Day Trips from Columbia :: Exploring Fort Sumter


My family loves exploring all that Columbia has to offer. But we also enjoy taking day trips trips to Charleston. It’s so fun and easy! 

Like many places in South Carolina, Charleston is rich in history. There are so many historical locations to vist; so much knowledge to gain and history to soak up! One such place is Fort Sumter. Fort Sumter is a military fort on built a large sand bar that was made into an artificial island in Charleston Harbor. It was buit in 1829 as a way to defend the harbor from foreign invaders. Fort Sumter is actually where the Civil War first began; the first shots of the war were fired there in 1861.

While much of the fort was destroyed during the Civil War, some of it was rebuilt. And, what remains is open to the public to explore. Since it’s an island in the middle of the harbor, you have to take a boat to get to it. You can get the tour boats from Patriot’s Point (Mt. Pleasant) or Liberty Square (Downtown). I highly recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time and arriving early, as it can get crowded. You don’t want to waste your time waiting in line for tickets. 

The boat ride took about 35 minutes from Patriot’s Point to Fort Sumter. It was a nice and easy trip over, and we saw quite a few dolphins on our way to the fort. There was a tour guide on the boat giving information about Fort Sumter as we made our way there. Once you arrive at the fort, you will have an hour to explore on your own, and then it’s another 35 minute boat ride back. 

My boys and I had a fantastic time exploring the fort! They loved learning about the history of the fort, seeing the old cannons and weaponry, and exploring the museum that is there. The museum is home to the original flag that was flown over Fort Sumter when it was built. It was amazing to see such a wonderful piece of history up close! 

The flag flying here is a replica of the original flag flown over the fort

Even if you aren’t a huge history buff, For Sumter is still a great place to visit. Just getting to see what a military fort was like in the 1800s was an incredible experience. And, you get the most beautiful views of Charleston from the fort as well! You can see Sullivan’s Island on one side, Patriot’s Point on another side, the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, and more. 

Fort Sumter is an easy day trip from Columbia. The tour boat schedule allows for morning and afternoon departures, so you can pick the one that works best for you. You get to enjoy a relaxing boat ride, explore a historical site, learn about some South Carolina history, and then head back home when you’re ready. It’s a great family outing!

Have you been to Fort Sumter? What did you enjoy about it?


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