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“A must-see”

Fort McHenry National Monument
Ranked #2 of 229 things to do in Baltimore
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Historic fort that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the U.S. national anthem.
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
102 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“A must-see”
Reviewed 26 November 2013

We visited the Fort with our 12-year-old son. We didn't have much time, but it was a perfect one-hour outing. Great film really catches the emotion of the history and the flag and song. Wonderful ranger whom the SMithsonian had "borrowed" to write the history of the physical flag. Beautiful fort--fun to climb and explore, etc.

Visited November 2013
Thank javl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,585 reviews from our community

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English first
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Best Cheap Date/Family Outing in Maryland”
Reviewed 26 November 2013

Fort McHenry National Monument has a long and storied history. It was the sight of the bombardment by the British fleet that inspired Francis Scott Key to compose our national anthem.

The visitor's center is nearly new, with a far better exhibit, gift shop, introductory video theater, in fact everything, than I remember growing up. The movie giving the history of the fort, whe War of 1812, and Baltimore's part in it, is compelling and informative. Even the drinking fountains don't taste like pool water anymore. There is an admission charge, but it gets waived for certain times, such as the Park Service's Birthday in early September. Check online for the events calendar, especially this year, because 2014 will be the 200th anniversary of the bombardment.

The grounds are large, keeping the noise of the city away. Due to its strategic position, the fort is surrounded by water on three sides. Daters can walk or bike around the fort, on the path next to the seawall, or spend hours just sitting on a park bench and watch mighty ships bring goods to our country, or watch endless pleasure craft go to and fro. You can become a connoisseur of boaters after a while.

The main attraction, however, is the fort and its history. Baltimore, and our country, were in real danger on that night of bombs and rockets, and the story the fort tells is worth remembering. In keeping with contemporary practice, the exhibits put more emphasis on real people, both the major figures like the commander, Major Armistead, but also prominent citizens who raised money for the defense, civilians who volunteered to fight, as well as the six ordinary people who were killed in the bombardment.The exhibits have been recently updated and bring home the stories of these people. They don't let kids climb on the Civil War era Rodman guns anymore, (boo) but kids will love the fort anyway. Bring a picnic basket, or drive a short way down Fort Avenue to nearby restaurants.

All around, it is an important place every American should see, and a relaxing and pleasant experience to visit again and again.

Visited September 2013
Thank 637C_O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
36 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Interesting place”
Reviewed 25 November 2013

This is an interesting place to visit. However, we have gone twice by water taxi. Both times we ended up stuck at the Fort because the water taxi did not come back to pick anyone up (once the water taxi broke down and was unable to come back, and the other time the weather turned bad, and the water taxis stopped running)

Visited March 2013
Thank mvvacation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A timeless treasure”
Reviewed 25 November 2013

As a kid growing up in Baltimore I visited it many times. As you get older and then become a senior and have deeper awareness of American history, Fort McHenry becomes increasingly impressive. The well preserved fortress and the visitor center several hundred yards away are impressive, as these things go. To me, however, what happened here 200 years ago, the literal writing of the Star Spangled Banner and the significance of that battle to our nation's survival is what turns me on. You literally stand on the "ramparts" o'er which the bombs burst in air. So it isn't hard to visualize the British frigates launching their rockets and cannon balls from the bay just off the water's edge. What a night and dawn that must have been. Seeing this, you will better understand the meaning and beauty of our National Anthem.

Visited December 2012
Thank Stormy29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Missoula, MT
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great place for the family”
Reviewed 25 November 2013

This is a wonderful place to take your family and learn about the battle that inspired our National Anthem. The kids will love the fort. See cannons and cannonballs as well as a great movie explaining the war and Baltimore's part in it.
It's also close to the inner Harbor, lots of good local food on Ft. Avenue and environs.

Visited April 2013
Thank Vaschick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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