Flag House on the Star-Spangled Banner Byway

Star-Spangled Banner Trail Sites to Visit

By Jim Meyer

Discover the places and stories that helped forge a nation and inspired The National Anthem.

Flag House on the Star-Spangled Banner Byway

Crisscrossing the Chesapeake Bay and traveling through the cities and towns of Maryland’s heartland, the 560-mile Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail takes you to battlefields and landmarks of the War of 1812. Discover the roots of American heritage and experience the beauty of Maryland at places along the trail. Paddle, pedal or picnic at more than 160 locations throughout the Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails Network.

Plan an itinerary with help from the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail map. Bonus: You can get your National Park Service Passport stamped at more than 10 locations along the trail, and also earn a geocoin along the Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine
Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

The ramparts of Fort McHenry withstood 25 hours of British bombardment. The following morning, the victorious defenders of the fort raised the American flag, inspiring Francis Scott Key to compose “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which became the National Anthem. Today, you can enjoy educational exhibits, a walk on the grounds and ranger-led flag programs at the fort. Arrive at dusk to help fold the flag,  then head into surrounding neighborhoods to shop and dine.

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House and Museum
Star-Spangled Banner Byway
Maryland Dove
Maryland Office of Tourism

Drive this stretch of highway, one of Maryland’s 18 scenic byways, that takes you from Solomons to Baltimore and along part of the Great Chesapeake Bay Loop. Stop at historic towns, parks, attractions, the Inner Harbor and War of 1812 sites. Among the places you’ll discover are the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons and Mount Calvert Historical and Archaeological Park in Marlboro.

Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
St. Leonard
Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum
Courtesy of: In Full Glory

At the site of the Battle of St. Leonard’s Creek, the largest naval engagement in the state’s history, you’ll get a unique glimpse into 10,000 years of Maryland history. See War of 1812 re-enactments, view exhibits in the museum and barn, and work on an actual dig with its Public Archeology Program.

Fort Washington Park
Fort Washington
Fort Washington Park

Destroyed by its own garrison during the War of 1812, the fort was reconstructed in 1824 and served as the primary source of protection for Washington, D.C., until the Civil War. Today, the park offers monthly artillery demonstrations, fort tours and places to picnic, hike and enjoy nature. The Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail On-Road Bicycling Route starts here and winds along the eastern bank of the Potomac River, offering routes ranging from 28 to 52 miles.

Havre de Grace
Havre de Grace Tourism
Concord Point Lighthouse, Havre De Grace

The Concord Point Lighthouse in Havre de Grace is open on weekends from April through October and is a favorite spot for weddings.

A British raid in 1813 nearly destroyed this waterfront town, but the brave residents saved half of Havre de Grace from the ravages. Some of the historic buildings still stand as testament to the American spirit. Stroll historic streets and visit the Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House, the John O'Neill Cannon Memorial and the Concord Point Lighthouse. Enjoy the waterfront promenade featuring antique shops, art galleries, bars and restaurants.

Fort Howard Park and North Point
Fort Howard
North Point Beachfront War of 1812 Historic Sign

In 1814, 7,000 of Kings George’s men landed here to begin an assault on Baltimore. The British soldiers encountered stiff resistance at the nearby Battle of Northpoint, where Daniel Wells and Henry McComas, a pair of Maryland teens, now known as the “Boy Martyrs of Baltimore,” gave their lives and possibly saved the nation. Visit Battle Acre Park to honor the fallen, or attend the annual Defenders’ Day celebration and re-enactment in September.