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
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.
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
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.
3 – Tours Are Available
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
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.
5 – Try to Time Your Visit to See a Drill
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
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.
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