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Fort Sumter National Monument

Fort Sumter National Monument: Our most recommended tours and activities

Charleston Harbor: Luxury Dinner Cruise

1. Charleston Harbor: Luxury 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 Harbor: Narrated Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

2. Charleston Harbor: Narrated Harbor Sightseeing Cruise

Take in the amazing sights of Charleston Harbor on a 1.5-hour boat tour with live narration from an expert guide. Pick up insight into the fascinating Charleston history while you glide through the gentle waves of the harbor. Your knowledgeable and entertaining guides have been licensed by the City of Charleston and are eager to share their knowledge with all guests aboard the cruise. Make sure to bring your camera for 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. This relaxing and fun tour departs from Patriots Point and Aquarium Wharf daily. Get ready to hear enthralling tales of the city’s colorful past as well as scintillating facts about its most interesting former citizens. Perfect for all ages, the whole family can enjoy cruising along the coastline of the beautiful “Holy City”. Do you know why it's called the "Holy City"? Find out on this trip around the Charleston Harbor.

Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket and Ferry Ride

3. Charleston: Fort Sumter Entry Ticket and Ferry Ride

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: Historic City Tour and Harbor Cruise

4. 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: Tour Pass with 40+ Attractions

5. Charleston: Tour Pass with 40+ Attractions

Save 40% or more off of Charleston's top tours and attractions, pay zero to enter, and simply show your Mobile Pass. Choose a 1, 2, or 3-day pass with admission to Fort Sumter, Ghost Tours, Plantations, Museums, Carriage, and Bus Tours, Historic House Museums, Cultural sites, and much more. After purchase, you'll receive a text and email to start using the pass on your smartphone where you can choose from a selection of hand-selected tours, attractions, and historic sites. The Mobile Pass provides instant access to over 40 of the city's top tours, attractions, and historic sites where admission is included. Reserve tours in advance before arriving. Multi-day passes can be used on non-consecutive days. Choose between: 1-Day pass: Choose 2 featured tours plus visit unlimited walk-in or standard attractions for 1 day. 2-Day Pass: Choose 3 featured tours plus visit unlimited walk-in or standard attractions for 2 days. Featured Tours (requires reservations which can easily be made within the mobile pass) • Fort Sumter Tour • Carriage Tour • Boone Hall Plantation • Drayton Hall • Charleston Harbor Tour • Haunted USS Yorktown Guided Tour • Charleston History Walk • Choose from 6 different Ghost Tours • Hunley Submarine Tour (weekends only) • Mini-Bus Guided Tours Standard Attractions (no reservation required, can be visited anytime during operating hours): • Aiken Rhett House Museum • Heyward Washington House Museum • Joseph Manigault House Museum • Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site • Caw Caw Interpretive Center • Nathaniel Russell House Museum • Charleston Fun Park ($20 value) • Charleston Museum • Gibbes Museum of Art • Charleston Water Taxi (all-day ride pass) • Museum at Market Hall • Deep Water Vineyard (free tasting + wine glass) • McLeod Plantation • Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon • Slave Mart Museum • Powder Magazine • South Carolina Historical Society Museum • The Grit Counter ($7 lunch voucher per person) • Glazed Gourmet Doughnuts (free doughnut per person) • North Charleston Fire Museum

Charleston: Historic City and Southern Mansion Combo Tour

6. 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 Tour and Museum Combo

7. Charleston: City Tour and Museum Combo

Feel the past come alive on this combination tour in Charleston. Ride in comfort on a climate-controlled coach and discover Charleston's 300 years of living history with passionate licensed tour guides. Follow your bus tour with a visit to the Charleston Museum, one of the oldest museums in the United States. On your bus tour, experience the Old Market area and admire the historic homes and churches where generations of Charlestonians worked, lived, and worshipped. See and hear about Fort Sumter, the Harbor of History, and the Aircraft Carrier Yorktown at Patriots Point. Make sure to take your camera as you will have the opportunity to stop at the famous Battery Seawall and enjoy the spectacular views. Keep your camera handy when you pass by the colorful houses on Rainbow Row, too. Finally, dive into the history of the Holy City at the Charleston Museum, which was opened to the public nearly 200 years ago. Explore the exhibitions that cover the American Civil War, the natural history in the area, and much, much more.

Mount Pleasant: Charleston Harbor E-Bike Tour

8. Mount Pleasant: Charleston Harbor E-Bike Tour

See Mount Pleasant's attractions and get to know its neighborhoods on this guided E-bike tour. Have a one-of-a-kind riding experience as you cycle through historic areas and along the Charleston Harbor. Meet your guide and have a quick demonstration of how to use your e-bike. Once ready, ride into the old village towards Pitt Street Bridge and check out Fort Sumter in the distance. Bike along Pitt Street to Shem Creek Park and pass restaurants, dockside bars, watersports, an active shrimp boat fleet, and regular dolphin sightings. Work your way toward the Ravenel Bridge. Cycle through quiet neighborhood streets and head directly to Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. From here, start the trip to the USS Yorktown Naval aircraft carrier along a connected walkway that includes meandering boardwalks and gravel pathways. Get a broadside view of USS Yorktown with its deck filled with fighter planes and sometimes helicopters that take off from this point. On your way back to the meeting point, pass by Patriots Point Cold War Submarine Memorial, a large submarine that has been buried inland to become a memorial to submariners.

Charleston: Hidden Gems and Shores E-Bike Tour

9. Charleston: Hidden Gems and Shores E-Bike Tour

Add something special to your trip to Charleston with a leisurely scenic tour by e-bike. Cruise past the city's highlights and hidden gems. Ride with a guide through the old village to Pitt St. Bridge, Shem Creek Park to spot dolphins, and Sullivan's Island. Head back along South Carolina's beachy shores. The route will take you first into the old village and then to Pitt St. Bridge with stunning views of Fort Sumter. Ride through neighborhoods lined with oak trees and Spanish moss. Pass by stunning Southern estate homes, marshlands, boardwalks, and more. Next, ride through Shem Creek Park. With an active shrimp boat fleet and the chance to see dolphins, a visit to Shem Creek is sure to be unforgettable. Then, head to Sullivan’s Island and check out the pristine beach. Ride along the shoreline on your way back to the meeting point.

Charleston: Private Sightseeing & Dolphin Watching Boat Tour

10. Charleston: Private Sightseeing & Dolphin Watching Boat Tour

The only way to see Charleston is the local way from the water! Your tour will begin at the beautiful Remley Light Marina from there we will head over to the waterfront park to view Charleston's Historic Mansions. What I really like to do is customize the adventure for each guest. Here's a few examples: Dolphin tour (they move around) (: Fossil hunting for the adventurous- Shark teeth antique bottles and maybe even a Megalodon! Charleston is a mecca for all kinds of lost treasures. Lunch on a private sandbar Gorgeous Sunsets Shem Creek is a must with the fleet of Shrimp boats and gorgeous scenery Sand Dollar hunting If you have the time I'll take you to Capers Island to see Boneyard beach simply amazing! As your Captain, I will make sure your tour is filled with the beauty that is Charleston by the water.

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What people are saying about Fort Sumter National Monument

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 2,021 reviews

The views of Charleston Harbor, the cotton candy colored sunset, and the Ravanel Bridge, especially after dark, were beautiful. The service of the wait staff was prompt and friendly. The food was quite tasty and satisfying. The live music was very soothing as we enjoyed the cruise. It was a very relaxing, enjoyable evening! So glad we chose to take the dinner cruise!

Our guide was so wonderful! Everyone in our group really enjoyed everything he had to share. Lucky we had great weather too.

Very interesting. The introduction at the raising of the flag, we were the first visit of the day, was well-written.

The cruise was a great time even though it was cloudy. The service on board was excellent.

It will transport you to the 1860’s to a sad time in history.