One of the most impressive sights in historic Annapolis is “middies” walking about, sharp and tight in their dress uniforms, naval officers in training.
The U.S. Naval Academy is very welcoming to public visits. Volunteers are on standby to lead tours, starting at the Visitors Center through the park-like campus.
What to Know Before You Go
(1) You enter through Gate 1 at the corner of King George and Randall streets, just down the hill from the state capitol.
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.
(2) 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 visitors desk and gift shop. You’ll also find a small historical museum.
(3) Tours are available at the visitors center (next to the gift shop and small museum).
You can do a self-guided tour, but be aware that the public is restricted from many areas. Some areas prohibit jogging, cycling and pet walking. The folks at the visitors desk have maps and are very helpful with directions.
(4) The campus is called the “Yard.” It’s a mix of early 20th-century and modern buildings.
Newer buildings are tucked among the historic in the limited space, so it’s hugely confusing to get around without a guide. Doable, but challenging, even with a map.
(5) The campus is constant activity, 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.
(6) Public access can change anytime. 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.