change at Anytime

Main U.S. Naval Academy Chapel
Main Naval Academy Chapel located at a high point of the Yard, was dedicated in 1908 & conducts Catholic & Protestant services that are open to the public.

Be aware that access can be limited depending on what’s going on any given day.  Check security restrictions before visiting. The hours vary depending on the time of year.

More About Visiting Annapolis…

Overview on What to See and Do in Annapolis

Historic Main Street

Annapolis Waterfront

Maryland State Capital

U.S. Naval Academy

West Street (arts & entertainment district)

Maryland Avenue (antique & vintage row)

Eastport (boating neighborhood)

Colonial Mansions & Other Houses

Haunted Houses & Pubs in Annapolis

Annapolis Nightlife

Getting Around Annapolis

What To See & Do Just Outside Annapolis

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