Fort Sumter National Monument

Fort Sumter National Monument

Fort Sumter National Monument
4.5
Historic SitesMilitary Bases & FacilitiesHistory Museums
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
About
Learn all about this storied spot of the first clash between the Union and Confederate armies in the Civil War, in which the Union forces finally surrendered after a 34-hour bombardment by the Rebels.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • rking90
    Chicago, Illinois7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great experience end of the day tour
    Narrator at Fort Sumter was outstanding. Participated in lowering flag ceremony and it was an honor. Boat breeze was pleasant even at real feel temp of 100. AC section available on boat.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 18, 2023
  • StowMomof2Boys
    Stow, Ohio310 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the time and money! Amazing!
    History is cool, especially when you can see cannons! A visit to Fort Sumter is worth the money and time if you've never been to a fort. I never have and found everything about it interesting. The boat ride out to the site is lovely and provides you with a scenic view of Charleston, AC, bathrooms and a snack counter. Once at the fort, explore on your own for about an hour. Be sure to visit the AC museum to see some artifacts from the war.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 22, 2023
  • LRS1978
    Bloomington, Indiana67 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Interesting piece of history
    We did the tour while visiting Charleston for the day. It was informative and had several interesting history facts. The ferry ride over and back was nice but a full hour on the island is to long. There isn’t much to see. It was extremely hot the day we visited and there was really mo good place to escape the heat for very long.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written August 22, 2023
  • Dean_Amy-2004
    Gettysburg, Pennsylvania8,389 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Tour from Patriots Point
    Ranger RJ provided an interesting ranger talk highlighting one of the Privates in the war. After the 10-min tour, you were free to walk around on your own. There was a nice museum there as well. Great visit with so much history to learn and see. Definitely worth the time to visit. Book your ferry ticket in advance online. Unfortunately, while the site is no fee, there was a fairly high ticket price for the ferry out to the fort and it is NOT covered by a park pass.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 9, 2023
  • travelbug
    Pensacola, Florida1,013 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must for history buffs
    We enjoyed the tour out to fort Sumter. The ride didn’t make me too sick as many ferry rides have in the past. I saw a dolphin from the boat. Restrooms were clean onboard. The museum was closed on 9-21 even though the website said it would reopen that day so we were bummed about that. If it looks like rain you will want an umbrella or you won’t enjoy climbing all over the fort. Visit fort Mountie as well for a less crowded experience. Loved them both.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 2, 2023
  • cdandoy
    Gilbert, Arizona1,257 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful
    Perfect from start to finish. Easy to find and board the ferry. Ranger gave a great narration to the site. We had 1 hr to explore and look at museum. The flag raising happens if you do the first ferry of the day. This was a bucket list item and I'm very happy with how the day went.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written October 5, 2023
  • fabdog
    Williamsburg, Virginia430 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great experience
    We took the first boat of the day over at 930. They do a flag raising, and you have ~ 1 hour to see the fort, museum, and exhibits. A ranger gave a talk on the way over, and the rangers were friendly and knowledgeable at the fort. A ,little more time on the fort would have been nice, but you know you have an hour and you make your way to what you want to see. At least at this time of year, don't show up 45 mins in advance.. the visitor center isn't open and they don't start boarding till 15 mins before departure.
    Visited November 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 8, 2023
  • Archie
    Glenmoore, Pennsylvania7,731 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome experience
    We enjoyed our visit and learnt some history. The national park itself is free. You have to book tickets to the island that the fort is located on via boat. We booked them online. It was absolutely full. They asked us to arrive 30 min earlier. We took the first tour at 9:30 am. The visitor center opens at 9. They probably boarded around 9:15 am. There is a queue as people line up. The visitor center has some information that you can walk through. Restrooms are located in the visitor center and the boat. The boat has three levels the upper level is open but with a cover and best views but freezing cold when the weather is 35 degrees. The mid level has snacks drinks and tables setup. It's temperature controlled. The lower deck has the most seating. We saw some beautiful views of the USS Yorktown and pickney island. Dolphins jumping in water. The ranger gives a briefing on the boat. We enjoyed an hour before the boat set back. Such interesting history. We enjoyed walking around and the flag raising as the first tour. There is a museum and gift shop. Do the junior ranger program. Its a 25 min boat ride. We parked at liberty Square aquarium garage.
    Visited December 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written December 30, 2023
  • JUDY K
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent Tour - Highly recommend!!
    This was a fantastic historic tour! Highly recommend for history buffs, that want to learn about our country’s past. The staff operating the boat were professional, and kudos to our excellent tour guide Woody; he was a walking encyclopedia of knowledge and we thank him for making this a memorable experience.
    Visited February 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written February 27, 2024
  • Hatzlacha
    Virginia914 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Particularly good for costal warfare history
    Particularly if you're just getting interested in Civil War history, this is a must-see NPS site. Easy enough getting there and back. Plenty of time on the grounds to see everything. Perhaps one of the real unique parts is seeing how the approach to costal warfare has changed over the centuries, including cannon and signaling technology, even up to WWII. Even talks about mine warfare, which is very unique for a NPS site. Lots of local / state SC history as well. Helps you understand how so many local traditions got started.
    Visited March 2024
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 24, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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CR141
249 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Our family likes history and museums. This one was okay. If you plan to attend, make sure you pay attention to the ferry times. It will take about three hours by the time you buy tickets (we didn't buy online) and wait for the ferry, and get over there and back. Eat or bring snacks. They do sell a few on the boat. I was disappointed a little in the museum area where we passed the time waiting to load the ferry. They have a flag raising and flag lowering ceremony in the moring/evening respectively.
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MKTBE
Topeka, KS4,043 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020 • Family
We spent an interesting & educational afternoon visiting Fort Sumter National Monument. The ferry ride was pleasant and we spotted many dolphins frolicking in the harbor. Fort Sumter itself is a sea fort built on an artificial island. It's purpose was to protect the City of Charleston from a naval invasion, and the Battle of Fort Sumter marked the beginning of the US Cival War. The National Park Service Rangers have an engaging presentation that recounted the history of Fort Sumter, while encouraging us to learn from our countries storied past to encourage a brighter future! We enjoyed our Fort Sumter National Park adventure, and would highly recommend it for others.
Written January 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Linda
52 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
Start your visit at Liberty Square. This is where you meet the ferry. There is a parking garage directly across the street from the park. Easy parking there. I think the signage could be better to get to the ferry. When you approach the building where you buy tickets, you go up the stairs, but not into the building. There is a window to the left of the doors where you will purchase tickets. After purchasing tickets, you go around back to get in line to board the ferry. There are seats on the ferry, BUT they sell many more tickets than they have seats, so if you are at the end of the line, you will stand for the 30 minute ride out to the island. You basically get 1 hour on the island and then the ferry returns to Charleston.

We went over on the first ferry of the day. Much was said about the flag raising ceremony. We attended it. It felt less like a ceremony and more like a ranger's reflections on the flag before finally raising it. I don't mean to complain, but you have 1 hour on the island to see everything. The flag raising happens about 10 minutes after you arrive on the island, so now you have 50 minutes left. The ranger's speech rambled a bit and I found myself becoming impatient. I wanted to see the flag raised and then get to seeing as much as I could in the time allotted. The rangers are there everyday. Most of us are there for that 1 hour of time. Honestly, you really need about 90 minutes there to see it all. From a historical perspective, its worth visiting.
Written September 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Patricia C
Mesquite, TX508 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Fort Sumter was a very interesting place to visit. I love history so maybe that is why. My kids don't but they still thought it was ok. The boat ride over and back is about 30 min long each way. They let you roam the grounds and explore the museum for an hour before loading everyone up to go back. We took the first tour of the day over so we had the pleasure of seeing and participating in the flag raising ceremony. Now as neat as this was this took up almost half of our time and before we knew it we were rushing through the grounds and the museum. I would not trade the flag ceremony for anything but and hour and a half on the island would have been nice so we could also enjoy the museum. It is a small museum and all the people on the boat crammed in with very little time to really look at anything made it difficult. In total this even was 2 hours. if you go in winter bundle up. They have indoor seating but it fills fast. If you want pictures you will eventually wander outside anyways.
Written February 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Taylor B
Chicago, IL8,358 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2021
I am a Civil War historian. I have been to Fort Sumter, where it began. I have been to Appomattox, where it ended. And I have been to every major battlefield in between. This is my third trip to Fort Sumter. Located in Charleston Harbor, it was designed to protect one of the South's largest cities and most important ports from invasion. And thanks to the exhibits at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, where you can purchase tickets for the tour boat, and the park rangers who inform visitors about the history of the fort and its role in the Civil War, I always come away with more knowledge about the event. Why was Major Robert Anderson recognized as the Union's first war hero? What role did Captain George S. James play in the battle for Fort Sumter? Who was Daniel Hough? Edward Galloway? What was Sergeant Peter Hart's heroic act? You'll learn who they were and a lot more when you spend the allotted hour walking through the ruins of Fort Sumter. It began on April 12, 1861 when South Carolina militia artillery began shelling the Union garrison in the brick fort. They were the first shots of the Civil War. Today, the fort remains much as it looked when the bombardment ended on April 13 and the Union garrison surrendered. After purchasing your tickets, view the artifacts and exhibits in the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Patriots Point, then take the 30-minute ferry ride to the fort. Explore the ruins and learn about the heroes of the Civil War's first battle.
Written September 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Zedd97511
Sea Cliff, NY206 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
Unlike the Statue of Liberty, you return on the same ferry you sailed out on. It’s really not enough time to clamber around, read the plaques, and go through the exhibit in the museum on the island. An hour is just not enough. Ferry ride is a half hour each way. But that’s what it was. And if it was raining hard it would be pretty miserable. The museum/exhibit on shore is also very interesting and worth spending time on as well. It’s not very large.

But really would want more than an hour. Guessing it’s a crowd control things because the site itself is not very large.
Written February 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dave & Jen H.
Cullman, AL10 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2021
For the "because it's there" visitor, this will be a good trip. Despite going in December when the weather was rainy and cold, the boat ride over to the monument was enjoyable just being in the harbor and taking in the views, although it was a bit on the high side at $32 per person.
While on board, a Park Ranger gave an overview of the fort and of the war using the boat's PA system. Upon disembarking at the Fort, visitors are told that the return trip would leave in ONE HOUR. For the casual observer, this is more than adequate to cover the grounds and be ready for the return trip. For the avid historian, one hour is nowhere near enough time to fully explore and contemplate the grounds, the emplacements, and the importance of the site.
The museum will offer visitors some unique pieces of history with ample explanations of the items but with everyone else vying for a good look at the pieces, you feel rushed through.
The grounds themselves are minimally maintained to preserve the site but no extended learning opportunities are available for those with a greater curiosity.
On the plus side, visitors are given the opportunity to take place in either a flag raising or flag lowering, depending on the time of day in which you tour. Prior to the flag ceremony, a park ranger gives another presentation regarding the Fort's flags.
Overall, the tour was enjoyable but certainly not long enough. As with any other historic site, if you know what it is, you will appreciate the site being preserved. However, for the casual visitor, you may feel underwhelmed by the experience.
Written January 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ilovemashedpotatoes
Columbus, OH240 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Family
A great experience!

There is just so much history at this place that it seems surreal when you're standing there. Parts of the fort just feel trapped in time as if it was built just yesterday.

The museum area is very well done with tons of great info and artifacts. I enjoyed looking at some of the old flags that I never knew existed. I will say while this is a tremendous experience for adults and history buffs, our young kids were a little bit bored with the whole thing. Once our two young boys learned there wasn't much to do besides look around and listen to history they were checked out. lol. It's also very adamantly stated by the park rangers that you are not allowed to climb or walk on any part of the fort that is basically not paved or grassy area. In some areas this is hard to determine, someone else's kid was lectured via loudspeaker for standing on a random row of bricks that was about one brick tall and was not sectioned off by anything, it just appeared to be part of the path. Anyone could have done that and I felt it was an unnecessary public scolding. Perhaps section off your areas better if it's that serious.

The trip itself is about 2-3 hours. Standing in line to board the ferry about 15-30 mins. 30 minute ferry ride over, 1 hr on the fort, 30 mins ferry ride back. Also, there was a delay once we arrived at the fort as the ferry that was currently docked was delayed in departing (rounding up stragglers).

The wow moment of the whole experience for me though was right before it was time to leave the fort, a gentleman from the ferry boat came around gathering all the people to depart, he stops and tells us that on some of the bricks you can see indentations, these are fingerprints from the slaves that made the bricks. Once we knew that we could see them everywhere, on one brick we found you could see an entire hand-print. Being able to actually touch and feel the history was an incredible experience.
Written April 21, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vic S
Greenville, SC412 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020
There are certain cities in the US, that need to be viewed from the water to really appreciate their history. Taking the ferry from Liberty Square (next to the aquarium) is a great way to grasp the unique aquatic history of the city of Charleston...on your way out great view of the Ashley/Cooper bridge and perfect set up for pics as you pass Patriot's point. (USS Yorktown) and the Battery. Its about a thirty minute ferry ride to the fort and the rangers/prerecorded messages point out historic points along the way. Once you arrive its a self guided tour of the fort but the raising of the USA flag by the rangers shouldn't be missed. You get 45-60 minutes at the fort which should be enough tme to tour, ponder, and apprecaite the fort's significant role in the US civil war. After your time at the fort, the cruise back great way to cool off and reflect on the historic events that happened in and around the Charleston area...add a tour of the HL Hunley and it really brings events into focus.
Written June 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DERtravels
Pomona, CA1,454 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019 • Couples
The opening shots of the American Civil War were fried here at Ft. Sumter. We learned so much here from the very capable and knowledgeable docents.

To get to the fort you take a ferry from the stateside Visitor Center. The Visitor Center itself is where you purchase your tickets. It houses a small museum with very good exhibits to get you immersed in the era you are about to embark into.

It is about a 40 minute process to board passengers, traverse the channel and disembark the passengers onto the fort proper.

There was time to explore the fort grounds before a flag ceremony. The National Park Guides are very good at getting the guests involved. There is a larger museum on the island fort. Well worth the time to history leading up to the Civil War beginning and the four years of battles and siege. Be sure to pick up a National Park Service pamphlet for a historical summary of events and a walking guide to the fort.
Written June 30, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Fort Sumter National Monument, Charleston

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