With more than enough to fulfill your beach day fantasies, Chesapeake Bay is a short drive from Washington, DC and offers a wide array of water-centric and historical adventures.

Here’s my guide to every must-visit spot:

Stay at the Waterfront Hotel

Beautiful view of Chesapeake Bay at the Waterfront Hotel

Photo courtesy of the Waterfront Hotel

The Annapolis Waterfront Hotel is the place to be to get the most out of your Chesapeake Bay experience. The hotel is situated directly on the harbor in the heart of downtown Annapolis, with easy access to shopping, restaurants, and numerous historical sites. I loved relaxing in my room or on the dock and soaking up the sun while listening to the calming sounds of waves lapping on the shore.

Address: 80 Compromise street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 | Phone: 888-773-0786 | Website: The Waterfront Hotel

Hike the Captain John Smith Trail

The Captain John Smith Trail has starting points all over Chesapeake Bay.

Photo courtesy of NPS.gov

I always began my day with a hike along the historic Captain John Smith Trail while the temperature is still cool. The headquarters is a great place to start. Pick up a map and brochure which details the sites and key places to visit. The trail is open every day of the year, rain or shine, and has more than 40 geocaches to make the trek all the more exciting.

If geocaching isn’t your speed, it’s a great place to picnic and enjoy a quiet day learning more about our country’s origins up close and personal.

Address: 410 Severn Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403 | Phone: (410) 260-2488 | Website: NPS.gov

Explore the Chesapeake Bay By Boat

Boating is a great way to get to know Chesapeake Bay.

Photo courtesy of Fish the Bay Charters

I love to get to know the bay from a different perspective on one of the many boat tours offered by Waterman Heritage Tours. Each trip is customizable to fit your schedule and highlights many fascinating aspects of the harbor. With so many options, you can pick between a scenic kayak tour or sunset sailing trip for a well-rounded weekend of relaxation, or get your hands dirty with a crabbing and fishing adventure.

Address: 716 Giddings Avenue, Suite 42, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 | Website: Watermen Heritage Tours

Visit the Annapolis Maritime Museum

Go Annapolis Maritime Museum to explore the lush history of Chesapeake Bay.

Photo courtesy of Annapolis Maritime Museum

When the sun is high in the sky, escape the heat with a trip to the Annapolis Maritime Museum. The museum is located in the last oyster-packing plant in Annapolis, showcasing the rich maritime heritage of the city through exhibits and hands-on programs. One of my personal favorites is the free digital walking tour ‘The Homefront: Eastport During World War II.’ This gives you a break from colonial history and a unique perspective of the more recent history of the city.

Address: 723 Second Street, Annapolis, MD 21403 | Phone: 410-295-0104 | Website: Annapolis Maritime Museum

Relax at the Rod ‘N’ Reel Resort

The Rod 'N' Reel is right on Chesapeake Bay and a perfect way to relax.

Photo courtesy of Rod ‘N’ Reel Resort

If you have time to travel further down the coast of the bay, Chesapeake Beach is a definite must-go. Not only are there numerous beaches along the way to get your tan on, but you can visit the gorgeous Rod ‘N’ Reel Resort Hotel. The quaint spa is a perfect place for full rejuvenation with a full list of services to choose from, either a simple manicure or a deep tissue massage. The ultimate end to your weekend: let your sore muscles unwind in the sauna before taking a walk around the marina.

Address:  4165 Mears Ave, Chesapeake Beach, MD 20732 | Phone: (410) 257-5596 | Website: Rod ‘N’ Reel Resort Hotel