340 Concord St, Charleston SC 29401 (Visitor Center)
Years of sectional differences and months of high drama finally boiled over when, during the early-morning hours of April 12, 1861, Confederate gunners fired the first shots of the Civil War at this Union bastion in the middle of Charleston Harbor. After 34 hours of pounding, the fort's commander, Maj. Robert Anderson, surrendered. The victorious Confederates occupied the fort, using the strategic location to keep the Union navy from the harbor and to protect blockade runners.
The fort is accessible by boat. Pick up a shuttle at the Liberty Square Visitor Center or at Patriot's Point. See the schedule and fees on fortsumtertours.com. The visitor center, with excellent exhibits and visitor information, is free.
Liberty Square visitor center open 8:30 am-5 pm daily.