Located in the historic town of Charleston, South Carolina, Fort Sumter is a fort located on the sea. Fort Sumter is known as being the location where two significant battles occurred during the Civil War. The main attraction at Fort Sumter is the fort itself. Visitors are also encouraged to explore another nearby fort called Fort Moultrie. In addition to explore the different forts, visitors can tour the Visitor Center and Museum, which depict the history of the forts, the Civil War, and the general Charleston area. Photo: jrsphotos77/Fotolia



Shortly after the War of 1812, Fort Sumter was built. Its name comes from General Thomas Sumter, who was a hero in the Revolutionary War. One of the main reasons why Fort Sumter was built was to make sure the southern coast’s harbors were protected. In 1829, the Fort’s construction officially broke ground. Although construction began early on, Fort Sumter was not complete until 1861. 1861 also happened to be the same year that the Civil War started.

The first shots fired of the Civil War occurred at Fort Sumter between Confederate and Federal forces. On April 12, 1861, at 4:30 in the morning, Confederate troops fired against Federal forces. In addition to these first shots, Fort Sumter was one of the main focal points of South Carolina, as was the entire town of Charleston.

In addition to the Fort itself, the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square also has a historic history related to the tragedies of the Civil War and that time period. The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square is where the historic Gadsden’s Wharf was located. Gadsden’s Wharf was a popular location for slave transportation. A lot of enslaved Africans entered the United States from Gadsden’s Wharf. Charleston, South Carolina: Fort Sumter - Photo: Jill Lang/Fotolia

»Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities

Since exploring Fort Sumter is already an educational opportunity, the formal educational opportunities at Fort Sumter are limited. Visitors are welcome to participate in one of the specialized guided tour activities, such as the boat tour program. Educators and students also have the opportunity to participate in one of the specialized guided tour activities through the field trip program.

Other than guided tours, Fort Sumter offers an array of interactive activities for people of all ages. Majority of the smaller interactive activities are offered for younger children. Children have the opportunity of becoming a Junior Ranger by using an activity book as a guide for a scavenger hunt.

Also, educators can use any of Fort Sumter’s online resources, such as lesson plans, to teach students about the Civil War and get them prepared for their visit to Fort Sumter.

Although Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie are a historic part of Charleston and United States history, and visitors are encouraged to have an educational and fun time at the forts, it’s important to remember that a lot of sacrifices and losses happened at the forts and during the Civil War. Charleston, South Carolina: Fort Sumter - Photo: Wollwerth Imagery /Fotolia

»Plan This Vacation

Plan This Vacation

It’s normal to feel hungry or thirsty in Charleston heat while you’re exploring Fort Sumter. If you choose to take the Fort Sumter Tours Ferry Boat, you can enjoy a snack bar and a few water fountains. Water fountains are also spread out across the outside of Fort Sumter.

One of the coolest things about the water fountains on the boats and across the fort is the innovative design. While each water fountain has a typically water fountain spout design, it also has a designated vertical spout. Thus, visitors can quickly and efficiently fill up their water bottles. The vertical water spout is also healthier than the mouth water spouts.

It’s important to note that once inside Fort Sumter, visitors are not allowed to picnic. But, small snack items and water is allowed.

After spending a day exploring Fort Sumter, stop by the Fort Sumter Bookstore. The Bookstore has three locations: Fort Sumter, Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square, and Fort Moultrie Visitor Center on Sullivan’s Island.

Each Bookstore is owned and operated by Eastern National. Eastern National has been working alongside the National Park Service for many years. Together, Eastern National and the National Park Service have ensured the souvenirs sold at the bookstores are educational and of superior quality.

While majority of the items within the bookstores are books and educational items, the bookstores offer little trinkets, stuffed animals, apparel, drinkware, and other souvenirs that are related to Fort Sumter.

For more information about the bookstores, or any other opportunity at Fort Sumter, visit the fort’s official website, or contact them during their hours of operation.

Back to: Charleston, South Carolina Address: 1214 Middle Street, Sullivan's Island, SC 29482, Phone: 843-883-3123 Charleston, South Carolina: Fort Sumter - Photo: Dave/Fotolia

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Charleston, South Carolina: Fort Sumter