Fort Sumter National Monument, Charleston

Explore the site where the Union and Confederate armies clashed for the first time in the American Civil War. Your visit to Fort Sumter National Monument begins at the education center, where you can study exhibits on the war and purchase ferry tickets to the sea fort. Once you arrive, a park ranger will give a short talk about the conflict between the North and South that led to the firing of the first shots. As you walk the area, examine the defenses and imagine the Confederates’ 34-hour bombardment until the Union forces surrendered. For more information, visit the fort’s onsite museum. Refreshments are available on the ferry, but it is a good idea to bring water. Use Inspirock's suggestions to plan your Charleston trip and find the best activities and attractions for your vacation.
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Fort Sumter National Monument Reviews
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  • This is American History and should not be missed. We went on a very cold day, it was 35-40 degrees out but we didn't want to miss it. The ferry was very well operated with 2 floors of seating. The up...  more »
  • It was very cold the day we went, but the boat had heaters inside and you can always stop by the museum or gift shop on Fort Sumter itself to warm up. I’d budget about 3 hrs total time to get there an...  more »
  • Plenty of signs explaining the various positions but the park employees have plenty of stories and can answer any question. Really amazing to see what our boys were up against. Take the last boat and ...  more »
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  • The tour was great! I highly recommend going. The ride over tells you a ton of history about the place and then the Rangers at the fort do a great job of answering questions you may have. Be sure to leave time for the museum because it is packed with info and had very cool items. The signs throughout the property are very informative and have great pictures! There is also a gift shop. My 11 year old daughter LOVED it!
  • This was great! The 35-minute boat ride from Patriots Point to the fort was a beautiful way to see the waters of Charleston. The fort is well-preserved and interesting. I recommend listening to the historical information shared by park rangers upon your arrival to the fort. It will enhance your experience at the fort. I highly recommend booking your boat ride in advance. We booked in advance and arrived 40 minutes prior to the boat's departure and it was sold out. People were having to wait for the next boat, 2.5 hours later. We went on a 70-degree, sunny day and it was chilly on the fort and the boat ride, so plan for cooler and windier weather if you are going in springtime. There is very little shade on the fort, so if you're going in the summertime, prepare for lots of sun!
  • Not much has changed between my first visit 17 years ago and this one. The location is very well preserved. The rangers there do an excellent job of maintaining the site and making sure visitors don't damage the property, and the sponsors always make sure fresh coats of paint are preserving the artillery pieces. The gift shop is reasonably priced, as far as gift shops go, and is extremely small. The museum on-site is small as well, but is to be expected from the small size of the site. Overall, a great learning experience for all members of the family as well as a great view of Mount Pleasant and Old Charleston.
  • As one of the single most historical places in the whole of the United States of America, the tour I had here was simply excellent! I admit I'm a bit of a history nerd, but the two are guys did not disappoint! The boat ride over, walking around the floor, and the boat ride back, are all worth the experience! You not only get great views of the city, and a wonderful experience on the water, you get to see with your own eyes the location if one of the most pivotal moments in history!!! Absolutely a must see if you come to Charleston!!!
  • Good place to relive the history.They assign a guide with every tour. And he gave pretty important and interesting info about fort and brave people of Charleston. Good place to enjoy distant view of rainbow city Charleston downtown and we also can see the USS battleship from here. Overall good place. *if going in winter please have warm clothes. This place is little more cold/windy than Charleston shore.

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