Sights to see close to home this summer

While beach vacations and lake retreats are enticing, summer’s best memories could be formed right at home — or close to it for those living near Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Your family could get a bird’s-eye view of Baltimore from the top of a sky scraper, see the massive bells of the National Cathedral up close or get the chance to steer a tour boat while taking in the sights from the water.

“It’s learning history,” says Marsha Wise, tour coordinator for the Baltimore Heritage Corporation, of sightseeing in your own backyard. You could learn “something you might not know whether you’ve lived here your whole life or just six months.”

If you are looking for a fun and educational adventure close to home this summer, here are a few ideas to get you started. Be sure to check the websites or call ahead for times and ticket procedures.

Sightseeing Miss Anne Captains Wheelhouse Sabrina RaymondTake a city boat tour

Cruise around Annapolis
Cruise on the Harbor Queen and listen to a narrated history about Annapolis and the U.S. Naval Academy. The boat starts in the Annapolis harbor and ventures to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge before turning back. Sometimes the captain allows kids to take the wheel. The 40-minute cruise is offered several times a day.
Cruises on the Bay by Watermark, Annapolis
Cost: $16, adults; $6 ages 3 to 11; free, ages 2 and younger.

Baltimore by boat
Depart from the harbor and pass Fort McHenry while learning about the history of the city and the significance of the fort. Kids will love the play area on the boat where they can steer from one of the wheels and pretend to be captain. The 45-minute cruise is offered several times a day. On Mondays, one child is free for every adult ticket purchased.
Cost: $19, adults; $7, ages 3-11; free, ages 2 and younger
Cruises on the Bay by Watermark, Baltimore

Washington, D.C., from the water
Pass historical monuments on the Daytime Harbor Cruise, which lasts 50 minutes. The cruise is narrated with history and fun facts about the nation's capital. Drinks and snacks are available for purchase on the boat. Be prepared to get great pictures of the Washington Monument.
National Ferry Corporation
Cost: $38.50

Click next below for spots where you can overlook at city.


Sightseeing Tower Climb 2Get a bird's-eye view

Baltimore World Trade Center's Top of the World
Look down on the city from the 27th floor of the Baltimore World Trade Center — the world’s tallest pentagonal building. Take in the view of the Inner Harbor, the Chesapeake Bay and most of the city, while guides talk about the history of the Baltimore and the building.
Cost: $6, adults; $4, ages 3-12; free, ages 2 and younger

Baltimore's Washington Monument
Climb the 227 steps to the top of the monument and enjoy the view of the city below. After being closed for renovations for five years, the monument reopened last July. Before or after your trek to the top, visit the gallery and use the interactive touchscreens for a virtual tour and history of the 200-year-old monument built from local white marble. Not open every day – Wed.-Fri. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $4-6

Washington National Cathedral
Climb 333 steps to the top of the Washington National Cathedral, get up close to the cathedral’s massive bells and take in a view like no other. The top of the cathedral is the tallest point at the highest spot in the city, offering views of Washington, D.C., as well as Maryland and Virginia. On the ascent to the top, tour guides describe the history and architecture of the cathedral. Three tours are offered: the Classic Tower Climb, the Gargoyle Tower Climb and the Combination Tower Climb. Children must be at least 48 inches tall. Parents are not permitted to carry children on the tour.
Cost: $40 for classic tour, $50 for gargoyle tour and $75 for combination tour

Click next below for historic walking tours.

Sightseeing Washington MonumentTake a historic walking tour

Four Centuries Walking Tour
Step back in time to the 1700s and follow guides dressed in colonial attire on a tour of the historic district of Annapolis. The tour stops at all the main Annapolis landmarks including the Maryland State House and Naval Academy. Guides tell the history of the area and its buildings and also relay stories of life during the 1700s and 1800s.
Annapolis Tours by Watermark
Cost: $18, adults; $10, ages 3-11; free, ages 2 and younger

Monumental Cities Tour
Tour guides lead visitors on tours of different areas of Baltimore depending on the week. One tour involves climbing the Shot Tower, while another focuses on finding gargoyles and starts and ends at the Baltimore Farmers Market. The Mount Vernon tour climbs to the top of the Washington Monument, and another explores Patterson Park and even ventures inside the famous Pagoda. The tours all cover 1 mile and include the history of the area and the significance of different buildings.
Baltimore Walking Tours
Cost: $5-10; children, free

D.C. Metro Food Tours
Taste your way through some of Washington, D.C.’s, most iconic neighborhoods (Georgetown, DuPont Circle, Capitol Hill and others), and learn about the history of the communities as well as the architecture. Most tours include five stops at restaurants to get a feel for local fare. Some restaurants serve family-style platters so tourists can taste a bit of everything, and others pick a favorite dish to serve. The 1-mile tours usually last about 3½ hours. Though children are welcome, the tour might be best for older children and teenagers.
Cost: $50-$65, depending on the tour.

By Kristy MacKaben

Updated June 2017