Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, Baltimore

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
3,385 reviews
  • This fort had great views of Baltimore and trails. I arrived early and found a lot of people walking, jogging, and exercising on the lawn. The fort sits in a big area with trails for walking and...  more »
  • Took my son (14) and went with an adult cousin to the Fort. Nice walk along the water. Fort is in beautiful condition. Can be done quickly or you can take your time and read through each room and...  more »
  • The visitor center, the movie they played and the rangers and staff members were all great. It's a wonderful way of teaching American history to kids.  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!!
  • I absolutely LOVE this place. In fact, it's one of my very favorite places in Baltimore! The gift shop is fun, the video is informative (and even better when Baltimoreans yell "O" and tourists are confused!), the waterfront is beautiful and peaceful... It's awesome that you only have to pay if you want to go into the fort because it's such a relaxing place to be. I love all the history and learning that is here too.
  • Stopped at Fort McHenry on the way home from Washington, D.C. The visitor center is small, but nice. It contains some exhibits and is a great place to begin your visit to Fort McHenry. Tickets to see the Fort are $15 for adults. We ended up purchasing an annual membership to the US National Parks for $80–a membership we’ll easily benefit from. Surrounding the Fort is a lovely park area, which offers scenic views. The Fort, itself, contains a number of displays—ranging from the stand-and-read to the interactive. Our 9 year old and 11 year old thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, pictured is the ‘flag presentation,’ which included a number of interesting facts about the flag, US history, and life around and before the early 1800s.
  • Truly an amazing place that every single person should see. The visitors center is well done with excellent info that really draws you into the history and our flag. The fort is well kept and having reenactments makes it even that much better. This site really makes you proud to be an American.

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