Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park | PARK AT A GLANCE

Tour boat at Fort Sumter

Tour boat at Fort Sumter

PARK OVERVIEW

Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park preserves two military forts located in Charleston, South Carolina. The most famous, Fort Sumter, is located on an island in Charleston Harbor. The National Park Service has partnered with a private concessionaire that operates boat tours up to six times a day during the peak season (private boats are no longer allowed to land on the island or enter the fort). Boat tours depart from the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square in downtown Charleston and from the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum located at 40 Patriots Point Road, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464. Patriots Point is not associated with the National Park Service, but a Park Ranger will be aboard the tour boats leaving from there. Tours take about 2.5 hours, with 1 hour spent at the fort and the rest of the time spent traveling on the boat. The fort lies about 4 miles southeast of both Liberty Square and Patriots Point, so neither departure point offers a time advantage over the other (National Park Planner only reviews the Liberty Square property).

Fort Moultrie, in various incarnations, saw service from the American Revolution through World War II. The fort is located on Sullivans Island and can be accessed by vehicle thanks to bridges. It is on the other side of the harbor from the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, and it takes about a half hour to travel between the two. Unlike Fort Sumter, where visitors only have one hour to see the fort, visitors to Fort Moultrie can spend as much time as they want at the fort. A Visitor Center and museum are located across the street. There is a fee to enter, and you can get tickets at the Visitor Center.

In my opinion, Fort Moultrie is the more interesting of the two forts, though few tourists make the trip to Moultrie. While Fort Sumter sees 300 tourists every boatload for up to six tours a day, Fort Moultrie may only get 300 visitors a day.


OPERATING HOURS

The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center is open daily from 8:30 AM to 5 PM.

Fort Sumter itself can only be reached by a concessionaire-operated ferry boat. Excursions leave multiple times each day. Get the latest schedule on the National Park Service’s Operating Hours and Seasons web page.

The Fort Moultrie Visitor Center is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM during daylight savings time, and until 4 PM the rest of the year. Fort Moultrie itself is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM.

All areas of the park are closed for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s days.


FEES

There is a fee for the concessionaire-operated ferry boat to Fort Sumter. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or on the day of the tour at the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center or Patriot’s Point. Get the latest ticket prices on the Fort Sumter Tours web page.

There is a fee to enter Fort Moultrie. For the latest prices, visit the Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park Fees and Passes web page.


SCHEDULING YOUR VISIT

Visitor Centers
allow 1 hour for each

Touring Fort Sumter
allow 3 hours

Touring Fort Moultrie
allow 2-3 hours

Sumter Map

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Last updated on March 24, 2020
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