Photo by Bill McAllen for MD Fleet Week

Navy Roars into Baltimore for Maryland Fleet Week

Maryland Fleet Week always brings the heavy metal to Baltimore. Come experience historic ships, Navy warhorses, and so much more.

Maryland Fleet Week drops into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor this weekend, and you know we’ll be there for it. With ship tours, flyovers, exhibitions, and plenty of things for the kids to do, Fleet Week is a great opportunity to see impressive ships up close and get behind-the-scenes tours. Now is your chance to celebrate the maritime history of the Eastern Seaboard—with the Chesapeake Bay at its center.

The biggest draw of Fleet Week is getting to see ships close up that you otherwise might see only on the news. From wartime destroyers to historic frigates, these ships are best understood from the deck.

The Inner Harbor will be home to the vast majority of the fleet. A total of 11 ships are planned to dock downtown, an impressive collection of maritime powerhouses. Some were already in place by Thursday. There are several local ships worth seeing, too: the Constellation, the USCG WHEC-37 Taney, the USS Torsk, and the Lightship 116 Chesapeake are all mainstays of the Inner Harbor. Joining them will be a buyboat and a skipjack, training ships from the Naval Academy and the Army Corp of Engineers, and the USS Marinette, a new Freedom-class littoral combat ship.

Walk or take a free shuttle to Fort McHenry, where more ships can be viewed. Photo courtesy MD Fleet Week

There’s plenty more heavy metal to explore. The USCG Cutter James Rankin is known for patrolling the Chesapeake Bay as a powerful buoy tender, but this weekend she’ll be docked in Fells Point waiting for you to come tour her. And out toward Fort McHenry, at the North Locust Point Marine Terminal, will be the Arleigh-Burke destroyer USS Gonzalez and the amphibious transport dock USS Fort Lauderdale.

A free shuttle will be running visitors around, so plan on parking your car and using the public transportation provided. Or wear comfy shoes and get your steps in.

Tips for Visitors

Fleet Week organizers offer several tips for touring the ships:

• Wear flat, closed-toed shoes (no high heels, sandals, or Crocs)
• Be ready for security screening (bags will be searched)
• Leave liquids onshore
• Leave the drones at home

Please note that the Navy ships are unfortunately not ADA-accessible at this time. There may be steep ladders or narrow passageways, so use caution when planning your visit. Service animals are welcome, but pets are otherwise prohibited.

Of course, the best tip is to arrive early. Lines can get long, and in the hot weather, you’ll want a hat and sunscreen. Tours will start at 10 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m.

Fleet Week isn’t just about the ships, though. There are flyovers planned on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, using both modern and historic military and civilian aircraft. If you’re more interested in aviation history than you are nautical, Martin State Airport is holding an open house and will provide tours of the aircraft.

There are three festival areas planned for the weekend; the largest will be held near the Baltimore Visitor Center near 401 Light Street. Look for plenty of children’s activities, food vendors, exhibits, and a crab soup cookoff. Kids are encouraged to wear costumes.

In Fells Point, near the town square and Broadway Pier, there will be another festival with food and beverages, exhibits, and plenty of vendors.

And at Martin State Airport, a small festival will bring in vendors catering toward aviation enthusiasts and hungry folk.

Whether you stick around town for the ships or you head out to Middle River for the planes, Fleet Week is a great time to check out everything that the Baltimore waterfront can offer.

For all the Fleet Week FAQs and Ship Information, click here.