Historical Attractions

Fort Sumter National Monument Charleston

Where is it at?

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Fort Sumter National Monument
Charleston Harbor
Charleston
SC
29401
Tel: 843-883-3123

Where are we going today?

The Civil War is an infamous event that happened in the history of the USA, and there's no better way to learn all about the events that occurred, than by actually visiting the sites themselves WHERE they occurred!

Fort Sumter National Monument is a reminder of what happened after that fateful day WAY back on April 12, 1861, when the decades of growing strife finally erupted between the North and the South.

The Confederate army opened fire on this very location in the heart of Charleston Harbor. The fort surrendered a whole 34 hours later. Not giving up, the Union forces tried for nearly four years to take it back. Now, it's a fascinating and eye opening National Monument that you can spend your days learning, and exploring.

Fort Sumter National Monument tells the families that visit the incredible history of the centuries of defence that has occurred in the USA.

From self-guided tours, or ranger-led tours, you can choose how you want to see this amazing part of history. Both tours are great for all ages, so there's no reason not to bring everybody!

There are indoor and outdoor activities at Fort Sumter National Monument, but it is still a commemorative area to remember the sacrifices, so they are limited. 

The Fort Sumter Visitor Center is on the mainland in Liberty Square, and it's here you can picnic, and watch the harbor after learning a bit more about the battle. There is also Fort Moultrie, which is a historic and commemorative area, with self-guided tours. There are seasonal daily ranger programs too. Here, you can enjoy the wildlife, bird watch, and evening enjoy some fishing!

Fort Sumter National Monument makes for a fascinating and historic family day out in South Carolina. Much better than those text books! 

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How much does it cost?

  • AdultsEntrance free, but boat ride has a cost. Fort Moultrie $3
  • ChildrenFree
  • Free Under: 15 years
LAST UPDATED 2015

When can we go?

Fort Sumter ferry time vary on the days

All year round.

I'm Hungry!

There is a snack bar on the ferry boat, and a water foundation inside the fort. .

Healthy Eating!

Picnicking isn't permitted inside the fort, but you can bring your own water and snacks! .

Doing our bit

The monument is commemorative, so they have really gone out to ensure the stories and memories of those who sacrificed their lives are preserved. .

Need a little extra help?

Service animals are allowed in the parks, however the museum, restrooms, and book store are only accessible via climbing stairs. .

Can I get one of those?

There is a bookstore where you can pick up some souvenir and educational materials to take home .

More information

Pets aren't allowed on the ground at Fort Sumter, or at the ferry. Fort Moultrie pets are allowed on the grounds on a leash..

What people are saying?

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    From patriots point worth the 18 dollar admission. Cold November morning was illuminating with this important juncture of American history. While the structure has been altered since the attack of 1861.The fort can be visually stirring, it's rendering foundation enough to encompass the imagination of the inaugural battle of the civil war.

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    You really get a good idea of the devastation which occurred. Short, calm boat ride with a great talk upon our arrival. Park in the parking structure NE of the entrance.

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    I am a travel writer for National Park Planner and I visited Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie in April 2014. The Fort Sumter National Monument preserves two military forts located in Charleston, South Carolina. The most famous, Fort Sumter, is located on an island in Charleston Harbor. The National Park Service has partnered with a private concessionaire that operates boat tours up to six times a day during the peak season, but anyone with their own boat can visit the fort (you can even kayak or canoe to the fort). Boat tours leave from the Fort Sumter...Read More

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    Had a great time. Very cool said the kids. Stick with tour guide at start. The 10 minute info they give makes it better. Then visit Fort Moultrie 12 minutes away to complete the adventure. It is also awesome and a quick tour!

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    Great for history buffs but taking the ferry just does not allow enough time to truly enjoy the time at the fort. The ride is approximately 45 minutes each way with only an hour at the fort. But if I could do it again I definitely would.

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by Steve Markos

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I am a travel writer for National Park Planner and I visited Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie in April 2014. The Fort Sumter National Monument preserves two military forts located in Charleston, South Carolina. The most famous, Fort Sumter, is located on an island in Charleston Harbor. The National Park Service has partnered with a private concessionaire that operates boat tours up to six times a day during the peak season, but anyone with their own boat can visit the fort (you can even kayak or canoe to the fort). Boat tours leave from the Fort Sumter Visitor Center at Liberty Square in downtown Charleston or from a State property, Patriots Point, which is located across the harbor. There is a charge for the tour. Tours take about 2.5 hours, with 1 hour spent at the fort and the rest of the time spent traveling on the boat. The fort lies about 4 miles southeast of both Liberty Square and Patriots Point, so neither departure point offers a time advantage over the other.

Fort Moultrie, which in various incarnations saw service from the American Revolution through World War II, is located on Sullivans Island and can be accessed by car thanks to bridges. It is on the other side of the harbor, southeast from the Liberty Square Visitor Center, though nearly directly across from Fort Sumter. It takes about a half hour to travel from Liberty Square to Fort Moultrie. Unlike Fort Sumter, in which visitors only have one hour to see the fort, visitors to Fort Moultrie can spend as much time as they want at the fort. A Visitor Center and museum are across the street. There is a small fee to enter the fort and you can get tickets at the Visitor Center.

While the park goes by the name of Fort Sumter National Monument, Fort Moultrie, in my opinion, is the more interesting of the two, though few tourists take advantage of touring the fort. While Fort Sumter sees 300 tourists every boatload for up to six tours a day, Fort Moultrie may only get 300 visitors a day.

The Weather

Thursday

Conditions: Partly Cloudy
Temp: 85° F / 29° C
Humidity: 81 %
Wind: SSW - 10 MPH

Friday

Conditions: Partly Cloudy
Temp: 85° F / 29° C
Humidity: 67 %
Wind: SW - 9 MPH

Saturday

Conditions: Mostly Cloudy
Temp: 83° F / 28° C
Humidity: 74 %
Wind: E - 7 MPH

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