Fort Sumter National Monument

Fort Sumter National Monument

Fort Sumter National Monument: Our most recommended tours and activities

Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket with Roundtrip Ferry

1. Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket with Roundtrip Ferry

Enjoy a ferry ride to the grounds of Fort Sumter and explore the grounds at your own pace. Pass by the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and take in the sights of Charleston’s stately Rainbow Row and Battery homes. As you approach Fort Sumter, graceful sailboats and playful dolphins add to the photogenic scene. If you depart from Mt. Pleasant you will enjoy views of the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier from up-close, while tours embarking from downtown will see Aquarium Wharf as they depart and return. Arrive at The Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park, which sits prominently at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor, a strategic location that was crucial to its defense.  While here, explore the grounds of Fort Sumter. Stand on the grounds where America’s deadliest war began at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park. The first shots were fired here, igniting a conflict that saw more than 700,000 casualties. Experience the opening battle of the American Civil War and explore its origins with a National Park Ranger. Your approximate 1-hour visit to Fort Sumter allows ample time to explore well-preserved fort ruins and browse Museum Store souvenirs. A visit to Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park provides a window into the life and trials of America’s heroes, from the Civil War to today’s modern conflicts. Learn about the events leading to the war from knowledgeable National Park Rangers who will relay stories of courageous heroes in action from the Civil War’s first battle. Walk in the steps of those who shaped this nation alongside a National Park Ranger. Then enjoy the beautiful views of the city as you ride the ferry back to Charleston.

Charleston: Luxury Harbor Dinner Cruise

2. Charleston: Luxury Harbor Dinner Cruise

Embark on a true Charleston Harbor dining experience aboard the Spirit of Carolina. Enjoy a three-course dinner, made to order from local seasonal ingredients. As you dine on a delicious multi-course plated dinner, cruise through the beautiful Charleston Harbor, past Fort Sumter, along the Battery and beneath the Ravenel Bridge. Take in the views from the large enclosed air-conditioned dining decks or the open-air observation deck. Enjoy music throughout the cruise, as well as a full-service bar. Dinner menu: Soup: Charleston she-crab soup Salad: Edisto green salad with a blend of baby lettuce, dried cranberries, crumbled feta cheese, and toasted almonds with herb vinaigrette (gluten-free) Entrées: (All entrees include freshly baked bread and butter) • Braised short rib of beef (gluten-free, dairy-free) with cabernet reduction, roasted garlic whipped potatoes (gluten-free), and seasonal vegetables (gluten-free)• Seared wing tip chicken breast (gluten-free) with white wine lemon sauce, sautéed spinach and feta cheese fillings, roasted garlic whipped potatoes (gluten-free), and seasonal vegetables (gluten-free)• Low country shrimp and grits (gluten-free) with sautéed shrimp, tasso ham, and andouille sausage. Served on creamy stone-ground grits and topped with aged cheddar cheese and bacon jam garnish• Roasted sliced cauliflower (dairy-free, vegetarian) with roasted red pepper drizzle, wilted spinach, lemon and olive oil mixed ancient grains of quinoa, farro, toasted barley (dairy-free, vegetarian), and grilled asparagus (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian) Desserts: • New York-style cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream • Chocolate pot de crème (gluten-free) with whipped cream and chocolate shavings ($6.00 each) Food is not prepared in a nut-free, shellfish-free, or gluten-free facility.

Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

3. Charleston: Daytime or Sunset Historic Harbor Cruise

Cruise through the Charleston Harbor on an old-fashioned 1920s-Bay-Steamer-replica yacht. Enjoy live narration from the captain and purchase treats from a fully-stocked drink and snack bar. See the Civil and Revolutionary war sights and keep an eye out for dolphins. Relax in the enclosed observatory or on the partially-covered upper deck. Listen carefully as your captain guides you on a journey through more than 300 years of American history. You’ll pass by 75 landmarks and points-of-interest on this 20-mile trip. Get close-up views of the “Holy City,” including Fort Sumter - where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. Glide past Confederate and Union army forts and see the famous “Fighting Lady” of World War II. Pass by remnants of the Civil and Revolutionary wars and look for local wildlife like dolphins and pelicans splashing nearby. Choose between indoor or outdoor seating.

Charleston: Sightseeing Harbor Tour & Dolphin Watch

4. Charleston: Sightseeing Harbor Tour & Dolphin Watch

Take in the amazing sights of Charleston Harbor on a boat tour with live narration from a guide. Gain insight into the history of Charleston while you glide through the gentle waves of the harbor, passing by the Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney, and more. Depart from Patriots Point or Aquarium Wharf as you cruise along the coastline of the beautiful Holy City. Hear enthralling tales of the city’s colorful past as well as scintillating facts about its most interesting former citizens. Make sure to bring your camera to capture famous American landmarks such as Fort Sumter, the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, Castle Pinckney, and other sites from Charleston's past and present.

Charleston: Sunset Harbor Cruise

5. Charleston: Sunset Harbor Cruise

Discover Charleston harbor in the evening on a sunset cruise by power catamaran. Watch as the city skyline comes alive with glimmering lights as you admire landmarks like the historic Battery, the Ravenel Bridge, and Fort Sumter. Set off from the Maritime Center and cruise through the surrounding waterways of Charleston Harbor. Keep an eye out for dolphins and shore birds and take in the sights and sounds as the sun sets. Admire the sights of the historic forts, the Battery, the islands, and the lighthouses. See the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from a different perspective as you cruise beneath it. Enjoy the views of the Charleston skyline as it becomes illuminated for the evening. Relax and choose to purchase some drinks or snacks from the onboard bar as you take in the sights.

Charleston: Schooner Sailing Harbor Tour & Dolphin Watch

6. Charleston: Schooner Sailing Harbor Tour & Dolphin Watch

Experience the wonder of sailing on a classic, 84-foot tall ship in the idyllic setting of Charleston Harbor. As you cruise, marvel at the power of the wind filling the sails and the tranquility of the sea. Catch glimpses of historic landmarks, like Fort Sumter, and dolphins gamboling on the waves. Begin your sailing excursion at the Aquarium Wharf. There, meet your captain and crew of the striking, 3-masted ship known as the Schooner Pride. Admire the character and class of this authentic model of the classic coastal trading schooners. Next, prepare to set sail and help the crew as you begin to pull away from the dock. Once the sails are raised, sit back and relax on the benches lining the main deck. Enjoy views of Charleston Harbor stretching out before you. Continue your tour as you cruise past Charleston highlights, such as Fort Sumter, Fort Johnson, and Yorktown Point. Onwards, discover the historic waterfront area of Castle Pinckney. Sail further on waters that Blackbeard once traveled before returning to Aquarium Wharf.

Charleston: Historic City Tour and Harbor Cruise

7. Charleston: Historic City Tour and Harbor Cruise

Discover 300 years of Charleston history from land and sea with passionate licensed tour guides. Experience a 90-minute narrated tour of Charleston in a climate-controlled luxury coach and then head to the water for another perspective of the city from Charleston Harbor. Learn fascinating historical facts about Charleston while you cruise the gentle waves of her harbor. Knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides are licensed by the City of Charleston and are eager to share their knowledge with all guests aboard the cruise. Don't forget your camera as you will see all that the Holy City has to offer: Charleston's Historic Homes and Churches, the Old Market, Rainbow Row, Fort Sumter, USS Yorktown, and incredible views from Charleston Harbor.

Charleston: Historic City and Southern Mansion Combo Tour

8. Charleston: Historic City and Southern Mansion Combo Tour

Take a journey through Charleston's 300 years of living history with passionate licensed tour guides. Experience the Old Market area and the historic homes and churches where generations of Charlestonians worked, lived, and worshipped. Step out of the air-conditioned minibus onto the famous Battery Seawall to admire the wonderful views. See and hear about Fort Sumter, the Harbor of History, and the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point. Enjoy a tour through the elegant interior of a fully-restored historic home - Joseph Manigault House. Come and enjoy the beauty and hospitality of one of America's most historic cities.

Charleston: City Bus Tour Ticket with Live Commentary

9. Charleston: City Bus Tour Ticket with Live Commentary

Take in the 350 years of Charleston’s city history on a guided bus tour of the city. Relax with live commentary, and enjoy a stop and photo op at the Battery. Meet your guide at the bus stop and climb aboard. Get comfortable in your seat as the bus takes off for the highlights of Charleston. Sit back as your guide explains the city’s history as you drive. First, drive past Rainbow Row. Then continue past famous churches, the Old City market, and follow it up by driving past Customs House. Next, arrive at the Battery. Hop off the bus for a quick look and photo opportunity at the White Point Gardens and Fort Sumter. Take advantage of the bathrooms at this stop before climbing back on board and continuing on. Finally, circle back to where you started at the Charleston Visitor Center, and thank your guide as you descend from the bus.

Charleston: Private BYOB Luxury Sailing Cruise

10. Charleston: Private BYOB Luxury Sailing Cruise

Enjoy a 2 1/2 hour private chartered cruise for up to 6 guests on a monohull cruising yacht. Choose between daytime or sunset sailing to see the best view of the Holy City. Whether you are 6 people or 2 people, you will have the entire boat to yourselves. Meet the charter at the marina, sail past the Charleston Battery, and take in the sites of downtown Charleston. Once past the peninsula, you will have clear views of Charleston and its surrounding areas from the heart of the harbor. You can view iconic scenes of Castle Pinckney, the Ravenel Bridge, the USS Yorktown, Fort Sumter and more as we continue our sail through the Harbor. Bring your camera for all the scenes but also keep your eyes on the water as dolphins are often seen swimming around the boat. Feel free to bring your own alcohol, snacks and other beverages on to the boat. Bottled water and soda are offered onboard. An extra refrigerator and glassware are kept onboard for guests to utilize.

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What people are saying about Fort Sumter National Monument

Overall rating

4.6
(3,248 reviews)

Such a great trip!!! Went with four girl friends and we all had the absolute best time. Perfect amount of time, clean and beautiful sailboat. Patrick and Paul were both incredible!! So nice and welcoming. Would 10/10 reccomend

Everything was well organized and coordinated. The park rangers gave very informational and entertaining speeches. They really fostered a historical inquiry to what it was like, what really happened and why.

I really enjoyed the tour and learning about the history of Charleston. I was impressed with the tour guide's detailed knowledge of everything she shared with us.

Lee, JP, & Chase took excellent care of us and kept us entertained throughout our evening!

Less stairs or elevator...Buffet instead so have more options for food..