Fort Sumpter, Charleston

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Fort Sumpter, Charleston

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Review of "Fort Sumpter, Charleston"

published 27/04/2017 | catsholiday
Member since : 03/03/2003
Reviews : 1948
Members who trust : 410
About me :
We were travelling but now back so normal service resumed.Thank you anyone who is kind enough to read then rate my reviews, especially those Es.
Pro Interesting , educational, family friendly
Cons not easily accessible for anyone with mobility issues
Is it worth visiting?
Transport links
Family Friendly

"Fort Sumpter -where the Civil war started"

Fort Sumpter, Charleston

Fort Sumpter, Charleston


Fort Sumpter is a National Monument in South Carolina and is under the upkeep of the National Parks Service. We have visited a number of Civil War sites when in the USA so when we were staying in Charleston this fort was on our list of must visit places.

~#~#~#~#~~~~ GETTING THERE ~~~~#~#~#~#~

Fort Sumpter is on an island in Charleston harbour and you can only visit by buying a ticket from the ticket office from either of the two departure points or on line prior to your visit. If ordering on line you then collect your ticket from your point of departure. The two places the tour boats leave from are There are two departure locations at Liberty Square -340 Concord St., Charleston and Patriots Point-40 Patriots Point Rd., Mount Pleasant.

We bought our tickets on line before we left the UK and collected them from Liberty square.

Parking is at a nearby car park which you do have to pay for but it wasn't too expensive if I remember correctly and then you have a short walk to Liberty Square through the park to collect our tickets.

There are no food outlets in the area and no food is on the island. You cannot take food there either, only bottled water. We found a nice deli not too far from the Square to have a bit of lunch before our tour. It was really busy which s not surprising as it appeared to be the only place to et in the area.

~#~#~#~#~~~~ PRICES AND TIMES ~~~~#~#~#~#~

Prices for tickets cost:
$21 - adults
$18.50 - seniors and military
$13 - children but under 3s are free

Date/Time Liberty Square - Charleston Patriots Point – Mnt Pleasant
Jan 2 - Feb 28 11.00am, 2.30 pm 1.30
Mar 1 – Mar 14 9.30 am, 1200pm, 2.30 pm 10.30am, 1.00pm
Mar 15 – Aug 20 & Labor Day W/E 9.30am, 12.00pm, 10.30am,1.00pm 3,30 pm
2.30 pm, 4.00pm.
Aug 21 -Nov 30 9.30 am, 12.00pm, 2.30 pm 10.30am 1.00pm
Dec1 – Dec24 11.00am , 2.30 pm 1.00pm
Dec 26 – Dec 31 9.30am, 12.00pm, 2.30 pm 10.30 am, 1.00pm
Thanksgiving, Dec 25 &Jan 1 no tours no tours

The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square is not only the primary departure point for ferry boats to Fort Sumter but is also worth a visit as there is quite a lot of interesting information to see and read about and there are Park rangers for you to talk to and ask any questions. This is open daily from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm except Christmas, New Year and Thanksgiving day.

~#~#~#~#~~~~ OUR VISIT ~~~~#~#~#~#~

It is worth pointing out that not only do you have to go to the fort by boat but in order to get to te boat you have to climb quite a few stairs as there is no lift. Once at the first there is a lot of the fort that can only be accessed by climbing steps and these include the museum, restrooms, bookstore, and top level of Fort Sumter.

It is also worth noting that if you have an America the Beautiful National parks pass it only allows you in the fort and doesn't cover the boat trip so you do still have to pay.

If you have your own boat you can visit the Fort and then your visit is free. We didn't have our own boat so had to go with the organised tour.

The day we went it was beautiful and sunny and the boat trip alone was a nice experience as we looked back at Charleston and towards the island of Fort Sumpter and around Charleston harbour itself. We were told that sometimes you can see bottle nose dolphins and manatees in the harbour but sadly we were not lucky enough to see any.

The boat you go to the island on is quite large with seats and under cover areas so if the weather is not great you can stay dry until you get to the fort where most is open to the elements. Once you arrive you disembark down a gangway that is easy and walk on to the island. You are met by a park range who then gives you a bit of the history of the fort.

Once you have been told something about the fort you can then ask any questions or go off and explore on your own. The ground is uneven and there are a number of wooden stairs to climb up to get to the next level of the fort.

The museum in the fort tells you the story of the fort's role in the Civil war and living conditions as well as having panoramic scenes and artefacts and it is air conditioned so makes a nice escape when it is really hot outside as there is not a lot of shade.

The fort is partly destroyed and some parts are unsafe for you to get to but on the whole you can explore most of the fort and small island it is on.

I would say that an hour or two is all you need to experience the fort and you can take any of the return boats from the island until the last one. You are told the departure times as you arrive.

~#~#~#~#~~~~ A POTTED FORT SUMPTER HISTORY ~~~~#~#~#~#~

On December 20, 1860 Charleston seceded from the Union, and this was the start of other towns in the south following suit. Fort Sumter is now most famous for being the site of the first shots of the Civil War -1861-65.

The fort was originally built after the 1812 war with Britain as the US discovered they were short on coastal protection. It was named after Revolutionary War general and South Carolina native Thomas Sumter.

Major Robert Anderson with a small garrison of Union troops occupied Fort Sumpter . When Lincoln announced he was going to send supplies and reinforcements to the garrison. Confederate militia commander P.G.T. Beauregard demanded that Anderson surrender the fort, but Anderson refused so Beauregard and his militia opened fire on Fort Sumter shortly after 4:30 a.m. on April 12, 1861. This exploding cannonball started the Civil War which became the bloodiest war in United States History. Anderson withdrew and from then Confederate forces occupied Fort Sumter as a defense of Charleston Harbor.

The fort was then completes and better armed and became a useful part of the Confederates ability to evade the Union blockade of the Atlantic seaboard. Throughout the war both Union forces and Confederate troops continued to fight for control of Charleston Harbor. The harbour was vital as it was of strategic significance as the lifeline of the Confederacy.

After the Civil War the fort was rebuilt but was not used for years as much more than a lighthouse for Charleston harbour. During the Spanish-American War in 1898 , the fort was rearmed and was once again used as a coastal defense.

It was also used during both World War I and World War II but in 1948 Fort Sumter was decommissioned as a military post. It was given to the National Park Service and now has over 750,000 visitors a year.

~#~#~#~#~~~~ IS IT WORTH VISITING ? ~~~~#~#~#~#~

I guess that depends on what you find interesting. I studied American Studies at university and te history of the USA I find fascinating as it short enough not to be overwhelming and is so varied. Over the years we have spent time in the USA we have visited a number of historical places, many Civil War and War of Independence sites as well as first settlements and pioneer sites out west.

As Charleston, Savannah, Natchez and Vicksburg were all major places involved in the Civil War we planned to visit them all. I am a he fan of the film "Gone With the Wind" and both Charleston and Savannah played big parts in the film they were a must.

Fort Sumpter is famous for being the place where the first shot of the Civil War was fired from and so is of interest because f that and the role it played in the Civil War. It is interesting to visit and indeed I loved the boat trip there and back as much as the fort itself.

Ow much detail you want to take in depends on the level of your interest. I find I can only take in so many facts and then prefer to just experience the place as it is and try to absorb the feel of the place and the atmosphere by just exploring n my own.

I think children would enjoy exploring the fort and the boat trip too. No food is allowed remember so plan you trip if you are taking children. Take a hat and sunscreen as well as plenty of water if it is hot as there is little shade and if you go in winter I suspect it might get very cold so dress accordingly.

There are toilets and they are clean and well kept both on the island and on the boat.

I will add more photos when I have screen shop them and turned then around - it takes a while!!

Thanks for reading.
27th April 2017

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Comments on this review

  • torr published 10/05/2017
    One in which I'd definitely be interested. First rate review. x
  • jo-1976 published 03/05/2017
    Fascinating read
  • Soho_Black published 03/05/2017
    Great review
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Product Information : Fort Sumpter, Charleston

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Type: Historic Building

City: Charleston

Country: United States of America

Continent: North America

County: South Carolina


Listed on Ciao since: 01/10/2016