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Discover Fort Sumter wheelchair accessible attractions, things to do, tours and activities for disabled travelers. Read our informative review to learn if Fort Sumter is wheelchair accessible and wheelchair friendly or if Wheelchair Jimmy recommends this attraction be avoided by travelers in wheelchairs.

Fort Sumter is a sea fort in Charleston, South Carolina, notable for two battles of the American Civil War. It was one of a number of many special forts planned after the War of 1812, combining high walls and heavy masonry, and classified as Third System, as a grade of structural integrity. Work started in 1829, but was incomplete by 1860, when South Carolina seceded from the Union. It is open for public tours as part of the Fort Sumter National Monument operated by the National Park Service.

The First Battle of Fort Sumter opened on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery fired on the Union garrison. These were the first shots of the war, and continued all day, watched by many civilians in a celebratory spirit. The fort had been cut off from its supply line, and surrendered next day. The Second Battle of Fort Sumter (September 8, 1863) was a failed attempt by the Union to re-take the fort, dogged by rivalry between army and navy commanders. Although the fort was reduced to rubble, it remained in Confederate hands until it was evacuated as Sherman marched through South Carolina in February 1865.

Accessibility Information Link

Fort Sumter Tours

  1. City Attraction Wheelchair Accessible:   Partially
  2. Fully Accessible Entry:                                Yes
  3. Accessible Restrooms Onsite:                    No
  4. Restrictive Steps:                                          Yes

Jim’s Accessibility Comments:

The Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center at Liberty Square at the Charleston dock on Concord St. is wheelchair accessible via elevator and it includes an accessible restroom. Fort Sumter itself is only accessible by ferry (30 minute ride) which is wheelchair accessible via large ramp and accessible restroom (restroom will not likely accommodate a large power chair). The Fort’s historic parade grounds and the national monument are wheelchair accessible although there are steps to the museum, museum store and observation deck. The restroom at the Fort is up 2 steps and is not accessible. The tour is an hour and the ferry remains, so if you require a restroom you return to the ship.

NOTE: Fort Sumter Tours and Spiritline Cruises are owned and operated by the same company but use different boats which are both wheelchair accessible. But be sure to select the correct tour.

NOTE: For those wanting to tour Fort Moultrie, it’s a separate trip and includes a 25 drive from Charleston across the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. Fort Moultrie is largely wheelchair accessible including an accessible restroom although there are a few areas with steps.