When you come to Charleston, you should definitely consider visiting Fort Sumter to witness where the civil war began. It is a great opportunity to take in some US history! Apparently, you won’t be alone if you choose to check out the Fort this year. In fact, visitation hit record levels last year with a total of 328,000 people taking the boat tour to Fort Sumter. This was partly due to the 150th anniversary of the civil war, but the trend continues this year, as the visitation is up 11% through March (ABC).
Here is some more information and history about Fort Sumter from the National Park Service if you are planning a trip in the near future:
The first shot of the American Civil War didn’t hit anything. It was a 10-inch mortar shell, fired from Fort Johnson, that exploded above Fort Sumter as a signal for Confederate artillery to open fire on the Union-held fort…
If you are traveling to Fort Sumter, remember that you cannot get to Fort Sumter from Sullivan’s Island and Fort Moultrie. Sullivan’s Island is the mailing address of the park and the location of Fort Moultrie and Park Headquarters. Fort Sumter is located on an island in Charleston harbor and is only accessible by boat.
If you do not have access to a private boat, a concession-operated ferry is available. The primary departure site is from the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center located in downtown Charleston. For departure schedules and fees, visit the concessioner page.
The secondary departure site is located at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant. Visitors with large vehicles such as buses and RVs should plan on using the Patriots Point departure site.
Fort Sumter by Ferry
The concession-operated ferry leaves from two locations: the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square (340 Concord Street, Charleston, SC), and Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum(40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, SC).
For ferry departure times, visit the concessioner page.
Fort Sumter by Private Boat
Fort Sumter is open year round except for New Years, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days. Hours of operation are:
- January 1 — Closed
- January 2 – February 29 — 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM
- March 1 – March 14 — 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- March 15 – August 20 — 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM
- August 21 – August 28 — 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- Labor Day Weekend (Fri-Sat-Sun) — 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM
- Labor Day – November 30* — 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
- *Thanksgiving Day — Closed
- December 1 – 24 — 11:30 AM to 4:00 PM
- December 25 — Closed
- December 26 – 31 — 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square 340 Concord Street, Charleston
The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except for New Years, Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.
Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center
340 Concord Street
Charleston, South Carolina