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Fort McHenry

Tour the historic defense building which was the inspiration for the U.S. national anthem.

Fort McHenry helped shape the identity of the nation. It was a critical defense post during the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem that later became the national anthem. Today you can tour this harbor-side attraction to learn about its fascinating history.

On the morning of September 14, 1812, though the British navy had bombarded the harbor all day and all night, the fort still held. As the British fleet withdrew, a new flag was erected at the fort. This was the scene that inspired lawyer Francis Scott Key to write The Defense of Fort McHenry, which won the hearts of Americans when it became The Star-Spangled Banner.

Take the family to see the setting of "the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave." The tour starts in the Visitor Center with a short orientation movie about the fort’s history. There are also interactive displays, which show uniforms, weapons, maps and animations of the Battle of Baltimore, the Civil War and World War I.

Continue to the barracks and officer's quarters outside. When you see the cannons and stare out over the bay it is easy to imagine the fierce battle that took place here over 200 years ago. Read the displays throughout the park to learn interesting facts, such as the story of the gunpowder store which miraculously didn’t explode during a bomb raid. You can take part in the changing of the flag ceremony with a replica of the original flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes. It is so large that a handful of people are needed to fold it.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine is situated on the edge of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and is accessible by water taxi, car and bus. The fort is open daily, with extended opening hours in summer. Take a self-guided tour or follow a volunteer. The cheap entrance ticket is valid for a whole week and children under 16 enter for free.


Guide to Exploring around Fort McHenry


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Lodging Near Fort McHenry

See all 196 Hotels near Fort McHenry
$74
Radisson Hotel Baltimore Downtown - Inner Harbor

Radisson Hotel Baltimore Downtown - Inner Harbor

101 W Fayette St, Baltimore
3.6
of 5, from 3,585 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Radisson Hotel Baltimore Downtown - Inner Harbor is a 10-minute walk from the Inner Harbor and Baltimore Convention Center. Attractions within a 10-minute walk of the hotel include Walters Art Museum and the Maryland Historical Society. Camden Yards is 12 minutes away on foot.

Baltimore Charmer Canton's Finest

Baltimore Charmer Canton's Finest

1120 S Robinson St, Baltimore
5.0
of 5, from 1 reviews
0.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Baltimore, this property is 0.1 mi (0.2 km) from Canton Waterfront Park and within 3 mi (5 km) of National Aquarium in Baltimore and American Visionary Art Museum. USS Constellation and Fort McHenry are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$71
The Brookshire Suites Inner Harbor, BW Premier Collection

The Brookshire Suites Inner Harbor, BW Premier Collection

120 E Lombard St, Baltimore
4.1
of 5, from 990 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Baltimore, this hotel is within walking distance of The Gallery and USS Constellation. Also nearby are National Aquarium in Baltimore and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Global Luxury Suites at Whetstone Way

Global Luxury Suites at Whetstone Way

1631 Whetstone Way, Baltimore
3.0
of 5, from 1 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Baltimore, this apartment is within 1 mi (2 km) of Baltimore Museum of Industry and American Visionary Art Museum. Fort McHenry and USS Constellation are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$160
Inn at 2920

Inn at 2920

2920 Elliott Street, Baltimore
4.9
of 5, from 65 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Canton, this bed & breakfast is 0.1 mi (0.2 km) from Korean War Memorial and within 3 mi (5 km) of National Aquarium in Baltimore and USS Constellation. American Visionary Art Museum and M&T Bank Stadium are also within 3 mi (5 km).

$239
Sagamore Pendry Baltimore

Sagamore Pendry Baltimore

1715 Thames St., Baltimore
4.7
of 5, from 67 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Fells Point, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Baltimore Tattoo Museum and Fort McHenry. National Aquarium in Baltimore and American Visionary Art Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$129
Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor

Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor

300 Light Street, Baltimore
4.3
of 5, from 1,578 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Skywalks link this gleaming 14-story hotel to the Baltimore Convention Center on one side and the Inner Harbor on the other; all major attractions, including the National Aquarium and Oriole Park are within walking distance.

$117
Hyatt Place Baltimore Inner Harbor

Hyatt Place Baltimore Inner Harbor

511 S Central Ave, Baltimore
4.4
of 5, from 826 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Baltimore, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Baltimore Tattoo Museum and National Aquarium in Baltimore. USS Constellation and American Visionary Art Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km).