Famous Forts

Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC

Fort Sumter in Charleston, SC

Fort Sumter, Charleston
The first shots of the Civil War were fired here on April 12, 1861. A surrender 34 hours later didn’t deter Union forces, who tried for four years to take back this powerful symbol of one of the greatest challenges this country has ever faced. Tours to the island are conducted by Fort Sumter Tours, with two departure locations. Families love the breezy boat ride over and a hands-on lesson of the fort. Take a guided tour or explore the cannons, bricks and gun emplacements of the fort.

Four cannons atop the eastern wall of Fort Macon with the American flag flying behind.

Four cannons atop the eastern wall of Fort Macon with the American flag flying behind.

Fort Macon, Atlantic Beach
The 2015 North Carolina State Park of the Year, Fort Macon is a perfectly restored Civil War structure with a museum-quality coastal education center and an unspoiled shoreline for swimming, surf fishing and beachcombing. The pristine beauty of a park lies on a peninsula; here you can learn about salt marshes, estuaries and dune fields. Cannon and musket demonstrations are a regular part of the curriculum, and a bathhouse and accessible beachside round out this cool and interesting bit of Southern history.

A view out over the intracostal waterway of Fort Matanzas outside St. Augustine, FL.

A view out over the intracostal waterway of Fort Matanzas outside St. Augustine, FL.

Fort Matanzas, St. Augustine
This national monument, housed in the historical St. Augustine, has stories to tell. It guarded the city’s southern river approach as European nations fought for control over the new world in the colonial wars. The monument now stands guard over the plants and animals that thrive in the area despite modern development. Abundant natural areas mean you can see an intact barrier island ecosystem teeming with native plants and animals through the half-mile nature trail, river and ocean beaches.

Beautiful view of fort San Cristobal in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Beautiful view of fort San Cristobal in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Fort San Cristobal, San Juan
This massive fort built on the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was constructed by the Spanish in 1783 to protect against land-based attacks on the city. Puerto Rico is the easternmost of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean and was the first major island with supplies for restocking sailing ships. Shortly after the Spaniards settled here, they realized they needed to protect their prize with a fort. At 27 acres, it’s the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the new world.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. His favorite RTX destinations are on the beach: Orange Beach, Alabama, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. .

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