The port of Baltimore wins raves for convenience, drawing from the mid-Atlantic region without the crowds or congestion of New York City. But you'll miss out if you don't spend time in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, home to the National Aquarium, Maryland Science Center, and boats that pilot sunset cruises in the Chesapeake Bay.
What We Love
Crabs: Everywhere in Maryland you'll find its proudest bounty: Chesapeake Bay blue crabs. You'll see the crustacean in quiches, on top of burgers, as filling in she-crab soup, and as steamed hard shells bought by the dozen and waiting to be cracked.
Annapolis: The capital is less than an hour's drive away. It charms with a scenic, sailboat-filled waterfront, the U.S Naval Academy (open for tours), and the country's oldest statehouse still in operation. If you have time, stay overnight.
Best Known For
Oriole Park at Camden Yards: This red-brick baseball stadium is one of the prettiest in the country and sits just west of the Inner Harbor, easily accessible by foot or the free Charm City bus line. The Orioles play all summer, and fans are avid. Book tickets ahead of time.
USS Constellation: Built in 1854, this tri-masted sailing sloop fought for the Union in the Civil War. Walk the wooden decks during the hourlong tour and climb down to see how sailors lived in the days of Lincoln.
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Who It's Best For
History Buffs: Baltimore's history spans from the nation's beginnings, and it's all represented here, from the Civil War's Fort McHenry to the B&O Railroad Museum, home to country's foremost collection of railway memorabilia. Literary fans can tour the Edgar Allan Poe House; the writer died here and is buried nearby.
Art Fans: Choose from the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, or the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM). At AVAM, view an array of work from self-taught artists, including Andrew Logan's oversize statue of Divine, the drag queen made famous in the movies of local son John Waters.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Safety First: "The Wire" was filmed here for a reason. Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods; some are beautiful and safe, like Federal Hill and Fell's Point, while others are less so. Stick to the beaten path.
It's Deep Inland: Baltimore sits at the interior point of Chesapeake Bay, which means the trip from port to open ocean can take up to eight hours. But don't worry: The casinos usually open earlier.
Susan Moynihan is a Florida-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Parenting and Woman’s Day.