Another weekend is nearing. Have you planned a weekend trip yet?
There’s a handful of places in the United States alone to go to this weekend. But if you’re more of a history buff, we suggest you plan a trip to Fort Pulaski, a nice historical place that you can find in Savannah Georgia.
Savannah, Georgia is known for a lot of things. Aside from peaches and other good food, this place is also known for its beautiful coastal landscapes and architecture. But did you know that Savannah, Georgia is also a place full of stories to tell? Hence, if you’re in for a trip down memory lane, Savannah, Georgia’s Fort Pulaski is what we highly recommend if you’re looking for a place to visit this weekend with your friends and/or family.
- 1 Fort Pulaski: A Little Bit of History
- 2 Things to Do in Fort Pulaski National Monument
- 3 Fort Pulaski Rates
- 4 Fort Pulaski National Monument Hours
- 5 How to Get to Fort Pulaski National Monument
- 6 Attractions Near Fort Pulaski National Monument
Fort Pulaski: A Little Bit of History
In the eastern part of Georgina lies Fort Pulaski that witnessed a lot of happenings in the history of the state. Named after Kazimierz Pulaski, a Polish soldier and military commander who fought in the American Revolution, this placed served as a testing ground for rifled cannons for combat and was used as a camp for the prisoners of war.
An estimated 25 million bricks were used to build the fort. It also has walls that are 11 ft. thick. Hence, many believe that it is impenetrable. And that’s probably one of the reasons why it still stands today.
Back in the day, at the mouth of the Savannah River, the fort’s purpose was to defend Savannah which was a booming port city, from any attack. But after South Carolina seceded from the United States, starting the civil war, Fort Pulaski was taken over by Georgia’s Confederate troops.
At that time, the Union forces saw that the fort was mostly unprotected. Hence, they took their chance and began building batteries on the beaches of Tybee Island to acquire a foothold in the midst of the Confederate States. In 1862, the siege of Fort Pulaski began where union troops used state-of-the-art guns in a bombardment of the fort that lasted 30 hours.
Today, it has been preserved and is now a haven for history buffs.
But what can you see and do here today if you were to visit, especially this weekend? Here are some of the things you can do at Fort Pulaski.
Things to Do in Fort Pulaski National Monument
Fort Pulaski is known to hold lots of stories about the past. And if you are one of the curious visitors, you can sign up for a history tour that are being offered from Fridays to Sundays. While we have already mentioned a glimpse of the fort’s history, the guided tours will give you more knowledge about what happened in the past. Of course, the fort is known for a lot of stories during the 1800s and what better way to get to know each of them in the fort’s historical tours.
For this activity, a ranger will lead your group. He/she will take you to every historical corner of the fort as he/she shared his/her knowledge about various topics about the fort. Also, he/she will walk you through the historic fort for 45 to 60 minutes.
Aside from history, the fort is also rich in wildlife. Hence, when you visit this place, you can also get to find various species of animals. This is because the range of ecosystems that you can find within the boundaries of Fort Pulaski National Monument support a variety of both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife.
In this activity, you can get to see 11 protected species. Here, you can spot American oystercatchers, bald eagles, gull-billed terns, least terns, and logger sea turtles. You can also get to see manatees, peregrine falcons, piping plovers, and swallow-tailed kites. There are also Wilson’s plovers and woodstorks.
The fort is also a home to various floras. Back in the old days, though, Fort Pulaski has a different landscape. When the first soldiers arrived, the place is primarily filled with salt marsh with some coastal hammock forest. And in order to develop the island for defense, soldiers installed drainage canals and dike system to modify the island. And because of this and to enhance visibility, any existing vegetation was removed. The dredge spoil from the Savannah River was also deposited on the island which later impacted the natural scene of the place.
But since the abandonment of the fort in the late 1800s, a considerable portion of the place has reverted to maritime forest. And today, you will find about 250 acres of upland areas that support a mosaic of maritime forest, maintained grasslands, successional spoil deposit areas, shrub communities, and more than 350 acres of tidal marsh. A lot of the plants and flowers are also Instagram-worthy.
And speaking of vegetation, the park that surrounds the fort can also be hiked. Hence, if you’re craving for some outdoor activity, this place is also for you. The place offers different trails where you can go hiking through the mix of nature and history of the fort.
The North Pier is for visitors who want to explore a short trail. This trail is just a ¼ mile trip. If you were to take this trail, it will take you through a wooden landscape. You can also get to see the remains of Fort Pulaski’s original construction village and the notable north pier.
If you wish to hike a longer trail, there is also the Lighthouse Overlook trail, a ¾-mile long trail. Here, you can get to take in the views of the Savannah River and the Tybee Island.
For the longest trail, you can choose the six-mile stretch of McQueens Island Rails to Trails. This trail is packed with gravel road that’s not just open for hikers and walkers but for bikers too. This also follows a rail line, hence the name, that used to connect Savannah to the Tybee beaches.
If you’re not up for some strenuous activities like hiking and if you just want to relax and bond with your family and/or friends, don’t worry as the fort also has picnic areas. So don’t forget to bring some food as well as other picnic essentials.
The fort is also full of nice views of nature. Wherever you look, you will surely find picturesque views. Whether you choose to hike, tour the fort, go on a picnic, there will always be some nice views to fill your eyes with. So whether or not you’re up for some outdoor activities, this place is perfect for everyone.
7Visitor Center and Museum
If you crave for more pieces of history, the fort has a visitor center museum too. This place is filled with exhibits, which highlight General David Hunter and Robert E. Lee, where you can learn more about the construction of the fort, as well as the significance of the battle for Fort Pulaski in April 1862.
There are also films that lasts for an hour and half screened from 9:30 to 4:30 PM. With this, you can get to see some highlights about the history of the fort through moving images.
However, not all good things such as this historic fort comes for free. Here are the rates that you need to take note of if in case you’re visiting soon.
Fort Pulaski Rates
If you are (or with) 16 years and older, note that the entrance fee for the fort costs $10. However, guests under 15 years old can explore the fort free of charge.
Fort Pulaski is one of the places in Georgia that will make you come back time and again because of the knowledge that you can get here plus the relaxing and jaw-dropping picturesque views. And if you’re one of those guests who can’t resist the beauty of this place and want to always come back, you can purchase the Fort Pulaski annual pass that costs only $35. This pass already covers the pass holder and three additional people for admission to the monument for one full year.
Fort Pulaski National Monument Hours
If you’re planning to visit the fort soon, it would be better to get to know its operational hours first before anything. In this way, you are sure that your trip won’t get wasted.
For Fort Pulaski’s National Monument, it is open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. However, Fort Pulaski National Monument is closed on certain holidays like Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Meanwhile, the Visitor Center is open from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. The Bridge is open from 9 AM to 4:45 PM.
However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might want to keep an eye for advisories on the fort’s website just to be sure.
How to Get to Fort Pulaski National Monument
Getting to Fort Pulaski via car would be much easier. From the Interstate I-95, just take Exit 99 onto Interstate I-16 East (James L Gillis Memorial Hwy) for 7 miles. Then, take Exit 164A onto Interstate I-516 East toward US-80 East. Take Exit 3 (US-17 S/US-80 E) toward US-80 East then turn left onto Ocean Highway, Ogeechee Rd (US-17 N, US-80 East). Bear right onto West Victory Drive (US-80 East) and continue on US-80 East for 13 miles. Fort Pulaski National Monument entrance will be on the left-hand side of US-80; the entrance is just after a turn in the highway so keep an eye out. You can also refer to the map below.
If you crave more adventures, here are some nearby attractions that you can visit too.
Attractions Near Fort Pulaski National Monument
Fort Pulaski is also near several attractions that are worth-visiting. Take a look at these neighboring tourist spots.
Cumberland Island National Seashore
If you’re up for some more history and sightseeing, the Cumberland Island National Seashore is one of the nearby attractions that you shouldn’t miss too. Known as Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island, this place can talk big about its pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches, and wide marshes that witnessed some of the stories of natives, missionaries, enslaved African Americans, as well as wealthy industrialists who have all walked here. You can also camp, bike, and even go on a guided tour where you can get to hear more of the stories of the place.
Also just a stone throw away Fort Pulaski, you can find Fort Frederica. Like the Fort Pulaski, Fort Frederica also played a huge part in the war. This is because this place once served as the British military headquarters in colonial America. Before it is supposed to defend the southern frontier from the continued presence of Spanish colonials in the American Southeast. But today, it now serves as a nice tourist spot for those who are seeking for more knowledge about the US’ rich history. Here, you will not just get to see the ruins of war but you can also get to see actual objects used by the soldiers and townsfolk of Frederica and other historical artifacts that will give you more knowledge about Fort Frederica’s past. This place is also great for recreational activities like hiking as it also has different trails to offer. In addition to that, you can also grab your friends and/or family to have a picnic on the fort’s designated area. You can even fish at its dock.
Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie
Another must-visit tourist attractions that are not to be missed are Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie. These forts aren’t part of Georgia anymore, though. Even so, these forts are near Fort Pulaski as they are only located in South Carolina. These forts hold a lot of stories about the American civil war too.
Back in 1861, Confederate forces occupied Fort Sumter. They used it to marshal a defense of Charleston Harbor. They also armed it to allow the Confederates to create a valuable hole in the Union blockade of the Atlantic seaboard. And here, you can get a glimpse of that part of history via wayside exhibits that interpret the historic resources found throughout the site. However, the activities in this fort is only limited to that, as well as scenic viewing and bird watching. Still, it’s a place that’s not to be missed if you’re a history buff.
Near the Fort Sumter is Fort Moultrie, a place like Fort Sumter which was also used to defend Charleston. Here, you can go on a self-guided tour. There are also wayside exhibits posted throughout the fort where you can also get a glimpse of what the American civil war was like in this area. But unlike Fort Sumter, this place offers activities such as boating, fishing, kayaking, and nature walks, aside from wildlife viewing and bird watching.
These forts also have their own museums.
Fort Sumter has an extensive museum exhibits that tell the story of the growing sectionalism and strife between the North and the South back in the day and how these problems erupted into civil war. You can also get to have a peek at how the fort was constructed, the events that lead to the 1861 battle, the bombardment and reduction of Fort Sumter, and more.
Meanwhile at Fort Moultrie’s museum, you can trace the story of American seacoast defenses. There is also a 20-minute film orientation being offered where you can take a trip to the past.
Who knew we’d be recommending a cemetery as a tourist spot? But hear us out first. Apparently, this cemetery is worth-visiting because of its unparalleled beauty. It’s so beautiful and frequented by many that the cemetery started organizing tours. The place is also rich in history and you can get to know them better with the tours that the cemetery organizes. And the best part of it is that the tours are free. However, tours are only offered on the second weekend of every month so it is best to plot your visit ahead. Also, note that the cemetery only limits 30 visitors per guide. But don’t fret much if your schedule prevents you from visiting on scheduled guided tour days as you can always tour the place by yourself using the cemetery’s mobile tour app. While it’s a cemetery, there’s nothing to be scared of; the place boasts of picturesque views that will make you forget you’re touring a graveyard.
Tybee Island Lighthouse
Tybee Island Lighthouse is known as Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse. The title alone makes it look like a place worth visiting. But aside from that, the reason why we also suggest this place is the views that you can get to see from here. Apparently, you can climb up Georgia’s tallest lighthouse. And from here, you can get a stunning 360-degree views of the Tybee Island. Just be prepared to take nearly 200 steps to the top. But we assure you, it will be all worth it once you reach the top. Aside from that, there is Tybee Island Light Station and Museum nearby where you can get a glimpse of the island’s history. You will not just get to fill your eyes with amazing views but you can also get to come home full of knowledge.
Tybee Island Marine Center
Speaking of Tybee Island, since you’re already here, you can also visit the Tybee Island Marine Center. Here you can talk a good walk by the beach and take in the scenic views that it can offer. You can also learn more about sea turtles inside the marine center, understand them and their habitats more, and even learn how to care for them. Through this, you can also learn the marine center’s conservation efforts for the turtles. You can also take a trek through its marsh. If you don’t want to take a walk alone and if you want to learn more, you can also join the marine science educated-guided walks, talks, and treks being offered.
Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum
If you love going on museum hopping, after visiting the previous tourist spots, you can also visit the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. Here, as its name suggests, you can get to see planes. But aside from that, this museum also preserves a lot of stories of courage, character, and patriotism that the men and women of the Eighth Air Force displayed from World War II until today. And if you were to visit the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, you can get to hear all of them. And the best part of it is that you will be guided by World War II Veterans. Who else can tell great stories of the past through these guys? With their stories, you will surely get to feel as if you were there with the stories they share.
There’s so much more to enjoy in Georgia than these though, especially this coming weekend. But we’re sure that a trip to Fort Pulaski National Monument and some of the nearby attractions will surely make your weekend a blast already. So if you’re around Georgia or if you’re just looking for a nice weekend getaway trip this weekend, these attractions are something you shouldn’t miss.