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You can only get to Ft. Sumter by boat. Oh I suppose you could charter a heliocopter and go that way, but really, the only way to go is by boat. If you are a NPS ranger who is stationed at the fort, you can go in a NPS boat.
Ordinary people however have two choices. They can use either the National Park Service authorized concession ferry, which is run by Fort Sumter Tours, Inc., or their private boat. Although we saw the Fort from our boat whenever we transited the harbor, we visited the Fort on the concession ferry.
The trip takes about 30 minutes, and there is narration that explains the points of interest and historic significance and they go over the major events which led to the outbreak of the Civil War. They allow one hour at the fort.
Limited handicap access at the Liberty Square boarding facility only.
Rates for 2006 Dates and Season From Patriots Point Mt. Pleasant Rates and Schedule subject to change without notice. Limited handicap access at the Liberty Square boarding facility only.
Schedule /Rates for 2006
Date/Season From Patriots Point Mt. Pleasant From Liberty Square@ Aquarium Wharf
April 1 thru Labor Day 10:45 am, 1:30 pm, 4:00 pm 9:30 am, 12:00 Noon, 2:30 pm
Day After Labor Day thru November 30 10:45 am, 1:30 pm 9:30 am, 12:00 Noon, 2:30 pm
December 1 thru December 24 1:30 pm 11:00 am, 2:30 pm
December 26 thru December 31 10:45 am, 1:30 pm 9:30 am, 12:00 Noon, 2:30 pm
** Closed: Christmas Day, New Years Day, and Thanksgiving Day.
Fort Sumter Tour Rates:
Adults: $14.00; Seniors: $12.50; Kids (5-11): $8.00; Infants (5 and Under): Free
These are departure times.
Please allow at least 25 minutes for Ticketing and Boarding.
Updated Aug 26, 2006
Phone: Tour Boat 1-800-789-3678
Open All Year Same as Park
Closures - Closed January 1 and December 25.
Available Facilities - A small museum shop is operated at the fort. Snacks and drinks are available on tour boat. I think there is also a shop at the Liberty Square Charleston terminal. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of any of those shops.
What to buy: Normally the NPS stores have books, maps, posters, prints, apparel, pins, patches, audiovisual items and coins and collectables.
What to pay: At this store examples of what they have are
Book - Fashions of the South Paper Dolls $5.95 (third picture)
Fort Sumter Patch $3.95 (fifth picture)
Confederate State of America Coins: $6.95 (fourth picture)
Updated Aug 26, 2006
General Beauregard, who commanded the Confederate forces, was the former student of Major Anderson, who commanded the Union forces at Fort Sumter. Since many generals and other officers took sides based on their ties to their home states, it was not uncommon for those who trained together and fought together in other wars to find themselves on opposite sides of the battlefield during this war. Fortunately for Beauregard and Anderson, there were no casualties resulting from the clash at Fort Sumter. But that would not be the case in many subsequent battles.
Written Feb 19, 2006
One of the things that the park ranger who gave our tour EMPHASIZED was that visitors were not to climb on the cannons.
I had to reprimand my granddaughter who was going to climb on one anyway. The rule book says:
*. Walking upon, climbing, ascending, descending, or traversing all earth mounds, cannons and carriages, fort walls and historic structures are prohibited.
*. Sporting activities including, but not limited to, kite flying, golfing, soccer, baseball, football, etc. are prohibited at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie.
*. Permits are required for the following actions. Permits must be submitted no later than 72 hours prior to the event:
A. Material collections
B. Collection of specimens
C. Special events
D. Public assemblies and meetings
E. Sale and distribution of printed materials
G. Operations of commercial business
H. Filming for commercial business
I. Overnight use of Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie docks.
*. Spanish moss, sea oats, pine straw, wood and other natural or man-made items may not be collected except as noted.
*. Wood may not be collected, except driftwood along the beach face.
*. Fishing, trapping and casting from the Fort Sumter dock are prohibited during visitor hours.
*. Only Federal law enforcement officers and those cooperating state and local agencies are permitted to carry firearms. Official NPS volunteers under the supervision of a permanent park ranger may carry unloaded weapons for living history activities.
*. Camping is prohibited.
Updated Apr 4, 2011