ROADTRIP: Charleston’s Fort Moultrie Is Worth the Trip

By D. Lanier Shook                                                                           December 17, 2013

There are few things that are easily identifiable by one name. Charleston is one of those places. You could spend a week there and still have a list of things to see or do. When we had to choose a destination for the family in our weekly cartoon The Road That Never Ends  Charleston was an obvious choice.

History  is one reason that Charleston is such a destination. So much of America’s past is represented in the city. The settling of the New World, the tragedy of slavery, the American Revolution, the American Civil War, and even more. Fort Moultrie is a great place to explore much of this history.

FtMoultireTunnel

Welcome to Fort Moultire. Through these tunnels lay the history of coastal defense in America.

Fort Moultrie is literally older than our nation and it received its very literal baptism of fire about a week before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Named after the commander during engagement — William Moultrie— the fort would later witness the opening of another crisis in American history. Major Robert Anderson was commander of the garrison in 1860 and when South Carolina seceded from the Union he decided to move his forces from Fort Moultire to the more secure Fort Sumter.

FtMoultrieWalls

These walls have seen alot of history.

Fort Moultrie was rebuilt and modernized after the Civil War. It continued to defend Charleston until 1947, when military technology moved threats beyond the horizon and out of its range. The facility was preserved as a monument to the Coastal Defense that protected our nation’s shores for nearly two centuries.

Fort Moultrie Vis Ctr

The Visitor’s Center is as much of the site as the Fort. This is where you’ll learn why the Fort was significant, enjoy great exhibits, and an awesome gift shop.

The National Park Service Visitor Center is an incredible addition to the site and nearly as interesting as the Fort itself. Take the time to watch the documentary about Coastal Defense. Browse the exhibits about Fort Moultrie,  Charleston, America’s Wars, and even more. Don’t forget to visit the gift shop where you can find awesome presents for both you and your friends. There’s a great parking lot out back with a great picnic area near the ocean.

FtMoultireInterior

The inside of Fort Moultire — they don’t build ’em like this anymore.

Fort Moultrie is a big place. You’ll want to reserve a good chunk of time to see it, especially since there’s a very reasonable entry fee. I’m going to suggest clearing two or three hours for the Fort, its exhibits, and the Visitor’s Center. Fortunately Sullivan’s Island is home to several great restaurants or you can take the quick drive to Charleston and Mount Pleasant for lunch.

FtMoultrieCannon

The Fort features a variety of artillery from American history.

If you’re interested in history, Charleston, the Navy, the American Civil War, or the American Revolution then you have to visit Fort Moultrie. This is a great place to bring children but steep stone stairways, high ledges, and heavy doors mean you’ll want to keep them close. Also keep in mind there isn’t much shade so wear sunscreen, a broad brimmed hat, and drink plenty of water.

FtMoultrieMagazine

One more photo. The door on the right is the entrance to Fort Moultrie’s powder magazine. The large yellow thing in the middle of the picture protects the door from incoming shells.

Fort Moultrie is an amazing place you’ll probably want to visit several times. Like any Roadtrip you’ll want to do your homework and gather your intelligence before you go. Here are a few sites that will help you do this.

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