Fort Sumter National Monument Travel Guide

  • Bob, our son and grandchildren on the ferry dock
    Bob, our son and grandchildren on the...
    by grandmaR
  • Our boat at the marina beside the ferry dock
    Our boat at the marina beside the ferry...
    by grandmaR
  • Wake of the ferry
    Wake of the ferry
    by grandmaR

Fort Sumter National Monument Things to Do

  • Ferry to the Fort

    The ferry to the fort is run by a private contractor. There are two different ferries running to the fort - from Liberty Square in Charleston and the once a day from Mt. Pleasant on the other side of the Cooper River. We went from Liberty Square.The ferry ride is quite a lot of fun. There is a snack bar on the ferry where you can get drinks. I took...

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  • Appreciating the Fort History

    When we got off the ferry, we walked around with a ranger for a short (10 minute) tour. After that we walked around on our own. You do not have to take the ranger tour, but it really helps to understand the history of the fort. One of the facts I remember is that the guns at Fort Sumter would not have reached as far as the Battery in Charleston.The...

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  • Fort Sumter Exhibit Hall in Charleston

    The ferry ride to Fort Sumter costs money - it is operated by a contractor. But the Exhibit Hall on the Charleston side ferry docks is free. Inside is a museum giving the history of the fort and the area before and during the Civil War. The Exhibit Hall is open 8:30 to 5 every day.My first picture shows an exhibit about the decline in the...

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  • The museum

    The museum on Fort Sumter is a tiny area which contains some interesting exhibits. One of the original flags which flew over the Fort is on display here. The photo shows how the nearly completely destroyed Fort after the war. During the attempts at preservation, the Park Service reconstructed some of the buildings and the Fort which stands as a...

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  • Boat tours

    In order to tour Fort Sumter, you must take one of the boat tours offered by the National Park Service. There are two departing locations- one on Calhoun Street and the other on Mount Pleasant. The tours depart twice a day- three times per day in the busiest months, and run just a little over two hours. There is an indoor cabin for days when the...

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  • Fort Sumter was a nice visit!

    Fort Sumter was an enjoyable day's visit for the price. The little boat ride out to the monument was very pleasant! There was some construction going on at the time we were there, but I'm sure it's gone by now! :)

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Fort Sumter National Monument Transportation

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo
    From harbor with ferry approaching the fort 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 26, 2006

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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.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Beaches
    • Family Travel

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Fort Sumter National Monument Shopping

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo
    Riding the ferry 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Aug 26, 2006

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    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)

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

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Fort Sumter National Monument Local Customs

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo
    Fort Sumter

    by goingsolo Written Feb 19, 2006

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    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.

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    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park

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Fort Sumter National Monument Warnings and Dangers

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo
    My granddaughter thinking about climbing 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    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.

    Other rules


    *. 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
    F. Memorialization
    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.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

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Fort Sumter National Monument Off The Beaten Path

  • Destruction

    Fort Sumter is the most heavily shelled structure in the U.S. As a result of the repeated attempts to break down these walls and the Confederate spirit, the fort withstood much damage. So much so that, once abandoned, the fort was nearly in ruins. Much of the fort has been rebuilt and looks almost nothing like the original version. But some of the...

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  • Canons

    Fort Sumter was not heavily armed at the start of the civil war. In 1860, only 15 canons were ready for battle. After the Confederates seized the fort, they began fortifying its defenses. But some of the canons you see during the tour are Union canons which were located on nearby Morris Island and used to fire on the fort. There is an impressive...

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  • The First Shot and the Aftermath

    The first engagement of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter on April 12 and 13, 1861, and after a brief battle, the Union surrendered the fort to the Confederates. At that time, the Confederates thought that the 60 foot tall fort's six foot thick brick walls were regarded as impregnable. Most of the guns used against it during the 1861...

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  • The importance of Fort Sumter

    Many people think of Fort Sumter as the place where the war began and do not realize the overali mportance of the Fort. The Union tried many methods of obtaining surrender from the Confederates and one of these was a naval blockade of the Atlantic Coast. The South needed to be able to send and receive shipments. Supplies came in from the sea and...

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  • In memoriam

    In the now entranceway, there is a plaque which honors the Confederate defenders of Fort Sumter. A Union monument was also erected to honor the Union defenders of the opening bombardment. Although none of the Union soldiers were killed during the original bombardment, many were wounded in explosions prior to the surrender. The Confederates suffered...

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