Fort Sumter National Monument

#14 in Best Things To Do in Charleston
Fort Sumter National Monument
Courtesy ExploreCharleston.com

Key Info

1214 Middle Street

Price & Hours

$21 for adults; $13 for kids
Hours vary seasonally

Details

Monuments and Memorials, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.6scorecard
  • 3.0Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 3.5Atmosphere

You probably remember Fort Sumter as the place where the first shot of the Civil War was fired, back in 1861. Today, you can see for yourself where all the action happened by taking a ferry to the actual fort. Take your time exploring the thick stone caverns, which still house several Civil War-era cannons. You should also stop by Fort Sumter's small yet informative museum, which provides more in-depth information about the fort's role in the war. According to most Charleston visitors, Fort Sumter is a must-see, especially for kids and history buffs.

Fort Sumter National Monument is perched on a small island in Charleston Harbor several miles southwest of the city. Ferries to the monument depart from the Liberty Square Visitors Center and from Patriot's Point, which sits just opposite of the harbor in USS Yorktown State Park (parking is available at both departure points). Though the ferry ride is not the main attraction, most enjoyed it, calling it relaxing and a great way to see some of the area's dolphins. Ferries to the fort and ranger talks take place daily, but hours vary depending on the season. Guided tours aren't available at Fort Sumter, but you can listen to a 10-minute, ranger-led history discussion before heading out on your own self-guided tour; rangers and volunteers are available to answer any questions you may have.

While it is free to explore Sumter itself, the ferry ride costs $21 for adults and $13 for children ages 4 to 11. The National Park Service highly recommends purchasing your ferry ride tickets in advance, which you can do at the Fort Sumter Tours website. For more information about the history of the fort, visit the National Park Service website.

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