Annapolis: U.S. Naval Academy

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.

U.S. Naval Academy Public Entrance, Annapolis, MD
Vistors’ entrance to the U.S. Naval Academy. All visitors must go through the Visitors Center just inside Gate 1
U.S. Naval Academy Gate 1
Gate 1 at the U.S. Naval Academy is the general public entrance. It’s where you’ll find a bicycle rack.

(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.

U.S. Naval Academy Visitor Center
U.S. Naval Academy Visitor Center.All visitors must go through. A museum and gift shop are on the other side of the complex.

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.

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 federal holiday closings visit the Admissions website.

(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.

U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis
The main quad of the U.S. Naval Academy

(4) The campus is called the “Yard.” It’s a mix of early 20th-century and modern buildings.

Tecumseh Court at U.S. Naval Academy
The statue of Tecumseh, an Indian warrior, stands watch over Tecumseh Court where noon meal formations for the Brigade of Midshipmen are held (12:05pm ET weekdays during the academic year, weather permitting)

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.

Bancroft Hall at the U.S. Naval Academy
Bancroft Hall is the largest college dormitory in the U.S. The rotunda, as well as Memorial Hall, are open to the public.
Midshipman dormitory room at U.S. Naval Academy
Typical midshipman dorm room in Bancroft Hall.

(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,

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

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.

U.S. Navy submarine force centennial memorial
One of the many memorials on the Navy Academy yard. This marks the 100th anniversary of the Navy’s submarine force.
U.S. Naval Academy submarine memorial
In the waves beneath the submarine are faces commemorating the submariners who drown and dolphins who guide them on their way.
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 which are open to the public.
John Paul Jones crypt at U.S. Naval Academy
Crypt of John Paul Jones, considered the father of the U.S. Navy. His remains were interred into this crypt beneath the Naval Academy chapel in 1906 in a ceremony presided over by President Theodore Roosevelt.

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