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“Very interesting, with lots of walking”

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
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Historical Charleston Tour with Optional Joseph Manigault House Visit
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The history of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum began in June 1975 when the legendary aircraft carrier USS Yorktown entered Charleston Harbor. A few months later, the USS Yorktown was dedicated as the first ship of the Naval & Maritime Museum on the 200th birthday of the United States Navy. Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum was officially opened to the public on January 3, 1976. Today the museum consists of the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) with 29 aircraft on display from WWII to the present; the USS Laffey (DD-724), a Sumner-class destroyer; and the USS Clamagore (SS-343), a GUPPY III submarine. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society is headquartered here and their official Medal of Honor Museum is onboard the USS Yorktown. There is also a Cold War Sub Memorial and Vietnam Support Base Camp on the surrounding grounds.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children, Stairs / elevator, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Very interesting, with lots of walking”
Reviewed June 8, 2013

We made a full day of Patriots Point plus the boat ride out to Fort Sumter. It's very convenient to park once and take in both attractions. This is VERY close to Charleston -- right across the river, and about a 5 minute drive across the bridge. This really should be included when you do a TripAdvisor search of attractions in Charleston!

Anyway -- the self-guided tours of the aircraft carrier are well done. Most things are well-explained by the many signs along the walk. The medical and dental areas are interesting -- you can relate to being treated with all of this antique dental equipment! There is great access to the boiler room and engine room, but there were very few signs down there. Bring a Navy vet to explain stuff down there. The highlights for most people will be all of the great aircraft. There's an amazing variety -- from pre-WWII right up to the current day F18 Hornet. They show some old newsreel footage that is very interesting -- do that first to get a better idea about what really happened to the ship. With limited time, we skipped a couple of the self-guided routes, the flight simulator, and (regrettably) the Medal of Honor museum.

Price of admission includes the carrier, destroyer, submarine, and a 'Vietnam Supply Base'. The submarine was interesting, but FAR SMALLER than the carrier tour. There is one passage way, from bow to stern, with fewer explanatory signs to stop you. Still, it is fascinating to see how small the spaces were. We skipped the destroyer because we were pressed for time. We walked through the Vietnam Supply Base. That looks like a work-in-progress. There was very little signage, and the buildings are very light on interesting content.

Practicalities: Lots of steep stairs. Low overheads. Some of the tours won't be accessible to the handicapped. Bathrooms are fine. Lunch aboard the ship and in the entry area have the same menu -- very basic, high-fat, hot dogs, sausage, pretzels, popcorn, etc. About $9 per person, with drink. Stay away from the Pulled Pork Sandwich! My wife ordered that. It was hard to tell that it was actually pork. You can come back all day on the same ticket, so I would suggest that you leave the site and go to any of the restaurants that are very nearby.

Although very convenient, it is a little bit of a stretch to do both Patriots Point and Fort Sumter in one day.

Visited May 2013
2 Thank BarryAZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Cary, North Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
194 reviews
69 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“You can easily spend the day here.”
Reviewed June 7, 2013

I was looking for things to do in the Charleston area. Thanks to the reviews on Tripadvisor, I found out about Patriots Point! Located in the Charleston Harbor, the surrounding marina and marsh are beautiful. You can watch egrets, heron and manta ray from the boardwalk . I have been wanting to tour an aircraft carrier and a submarine for a long time. Patriots Point has both plus a destroyer and naval support base from Vietnam. You also pick up the boat to Ft. Sumter from here. Admission to Patriots Point is $18 per adult. Parking for the day is $5.00. You can exit and return on the same day. The USS Yorktown is amazing! Yes, there are lots of stairs and tight spaces to negotiate on the aircraft carrier, destroyer and especially the submarine. Look at sailors then and now and you'll soon realize why they are so fit! We had lunch in the CPO mess. I think the lunch trays were the same ones used on the ship! Our cook was a sailor who served as a cook in the Navy. This just added to the whole experience. There are many aircraft to explore in the hanger deck and on the flight deck. The USS Laffey has a ongoing film from the History channel. You really learn about what it must have been like to be at battle on this ship. The USS Clamagore is quite an experience! I can't even imagine what life is like on a submarine! All of the tours are self guided. Take the time to imagine what life was like for these seamen. You really come away with a new appreciation for our Navy!

Visited June 2013
1 Thank IWork2TravelUSA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“very nice!”
Reviewed June 6, 2013 via mobile

everything was nice, very tiresome but nice. my 3 year old daughter was wore out before we were even half way through. lots of great history.

Visited June 2013
Thank shraderbaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City, Missouri
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“A tiring, but interesting attraction”
Reviewed June 5, 2013

We had to go on the USS Yorktown after seeing it from many angles while taking the boat out to Ft. Sumter, and I'm glad we did. My son and I went, since my wife wasn't up to the long walk out to the boat and the many stairs. I have to admit I had to scuttle my drink early because it hampered my limited abiltiy to take the stairs.

We went up to the flight deck first, since a storm was imminent. And it was a very good choice. The planes on display are very interesting, with palques telling then evolutoin of each of them, and details any pilot or war buff would enjoy. We learned a lot about each plane.

There are six tours you can take on your own, and each one has steps. These steps are narrow, and steep, but not insurmountable. Just think what the navy men had to go through getting around. Not only did they have to navigate the stairs, but the many halls and passageways would be confusing unless you stayed in your own area. We went to the flight deck, and then my son wanted to go up to the tower, so I let him.

I should also mention you need to keep an eye out in the water below the pier going out to the ship. We saw a fish and a manta ray, which was an interesting bit of wildlife.

We also spent some time in the Medal Of Honor Museum. Very informative, but some of the interactive exhibits didn't work right. Touching a picture to hear a bio of someone sometimes brought up another person in the kiosk. Ther are volunteers who are willing to share some information with you, and are very friendly. I do suggest you take the time to take the time to visit it.

Visited June 2013
2 Thank Radishes1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great history”
Reviewed June 5, 2013 via mobile

Plan for a whole day if you really want to get the full experience. The 5-6 self guided tour routes are laid out nicely. Only downfall is a lot of climbing up and down stairs that could be hard for the young children or the more seasoned guests. Also be sure to watch your head if you are tall, ships were not made for people over about 6'2". Overall it was a great trip with lots of history as well as neat sights ... Fun for the whole family.

Visited June 2013
Thank BTTraveler1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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