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“Fascinating naval history”
Review of H. L. Hunley

H. L. Hunley
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Hunley became the world's first successful combat submarine in 1864 with the sinking of the USS Housatonic. After making world history, she mysteriously vanished. Lost at sea for over a century, she was finally found in 1995 and then raised from the ocean floor in 2000. Since then, scientists have been at work to conserve the legendary submarine and solve the mystery of her disappearance. Tours of the Hunley include viewing the Hunley in her 75,000 conservation tank, facial reconstructions of the crew, and interactive exhibits that tell the submarine's fascinating tale throughout the centuries.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Activities for older children
Sullivan's Island, South Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
310 reviews
75 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 96 helpful votes
“Fascinating naval history”
Reviewed October 31, 2013

The course of naval warfare changed on February 17, 1864, when the Confederate submarine Hunley sank the Union vessel Housatonic just a couple of miles off the coast of Charleston. The Hunley sank for reasons unknown after the attack and lay at the bottom of the sea until raised in 2000 and brought to its current home on the old Navy base in North Charleston. Archeologists continue to explore the mysteries of the Hunley, but the facility is open to the public for tours at the same time. It may take a little exploring of your own to find the Warren Lasch Conservation Center, but the route is reasonably well marked with street signs. Public tours are only given on Saturdays and Sundays so plan your visit accordingly. Despite these limitations and an admission charge (currently $12) this is a must see attraction for anyone interested in military history and the Civil War. The tour will take you into the lab where the Hunley rests in a special tank. You can't touch it, but seeing it is worth the trip. Well-informed volunteers will tell you the story and then you'll get the chance to see some of the recovered and restored artifacts. Don't miss the diamond brooch and Lt. Dixon's gold coin. Of course you'll exit through the souvenir shop with a chance to buy everything Hunley, but that's okay. It's all for a good cause. I suggest you follow your Hunley visit with a trip to Magnolia Cemetery where you will find the burial site for all three crews who died during the brief life of this fascinating war machine.

Visited October 2013
Thank Mavmed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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576 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Level 6 Contributor
92 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Totally Amazing!”
Reviewed October 29, 2013

The submarine H. L. Hunley was a Confederate ship way ahead of its time. There were so many innovations which one usually contributes to more modern times....air snorkle, depth gauge, bilge pumps, etc.

Visitors can view the submarine in its water-tank (preservation and investigation are still on-going) while a guide gives a brief history of the submarine and of its discovery and restoration. The guides are very knowledgeable and very happy to answer your questions.

The museum has a number of fascinating displays, including a mock-up of the interior where you can sit and crank the handle, and the facial reconstructions of the crew members. Much research has gone into gathering the personal histories of the crew members as well, a touching effort.

The displays, including many of the archival work, are all very informative and well-done.

The gift shop offers a great variety of books and videos on the Hunley and related topics, as well as typical gift shop items.

Because this is a work in progress, please be aware the museum is open only on weekends. The entry fee is nominal at $12, with senior and military discounts.

Visited October 2013
Thank Laura H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Summerville, South Carolina
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
“What an educational/historical trip”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

This is a must see if you visit Charleston or even live here. It is in an odd location until I realized it was there because they scientist are still studying it. My 11 year old son was amazed and so very interested. This is truly a large part of Charleston History. If you take the time and spend the 10 dollars to visit you will have a true piece of Southern history to talk about. Don't just read about it, Go see it. But remember this is not a museum, it is a true piece of history still being studied. Don't except to touch it or climb in it. But don't worry, they have a replica that you can enjoy and take great photos.

Visited October 2013
Thank Christopher N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great look back into history”
Reviewed October 23, 2013

Just amazing at what was found in the ocean and they were able to preserve. Sometimes our government does something right and protects our history for generations to come

Visited October 2013
Thank Fred H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mullica Township, NJ
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Very educational experience”
Reviewed October 20, 2013

The staff were all well versed in the history of the Hunley and in explaining the recovery and restoration process

Visited October 2013
Thank Ron L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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