Fort Sumter is a sea fort built on an artificial island and aims to protect Charleston from naval invasion. It was already there during the War of 1812 when the British invaded Washington via sea. However, it was still incomplete in 1861 when the Battle of Fort Sumter began the American Civil War.
It’s now the Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, operated by the National Park Service.
Historic Fort Sumter is located in Charleston Harbor and is only accessible by the concession-operated tour boat. There is no admission fee, but tickets for the ferry are required and may be purchased in advance.
Fort Sumter Tours
Fort Sumter Tours provides the only National Park Service authorized access to Fort Sumter. There are two departure locations: Liberty Square Visitor Educational Center and Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum.
Their adventure tickets cost $32 and include:
Exploring the grounds of Fort Sumter – You’ll get to see where the first shots of the Civil War were fired and learn about the fort’s role.
A trip around the harbor – View Battery Park, the Arthur Ravenel Jr. bridge, and Fort Moultrie. Dolphins are sometimes visible along the way.
Learning the events leading to the war -The Fort Sumter Visitor and Education center offers interpretative and visual exhibits about the Civil War.
Grabbing a snack along the way – There will be a concession with snacks, drinks, and a sheltered section for you and your family.
Note: All park sites within Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park are closed on New Year’s, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Days.
Featured image by George A. Kenna from Shutterstock.