Photo courtesy of Explore Charleston
Fort Sumter National Monument
Visitors start their journey to this national monument at the education center on Liberty Square, where exhibits bring to life the first battle of the Civil War. They then take a ferry to the actual fort, located on an island at the mouth of the harbor. After a 10-minute introduction by a ranger, they’re free to enjoy self-guided tours of the historic site. In addition to being a fascinating experience for armchair historians, the excursion offers water views of Rainbow Row, the homes along The Battery, and the Holy City’s many steeples.
By Stacey Zable
Rain or Shine
Fort Sumter is located in Charleston Harbor...like in the middle of Charleston Harbor, so you have to take a ferry out to it. It's best known as the spot where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired at the Battle of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. The day I went with my family, it was raining... and cold. Not exactly ideal sightseeing weather, but this really didn't matter at Fort Sumter. In fact, I think a benefit for us was it kept the crowds down—we almost had the place to ourselves. Hot or cold. Rain or shine. Worth a visit.
Charleston famously played a key role in the Civil War, with the first shots in that conflict fired at Fort Sumter, at the mouth of the harbor in 1861. It took Confederate forces 34 hours to capture the fort from federal troops stationed there, and the war that began with that battle would last four years. It remains to this day the conflict with the greatest number of American casualties. (Almost half of all American soldiers to lose their lives in combat died in the Civil War.) The fort can only be visited by boat, though a number of harbor tours either call at the fort or pass by close enough that you can get a good look at it. Sail by the historic landmarks of Charleston, on one of 12 itineraries created by AFAR’s Travel Advisory Council at AFAR Journeys.
Sponsored by Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
340 Concord St, Charleston, SC 29401, USA
Sun - Sat 8:30am - 5pm