Historic Baltimore Seaport

Baltimore is becoming a tourist hotspot, which isn’t surprising considering that the harbor has been one of America’s oldest seaports, surviving for more than 300 years. The region has seen highs and lows and is currently undergoing a resurgence in popularity as people are rediscovering the splendor of Baltimore’s Historic Seaport.

The attractions at the Baltimore Harbor offer a range of activities for everyone in your family, choose one or several to learn the most about the historic seaport or to have the most fun possible.

Baltimore Maritime Museum

The Baltimore Maritime Museum seeks to preserve, exhibit and interpret four of Baltimore’s National Historic Landmarks, the Lightship Chesapeake, USCGC Taney, USS Torsk and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse.   That’s right, one visit to the Baltimore Maritime Museum and you get to explore four different National Historic Landmarks.

Lightship Chesapeake

The Lightship Chesapeake or Lightship 116 was once considered the most modern and capable ships in the U.S. Lighthouse Service. During its service, the Chesapeake was involved in two different hurricanes, one in 1936 and another in 1962. In both occasions the storm was so fierce that the anchor chain broke and the crews were forced to drop the spare anchor and run full ahead for many hours in a desperate attempt to remain on station and spare their lives. Since 1971 the Chesapeake was deemed a National Historic Landmark and in 1982 it was moved to its current location at the Baltimore Maritime Museum.


The USCGC Taney was built in 1935-36 as one of seven Treasury/Secretary Class cutters for the U.S. Coast Guard.  With a home base in Honolulu, Hawaii the USCGC Taney was attached to Destroyer Division 80 and saw action against the Japanese planes during the Pearl Harbor Attack.  Today the Taney is the last surviving warship afloat from the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Taney also goes by the moniker the “Queen of the Pacific” and served until 1986 and now sits at the Baltimore Maritime Museum where it’s considered a National Historic Landmark.

USS Torsk

At its inception the USS Torsk was one of only ten Tench Class fleet type submarines to actually serve in World War II. The Torsk operated from Pearl Harbor and made two significant war patrols off the coast of Japan in 1945. After WWII the USS Torsk remained in service even earning a Presidential Unit Citation in 1960 for service during the Lebanon Crisis and a Navy Commendation Medal in 1962 for actions during the Cuban Blockade.  Since 1972 this storied ship has been in Baltimore where it serves as a museum and memorial.

Ride the Ducks

If you’ve had enough history and want a little more fun infused into your excursion, try Ride the Ducks.  The Ducks are amphibious vehicles based on the WWII DUKW design. A Ducks tour will take you over the land and then into the famed Inner Harbor of Baltimore so you get to see the historic attractions from land and sea.

Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse

Baltimore’s Maritime Museum is home to the oldest surviving screw-pile lighthouse, the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse.  Built in 1855 the lighthouse rested at the mouth of the Patapsco River at a shoal known as the Seven Foot Knoll. The innovative design of this lighthouse eliminated the need for underwater masonry foundations as supports.  The lighthouse remained in service until 1988 when it was moved to the Inner Harbor in Baltimore in 1988. From 1989 to 1997 the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse was the headquarters for the Living Classrooms Foundation. In 1997 it became part of the Baltimore Maritime Museum.

Heritage Walk

If the Baltimore Maritime Museum wasn’t entertaining enough, how about taking a walk through Baltimore’s past with the Heritage Walk which connects 20 historic sites and museums There are three ways to take part in the Heritage Walk, you can go on a guided walk which is a 90-minute, 1.5 mile tour that runs between April and November. The self-guided walk lets you wander the route yourself, past all 20 historic sites. Finally, the “choose for yourself” tour lets you preselect, via the website, the sites you wish to visit so you can head directly there.

Baltimore Top of The World Observation Level

Baltimore’s Top of the World observation level is a great way to either begin or wind up a visit to this historic community. Located on the 27th floor of the World Trade Center, the world’s tallest pentagon building, gives visitors a 360 degree panoramic view of Baltimore’s skyline, the harbor and Maryland’s urban center. It’s the perfect way to take a look at the area around you and either decide what you’re going to do next, or sit back and remember the wonderful time you had exploring Baltimore’s Historic Seaport.

Fells Point Maritime Museum

The Fells Point Maritime Museum as part of the Maryland Historical Society houses some magnificent treasures. The goal of the museum is to celebrate this history of Maryland with over 350,000 artifacts. The exhibits include paintings, maritime related artifacts, painted and inlaid furniture, silver, quilts, costumes, ceramics, dolls and toys. Explore the significance of Maryland and how its inhabitants colored the world around us.

Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park

The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park honors the maritime tradition of African Americans in Maryland. Frederick Douglass life is depicted as he struggled through being an enslaved child and young man, right on the grounds where he lived and worked. Free born Isaac Myers is honored as being an African American who made a difference by becoming a national leader with Maryland roots.

Star Spangled Banner Flag House & Museum

The Star Spangled Banner Flag House & Museum offers an incredible interactive experience to its visitors as you become a part of one of the most important stories in the United State’s history. Your living history experience begins with your introduction to Mary Pickersgill, the woman who made the flag. Mary and her family and friends will then take you through their day to day activities and let you experience what it was like to live at this historical moment in time.

Creative Commons License photo credit: sneakerdog