On April 12, 1861, the first shots of the American Civil War were fired upon Fort Sumter, forever solidifying the location in the annals of history. Today, visitors will find the Fort Sumter National Monument – a unique historic site that folks seek out as one of the best things to do in Charleston, SC. When you take a visit, your knowledge on the history of Charleston, SC, will undoubtedly grow abundantly, while you will get to experience the beauty and charm of the city from a different angle. With the site being on an island, the only way to get there is by boat. We recommend hopping aboard a vessel and taking one of the several Fort Sumter tours that the Holy City has to offer.
Fort Sumter Tours
One of the best places to begin your Fort Sumter Tour is with a company called – well – Fort Sumter Tours! The tours are available all year, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, and depart from two different spots. From downtown, you can climb aboard at 340 Concord Street, or you can opt to begin your journey in Mount Pleasant at 40 Patriots Point Road. The tour costs $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, $11 for children 4-11, and is free from children 3 and under. In addition, you can expect to spend a little over two hours on the tour, with one hour of your time being spent directly on the fort.
As part of a larger tour that will focus on several aspects of Charleston history, SpiritLine Cruises will also give you a great view of Fort Sumter from the water. This 90-minute tour will cost $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $12 for children 4-11, and is also free for children 3 and under.
Gray Line of Charleston
Gray Line of Charleston offers its guests three different tours, one of which includes a cruise to Fort Sumter. This one is a little pricier at $34 for adults and $19 for children, however the tour lasts four hours and includes a 90-minute tour around downtown Charleston that includes at least 100 points of interest.
National Park Service
Fort Sumter is governed by the National Park Service and is free to visit on your own. A guided tour is normally not offered, but a park ranger will give a 10-minute history talk before you embark on a self-guided tour. Visitors can get to the fort using their own private boat and are encouraged to beach or anchor their vessel on the western side of Fort Sumter.
Fort Sumter can be seen from many of favorite spots in Charleston, including Sullivan’s Island, James Island, Patriots Point, and downtown. In the heart of downtown is where you will find the Governor’s House Inn – a classic Charleston bed and breakfast. Like Fort Sumter, The Governor’s House Inn is also filled with Charleston history, allowing you to keep the theme of your trip alive. Check the availability at the Governor’s House Inn today so you can finalize your next visit to Charleston.
Photo courtesy Ron Cogswell