Inner Harbor piers, 410/396-5528, www.baltomaritimemuseum.org 
HOURS: Mar.–Oct. daily 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Nov.–Feb. daily 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
COST: $10–16 adult, $5–7 child, $8–13 senior, free for kids 5 and under
This isn’t a museum of dusty bells, sails, and sextants. In fact, there’s no building at all: The Baltimore Maritime Museum consists of three historic ocean-going vessels and a fascinating “screw-pile” lighthouse. (A fourth vessel, the U.S.S. Constellation , is an affiliated attraction that operates independently.)
The oldest ship is the Lightship 116 Chesapeake, parked next to the National Aquarium’s entrance; it served as a floating, illuminated beacon to shipping around the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, twice surviving hurricanes so powerful they snapped the ship’s anchor chain. Just behind the Chesapeake is the USS Torsk, a 1944 U.S. Navy submarine that sank the last two Japanese warships lost before Japan’s surrender. Visitors can climb through the claustrophobic cabins and passageways of the sub, which was decommissioned in 1968.
Head next to the USCGC Taney (located behind the ESPN Zone and Power Plant Live!  complex), which has its own connection to World War II: It’s the last surviving ship to have been at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack in 1941 that led to America’s entrance into the war.
Last is the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, which might seem a little short for a lighthouse. Not so for Maryland’s coastal geography: The region around the Chesapeake Bay and Patapsco River’s confluence is so flat that lighthouses didn’t need to be particularly tall to be seen by ships in the late 1800s, so this design was used because it could be erected in the soft mud and sands of the bay.
The Baltimore Maritime Museum’s ships and lighthouse can be visited individually, or as a group for a reduced rate.