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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- The National Park Service’s excellent website about Fort Moultrie. You need to visit here for directions, hours, and ticket prices.
- Wikipedia’s page about Fort Moultrie. This is where you can learn all the awesome info about the Fort so you can awe your friends when you visit it.