Situated only 35 miles (56km) south of Baltimore, Annapolis is not only the small capital of Maryland but also considered the sailing capital of the USA. A huge concentration of recreational and racing yachts shelter in its marina.
It's also a college town and has been home to the US Naval Academy since 1845. The waterfront has grown in to an attractive district having retained its 18th century appeal, despite the collection of boutiques, upmarket shops, bars, restaurants, and inns.
These cater to the onshore sailing crowd and tourists drawn to the city's history, nautical outlook, and reputation as a party town. Much of Annapolis's colonial past is preserved in the thousands of historical buildings scattered along the narrow streets and brick-paved sidewalks.
The concentration of original colonial-style houses and grand public buildings is greater here than anywhere else in the country. Among the elite brick manors are numerous pastel-coloured rows of wooden slatted cottages that lead down to the waterfront.
At the centre of Annapolis is the Maryland State House that once served as the capitol of the country, where George Washington resigned as Commander-in-Chief and where Congress authorised the treaty ending the Revolutionary War.
The city is a good base from which to explore the small towns across Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern Shore, by way of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Annapolis is also ideally situated for weekend trips to Washington DC and provides more budget-friendly accommodation for travellers to America's capital.