William Paca Garden
William Paca Garden
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William Paca Garden

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Start your exploration of Annapolis: Museum Without Walls
at the William Paca House and Garden.

This five-part Georgian mansion was built in the 1760s by William Paca, one of Maryland’s four Signers of the Declaration of Independence and the state’s third Governor. Carefully restored by Historic Annapolis beginning in 1965, today it is recognized as one of the finest 18th-century homes in the country and a National Historic Landmark. Guided tours of the house, which features period furnishings and paintings, reveal the inner workings of an upper-class household in colonial and revolutionary Annapolis.

Painstakingly restored to its original splendor using details drawn from historic artwork and archaeological excavations, the two-acre colonial William Paca Garden is a picturesque retreat from the bustle of the city. Visitors can view native and heirloom plants while exploring the terraced landscape’s formal Parterres, naturalistic Wilderness, and practical Kitchen garden. The charming Summerhouse beckons guests to cross the latticework bridge over a fish-shaped pond. The garden frequently hosts weddings, receptions, and other special events.

William Paca House and Garden
186 Prince George Street
Annapolis, MD  21401

History of the William Paca Garden

The William Paca Garden is a two acre oasis of natural beauty in the bustling center of Annapolis’ Historic District.  Although many colonial Annapolitans had gardens, only Paca’s has been returned to its original splendor and opened to the public.  Intrigued by garden details in the background of Charles Willson Peale’s 1772 portrait of Paca, researchers were able to reconstruct the site from a series of archeological digs that turned up evidence of the garden’s former glory.

The brick walls enclose a series of terraces characteristic of colonial gardens in the Chesapeake region.  The uppermost terrace serves as a platform for entertaining and viewing the garden.  The next two levels are laid out in parterres, geometric designs that demonstrate human control over nature.  The Rose Parterre is filled with heirloom varieties, while the Flower Parterre provides three seasons of colorful bloom.  The Holly and Boxwood Parterres provide year round structure with their carefully shaped evergreen plants. 

The Summerhouse, reconstructed from the Paca portrait, serves as a focal point in the garden.  On its upper floor the Paca family could view the garden, entertain guests, and catch cool summer breezes.  The Chinese style latticework bridge provides a path over the pond to this inviting garden retreat.

The Summerhouse sits in the Wilderness, which reflects the picturesque style of gardening that was fashionable in England after 1740.  Serpentine pathways meander between beds of mixed plantings. The emphasis today is on native plants of North America that had been brought into cultivation by Paca’s time. 

Paca conceived water features to contain and channel the natural runoff across his property.  A small brick canal once again carries water away.  A natural spring, still active after several centuries and once again sheltered by a springhouse, feeds the pond. In Paca’s day, the spring water also supplied a bath house in the opposite corner of the garden.

Plants of the 18th century are known from books and letters.  Roses, perennials and annuals in the parterres reflect what would have been available in the colonial period.  The Kitchen Garden provides fresh delicacies such as salad greens, peas and melons.  In the fruit garden heirloom varieties of apples, pears, plums, cherries and figs are carefully trained into espaliers and cordons to take advantage of limited space in an urban garden.

Once covered by a 200 room hotel, the Paca Garden is now owned by the State of Maryland. Historic Annapolis oversaw its restoration in the 1970s and continues to manage it. Today, the garden is again host to visitors as Historic Annapolis celebrates holidays, weddings and special events.  Children and adults enjoy educational programming.  Many gardeners make a ritual of attending the Paca Garden Plant Sale on Mother’s Day weekend every year.   


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Holiday Hours (November – December):
Friday, Saturday & Monday: 10 am – 4 pm
Closed Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Winter Hours (January – March/Maryland Day Weekend):

Summer Hours (April/Maryland Day Weekend – August):
Monday – Friday: 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 3 pm

Fall Hours (September – October):
Monday, Tuesday & Friday: 10 am – 4 pm
Saturday & Sunday: 10 am – 3 pm
Closed Wednesday & Thursday

Guided tours of the House are offered every hour, on the half hour; the first tour is at 10:30 am and the last tour is offered 90 minutes prior to closing.

Self-guided tours of the garden are also available. Last entry to the garden is 30 minutes prior to closing.

Hours may be subject to change due to weather and special events.

Admission Fees

Self-Guided Garden Tour Admission Fees:
General Admission (3 and up) – $5
Historic Annapolis Members – Free
Children under 3 – Free

Guided Tour Admission Fees:
General Admission* – $12
Child (3-17) – $7
Historic Annapolis Members – Free
Children under 3 – Free

Historic Annapolis is a proud partner in the Museums for All program, which provides free admission to those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits). Provide proof of assistance with SNAP EBT or WIC and your Photo ID to receive free admission for up to 4 people at both sites.

*Discount available at the door for seniors (60+), AAA, First Responders, Teachers, Active Military, Students, and Museum Professionals with ID. Discount applicable to General Admission price only.

Directions and Parking

William Paca House and Garden
186 Prince George Street
Annapolis, MD  21401


Parking is not available at the William Paca House and Garden. Please visit accessannapolis.com for the most up-to-date information on parking in downtown Annapolis.

Click here for walking directions from nearby parking garages.

Group Tours and Field Trips

Group tours and field trips can be arranged by appointment with advance notice. Please contact Janet Hall at grouptours@annapolis.org or call 410.990.4514.