USNA-United States Naval Academy
The presence of the United States Naval Academy goes a long way in setting the tone for Annapolis. The USNA came to Annapolis, MD in mid-1845 as a place where budding officers could find an alternative to the bigger cities wherein they could study with little distraction. Over the ensuing years the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis has made an imprint on the town, enhancing its already-impressive nautical culture.
Navy Events and Information
Although Induction Day and Commissioning Week which feature a Blue Angels flyover, are massive area events, the presence of the US Naval Academy means that all throughout the academic year there are Navy related events.
For a complete calendar of events including musical performances, tours, and more, click here.
Applying to the United States Naval Academy
Although it is an accredited college, there is more to gaining admissions to the USNA than applying. In addition to meeting the Academy’s stringent admission requirements, students have to attain an endorsement from either a member of Congress, the president or vice president of the US, an active or retired Navy or Marine Corps official or one of a handful of others qualified to provide a Navy endorsement. Students also must demonstrate high moral character and pass a detailed medical battery. USNA Admission details
USNA Visitor Information
All visitors will enter through the Visitor Access Center at Gate 1 of the USNA. Pedestrians can access the visitors center through an entrance on Randall Street between Prince George and King George Streets, or from an entrance on Prince George Street at Craig Street.
All visitors 18 and up must have a valid government-issued photo ID. Your passport is required for any non-US citizen.
Don’t plan on driving into the Academy unless you have a USNA ID, Department of Defense credentials, or handicapped tags. Park on the street or in one of the many parking garages/lots throughout downtown Annapolis.
For more information, click here.
Guided tours of the Naval Academy are offered year-round and depart from the Visitor Center. Times for the tours depend on the time of year. There is a fee for tours: $10.50 for adults, $9.50 for Seniors 62 and over, $8.50 for children from 1st grade through high school. Younger children are free.
The Visitors Center is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter before noon.
For more information, click here.
Weekdays: 10 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.
July – August
Monday-Saturday: 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.
Monday-Saturday: 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Naval Academy Class Reunions
No university celebrates reunions like the United States Naval Academy. Reunions seemingly occur almost every weekend and you will find reunion goers filling downtown Annapolis hotels and restaurants. For a complete list of reunions, click here.
USNA Football, Lacrosse & other Sports
As a premier university, Navy has a storied athletic history dating back to some of the earliest stirrings of intercollegiate play. Navy football draws huge crowds and nothing compares to the rivalry between Navy’s Midshipmen and the Army’s Cadets. This game dates back to the 1890s and has resulted in a preponderance of games going in Navy’s favor including the first game every played and the most recent meeting. As of 2015, the score stands at Navy 60 games, Army 49 games with 7 ties.
The excellence of Navy’s lacrosse teams is legendary. Both men’s and women’s teams have been among the finalists in Patriots League play. Home games are held in the USNA stadium on Rowe Boulevard in downtown Annapolis.
Navy games in any sport are always a great excuse to come to Annapolis and spend a night or a few days. Adults and kids alike like nothing better than to watch the Midshipmen march onto the field. Catch a game in one of the local venues or even watch a game with other fans from one of the classic Annapolis bars. Men and women’s athletics are a point of pride.
Naval Academy Traditions
Each year, the graduates of the United States Naval Academy will receive their commissions and head out to become the leaders of the United States Navy. These midshipmen have worked hard and will face dangers and challenges to keep our country free and safe. The Commissioning Week events, full of tradition, displays the pomp and circumstance that reflects the educational and patriotic commitment made by these young men and women.
Held towards the end of May, Commissioning week starts with the ring dance. Here the 2nd Class Midshipmen, juniors in the vernacular of most universities, receive their class ring and celebrate with their dates. Concerts and award ceremonies are held throughout the weekend.
Monday afternoon brings the climbing of the Herndon statue, an obilisk not unlike the Washington monument that has been thoroughly greased and adorned with a Midshipmen’s cover. Plebes end their first grueling year when they work together to climb the statue and grab that cover. At this point, they are no longer Plebes and have all the rights and responsibilities of a true Midshipman. It is said that the Midshipman who gets the cover will lead the nation’s Navy.
The Navy sends their most elite flying team to Annapolis to honor the new graduates of the Naval Academy, and honor they do. Their performances over two days are unlike any I’ve seen elsewhere. They fly up and down the Severn River performing an array of stunts and maneuvers that will leave you amazed and grateful for our Navy flyers and the technology that put these planes in the air. The Severn River bridge on Route 450 is closed during the performances. The gates to the Academy are closed to incoming traffic. The first day is billed as a “rehearsal” but it is just as impressive as the actual performance the next day.
During the actual graduation ceremony at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Rowe Boulevard, the Blue Angels make their final tribute and buzz the stadium and the graduating First Class.
The color parade should not be missed if you are impressed with precision, unity, pomp and circumstance. This is an impressive display by a group of very impressive young men and women of the Naval Academy.
Finally, the week culminates in the graduation held at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. You must have tickets to attend. After the ceremony, the members of our US Air Force, the US Coast Guard, the US Marine Corps and the United States Navy who graduated from the USNA are sworn into our Armed Forces.
Music has been a major mainstay in military culture for thousands of years. From drum beats providing the correct cadence for marching, to bugles signaling the start of mealtime, musical instruments have played an instrumental role in the daily lives of soldiers and offices all over the world. Over time, the importance of music led to the formation of professional music ensembles comprised of military personnel, known as military bands. In America, the tradition of military bands can be traced back almost as far as the founding of our nation.
The United States Naval Academy Band, “The Navy’s Oldest and Finest,” was officially founded on November 22, 1852, but instrumental music being played on the Naval Academy Yard dates back as far as the founding of the Academy in 1845. This innovative and versatile ensemble is the oldest band in the Navy, the third oldest active military band, and one of the oldest professional musical organizations in the entire country.
Annual Croquet Match between St. John’s College and the USNA
For thirty-two years, students from both St. John’s (the Johnnies) and the Naval Academy (the Mids) have been engaging in healthy competition via the game of croquet. The croquet match kicks off at 1 p.m. and is the highlight of the event, but is additional entertainment too. The beloved lawn party and the chance to dress up in festive hats, fancy attire, and picnic on the St. John’s lawn are also part of the event. In addition, the St. John’s Freshman Chorus and Naval Academy’s Trident Brass Band will perform.
As established on the St. John’s blog, the seemingly unlikely pairing of the Mids and Johnnies isn’t really all that unlikely. Despite the fact that St. John’s and USNA function for very different purposes, the competition makes for common ground between these two institutions with no competitive equal.
Not familiar with croquet? It’s a game of nine hoop or “wickets” that originated in London back in the mid 1800s. Played with wooden or plastic balls and mallets, the goal is to hit the ball in play through the hoop. If you’ve tried your hand at it, you know how surprisingly difficult it is! This is all the more reason to cheer and clap for the players.
In addition to seeing Mids and Johnnies, you’ll see many St. John’s and USNA alumni, friends, and family. In other words, this Annapolis Cup is wholly Annapolis.
Annapolis Hotels near the US Naval Academy
Whether you are coming for a long term stay or just popping in for a big game, there are plenty of hotel and bed and breakfast choices within everything from a short drive to a brisk walk. While there are obvious advantages of staying near the campus, including convenience and parking, Annapolis does have a respectable public transportation system and is a walkable, bikeable city. Hotels a little farther away will cost less without taking too much away from the experience, especially if you don’t mind the short commute.
The closest hotels to the Academy and the United States Navy and Marine Corps Memorial Stadium include the:
If you like the water and a view of the Naval Academy from the water, then book the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel. They also have a great bar/restaurant where you can enjoy a Pusser’s Painkiller and watch the boats go in and out of Ego Alley.