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Fort Sumter National Monument Tours

Fort Sumter National Monument
A top historic attraction in South Carolina, Fort Sumter National Monument is famous for being the site where the Civil War began. Today, the sea fort, accessible only by boat, retains much of its original stone structure—plus a few lodged cannonballs—letting visitors experience a piece of American history firsthand.

The Basics
Fort Sumter National Monument is composed of three sites: Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie, and the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center. The simplest way to visit is with guided tour tickets. Basic tours include round-trip transportation to Fort Sumter (accessible only by boat), commentary from a National Park Service ranger during the 30-minute ferry ride, and a guided tour inside the fort. The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center is located at the downtown ferry launch on Liberty Square and provides additional information about the historic site. You can also catch views of Fort Sumter on a historic Charleston walking tour, Charleston harbor tour, or paddleboard tour of the harbor.

Though part of the Fort Sumter National Monument, Fort Moultrie is on Sullivan’s Island and accessible only by car. Look for tours that combine a visit to both forts to easily see them in a day. Fort Moultrie also offers self-guided tours.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Fort Sumter National Monument is a must for history buffs and Civil War enthusiasts.
  • Book early to guarantee entry—tours sell out far in advance.
  • Fort Sumter is accessible only by boat.
  • Both forts are located on islands—dress in layers if visiting during cool weather.
  • Fort Sumter does not require an entrance fee, but Fort Moultrie does.
  • Tours to Fort Sumter typically last 2.5 hours. Plan to spend roughly 30 minutes in the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center.
  • Most of Fort Sumter is accessible to wheelchair users.

How to Get There
Fort Sumter is accessible only via commercial ferry or private boat from either the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center or Patriots Point, across the Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant. The Visitor Education Center is located in on Liberty Square in downtown Charleston and is open daily to the public. Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan’s Island, is accessible only by driving.  

When to Get There
Because the Fort Sumter National Monument is largely outdoors, it’s best to avoid the hot and humid summer months, roughly June through September. Spring and fall bring mild climates that make exploring more pleasant.

Fort Sumter’s Three Wars
Though famous for its role in the Civil War, Fort Sumter was actually named after an American Revolutionary War General and built as a response to the War of 1812.
Address: 1214 Middle St, Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, USA
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14 Tours and Activities to Experience Fort Sumter National Monument

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Afternoon Schooner Sightseeing Dolphin Cruise on Charleston Harbor

Afternoon Schooner Sightseeing Dolphin Cruise on Charleston Harbor

star-4.5
Get out on the waters of Charleston Harbor during this cruise aboard an 84-foot-tall (25-meter) classic tall ship. As the crew hoists the sails of the schooner, you'll glide past some of the city's historical sights and watch for dolphins in the water. Drinks are available for purchase on board. Select a departure time when booking.
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  • 2 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$50.88
From
$50.88
Taking safety measures

Schooner Sunset Sail on Charleston Harbor

Schooner Sunset Sail on Charleston Harbor

star-4.5
Watch the sunset from the water on a 2-hour evening cruise aboard an 84-foot (25-meter) classic tall ship. As the crew hoists the sails of the schooner, you'll glide through Charleston Harbor to enjoy the glow of twilight over one of the oldest cities in the U.S. Drinks are available for purchase on board.
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  • 2 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$68.50
From
$68.50
Taking safety measures

Fort Sumter Admission Ticket & Self-Guided Tour with Roundtrip Ferry Shuttle

Fort Sumter Admission Ticket & Self-Guided Tour with Roundtrip Ferry Shuttle

star-4.5
Visit historic Fort Sumter in Charleston, the site of the battle which signified the start of the American Civil War. This tour is provided by the only operator within the city that includes both round trip ferry service in addition to entry into Fort Sumter. Enjoy a scenic 30-minute cruise each way along Charleston Harbor from two convenient departure locations, Liberty Square and Patriots Point. On the way, view top Charleston sites such as Rainbow Row and the Battery from your ferry. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by National Park Rangers who will relay stories of America's deadliest war before your 1-hour self-guided tour of Fort Sumter National Monument. Make sure to leave time for a stop at the museum and souvenir shop before making your way back to Charleston or Mt. Pleasant.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$24.00
From
$24.00
Taking safety measures

Charleston Harbor History Day-Time or Sunset Boat Cruise

Charleston Harbor History Day-Time or Sunset Boat Cruise

star-4.5
See the Charleston Harbor by boat with a leisurely sightseeing tour along the Cooper River to Fort Sumter National Monument. This fully-narrated tour focuses on Charleston history from Civil War sites to antebellum houses and landmarks, passes under Cooper River bridges, and explores a waterfront that’s home to bottlenose dolphins and pelicans.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$34.72
From
$34.72
Taking safety measures

Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour

Charleston See-It-All Sightseeing Bus Tour

star-4.5
Charleston's colonial history, laid-back vibe, and beautiful sites continue to steal the hearts of visitors to the Holy City. See the highlights of the peninsula in comfort on this 90-minute guided tour on a climate-controlled minibus with a maximum of 15 passengers. This narrated tour keeps you cool as you ride past must-see Charleston sights such as the Battery, the Citadel, Old City Market, and Hampton Park as well as enjoy spectacular views of Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and the Sullivan Island Lighthouse at a distance. Bonus: Admission to Charleston Powder Museum is also included with the price of your tour.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$32.00
From
$32.00
Taking safety measures

Charleston Harbor Sightseeing Cruise with Live Narration

Charleston Harbor Sightseeing Cruise with Live Narration

star-4.5
The "Holy City" skyline is on full display with this scenic Charleston Harbor Sightseeing Cruise. Sail past notable American landmarks, such as Fort Sumter, the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, The Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney and other sites from the past and present. You will hear enthralling tales of the city’s colorful past as well as scintillating facts about her most-interesting former citizens. Sit back and relax while a Licensed Charleston City Guide shares stories from Charleston’s historical sights, including some listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Great photo opportunities and a fresh sea breeze round out this pleasant and informative Charleston Harbor Sightseeing Cruise.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$30.00
From
$30.00
Taking safety measures

Private 2-3 Hour Charleston Sailing Charter (Sunsets & Day Sails)

Private 2-3 Hour Charleston Sailing Charter (Sunsets & Day Sails)

star-5
We are a family owned sailing charter business. Come enjoy a day of sailing and seeing the historic sites of Charleston from the water in a 36' Beneteau Sailboat. We offer hourly, daily, or customized tours according to your desires for up to 6 guests maximum (USCG Rules & Regulations). Sit back and relax while a professional crew caters to your every need on your private yacht. Most tours are 2-3 hours in length and circle the entire Charleston harbor before returning to the docks where you boarded the vessel. Bring your favorite beverages, a picnic, or you can also request gourmet catering to fit your desires. A professional photographer can be requested as well. If you are looking for a romantic evening we can accommodate with a 3 hour sunset sail with downtown Charleston in the background. We want to make sure you have the 5 star experience you deserve and will do everything we can to ensure this. Book now to enjoy the Charleston views from your privately chartered yacht!
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$330.00
per group
From
$330.00
per group
Taking safety measures

Charleston Harbor Sunset Cruise

Charleston Harbor Sunset Cruise

star-5
Watch the sun set above Charleston, South Carolina with a 2-hour sunset harbor cruise aboard a 45-foot motorized catamaran. Find a comfortable seat on deck, spot the landmarks of downtown Charleston and the waterfront, and watch for the dolphins and sea birds that thrive along the South Carolina shoreline. Enjoy a relaxing break from the city while spending a romantic evening on the water.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$40.00
From
$40.00
Taking safety measures

90-Minute Historic Walking Tour of Charleston

90-Minute Historic Walking Tour of Charleston

star-4.5
Charleston’s historic alleyways and pocket gardens can’t be reached by car or carriage, making this Charleston walking tour an excellent option for visiting the Holy City’s enticing nooks and crannies. Follow a guide through the French Quarter, down to the Battery, and right past Rainbow Row as you learn about the city’s 350-year history from a licensed tour guide.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$25.00
From
$25.00
Taking safety measures

Charleston Attraction & Tour Pass for 1, 2, or 3 Days

Charleston Attraction & Tour Pass for 1, 2, or 3 Days

star-4
Charleston sightseeing pass includes admission for 30+ top tours, attractions, and restaurants. Choose from a 1-, 2-, or 3-day option—days don’t have to be consecutive and can be used anytime within a 10-day window, making this an easy addition to your existing itinerary. Each ticket includes tours such as a carriage ride or trolley tour, plus skip-the-line access to select Charleston museums and plantations.
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  • 1 to 3 days
  • Free Cancellation
From
$73.00
From
$73.00

Private Sunset Cruise

Private Sunset Cruise

star-5
We offer a Private Sunset Cruise for up to 20 passengers. You and your family or friends enjoy being on the water with a Licenced Captain and Crew to attend to your needs. We provide unique local knowledge of Charleston Harbor. You play the music you want. Bring anything you would like to eat or drink. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a beautiful Charleston Sunset.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$769.24
per group
From
$769.24
per group

Charleston Harbor Stand up Paddleboard Tour

Charleston Harbor Stand up Paddleboard Tour

star-5
Explore Charleston’s harbor and historic sights on a 2-hour stand-up paddleboard tour with an experienced guide and instructor. Learn to steer your board, then paddle alongside a small group on a route that changes with the season. Cruise past island forts that saw decisive battles in the Civil War, and take in views of the stunning Ravenel Bridge’s diamond-shaped towers. Experience stand-up paddleboarding for the first time, or brush up your skills with help from an instructor on a tour that combines the best of Charleston’s culture and natural beauty.
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  • 2 hours
From
$45.00
From
$45.00

Charleston Sunset Blues & BBQ Dinner Cruise

Charleston Sunset Blues & BBQ Dinner Cruise

star-4
See Charleston from the water during a dinner cruise that includes a barbecue buffet and live entertainment. Watch the sky change color as the sun sets, and take in sweeping views of Charleston. Choose from classic dishes such as pulled pork, smoked chicken, mac and cheese, and coleslaw, and have the option to purchase drinks from the bar.
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  • 2 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$55.66
From
$55.66
Taking safety measures

Shell Hunting Expedition

Shell Hunting Expedition

star-5
Depart for this 3 hour shell hunting excursion from Ripley Light Marina situated just less than a half mile outside downtown Charleston. Relax on a short cruise over to beautiful Morris Island while enjoying the sights and sounds of the breathtaking Charleston Harbor. Pass just feet from historical landmarks, wildlife, and natural habitats. Disembark onto this unspoiled barrier island while our naturalist amazes you with historical facts, ecology, tideline critters, and tips on finding wonderful seashells, sharks teeth and more. Departure times and dates may vary as this expedition is low tide dependent so to maximize your experience finding some awesome shoreline treasures.
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$50.00
From
$50.00
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Fort Sumter National Monument?