Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Baltimore

#1 of 96 in Historic Sites in Maryland
National Park · Hidden Gem · Monument
The fortress that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner," Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine displays artifacts from all the wars fought near its walls. Soldiers at the fort successfully defended Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812. The fort was used in military operations until World War II, acting an army hospital in World War I and as a Coast Guard base in World War II. You can reach the military establishment by water taxi from Inner Harbor in the center of Baltimore. Historical reenactments of the siege of 1812 and other periods take place regularly. To visit Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine on your trip to Baltimore, use our Baltimore trip itinerary builder app.
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Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
3,378 reviews
  • This fort is a great piece of American history. Everyone should be able to get a chance to visit it at least once in their lifetime. It’s easy to get to,, actually there’s a free bus that stops in....  more »
  • The visitor center was open the day after Labor Day. Don't miss the exhibits inside... they give a meaningful and inspiring intro to the fort. If you bring your own US flag or buy one in the gift...  more »
  • I went here with my wife, in-laws, and 3 kids under 8 years old. I really enjoyed learning the history of the fort. They had a few people in 1812 attire who were doing live demonstrations of life on base. Most of the original buildings have been maintained very well, and you can walk through them. Each building you can walk through has descriptions of what it was used for, and a biography of some of the more famous people who lived there. There is a short movie in the visitor center that describes how Francis Scott Key came to be on a British Navy ship during their assault on the fort. Then he witnessed something that inspired the writing of the Star Spangled Banner. Highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. We spent about 2.5 hours walking around and talking to the park staff.
  • Very cool place to visit. Lots of walking! Always watch the movies before going out into the fort!! So uplifting to see people standing and hands are on hearts or saluting the flag, when they finish the film with our wonderful national anthem!!!! The flag talk was really cool! Loved the musket demonstration and the fife and drum demo! More fun to go and see when this stuff is going on!!

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