Chesapeake Fun: Cruising with Kids

Cruising the Chesapeake this summer? Have kids? The several maritime museums along the Chesapeake Bay are one option for shore excursions, but there are plenty of others to take advantage of all over the Bay while still remaining close to the water.

Downtown Annapolis is a history hub. One could visit the State House, enjoy tours and crafts at the William Paca House and Gardens, tour the Naval Academy (bring your ID), or even sign up for a historical tour led by a guide in period dress. For something more on the adventurous side, you can make reservations to sail on the Sea Gypsy with Pirate Adventures of the Chesapeake. When the kids just need to run or swing from the monkey bars, there’s the Annapolis Downtown Playground on the corners of Compromise Street and Newman Street.

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor means you can dock right in the middle of the city bustle. The Port Discovery Children’s Museum and the National Aquarium are along the harbor itself, along with several air-conditioned stores and restaurants if you feel the need to get out of the heat. Want to get out on the water? Check out Chessie, Baltimore's resident dragon at Baltimore Paddleboats. If not, you can catch the subway at Charles Center Station and visit the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

The town of St. Michaels has several marinas to choose from when looking for a place to stay. It may be difficult to navigate around the most advertised attractions (the breweries and wineries) when looking for things your kids will enjoy, but St. Michaels also has, alongside the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Shore Pedal and Paddle. They offer bicycles, kayaks, electric bikes, and stand up paddleboard rentals, as well as flexible guided tours that can be planned in advance and built to suit the group.

If visiting Norfolk, VA, stop by Nauticus, a maritime museum that offers transient boat slips. The museum features educational exhibits based around the Battleship Wisconsin, a U.S Navy battleship from World War II, as well as maritime commerce. The museum also shows educational films throughout the day.

With parks, museums, historical tours, shopping, kayaking, battleships, zoos, and aquariums, there’s something out there to light up the eyes of any cruising kid this summer. by Emily Parks