FORT PULASKI OFFERS IDEAL EDUCATIONAL AND OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES
Savannah is known for its charming downtown, picturesque scenery and its penchant for having a good time.
But it’s also admired for its history. If you want to enjoy a ride over the Talmadge Bridge and get a worthwhile education and explore historic grounds, Fort Pulaski National Monument makes for a quintessential day trip.
Located on Cockspur Island, just 20 minutes from downtown Savannah, Fort Pulaski has stood over the Savannah River for more than 170 years. It was built to protect the city of Savannah. Construction began in 1829 and was completed in 1847.
During the Civil War, according to the National Park Service website, the fort housed soldiers, was used as a prisoner-of-war camp — and served as a “safe haven” for former slaves.
Declared a National Monument in 1924, Fort Pulaski has been preserved and offers plenty to see and do. It has become a prime attraction, with more than 374,000 visitors in 2019, according to the National Parks Service website.
Guests are invited to explore exhibits and hike or bird watch. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy a picnic on the area’s benches.
The fort is the main attraction. Visitors can walk the rooms inside, view exhibits and read panels that tell stories about the fort’s history.
If you want to enjoy the outdoors, the fort has plenty to offer, including numerous trails worth exploring. Featured trails include the North Pier, Historic Dike System, the nature loop and picnic area.
According to the National Parks Service website, the North Pier Trail runs through scenic woods and passes through remnants of Fort Pulaski’s original construction village. The trail is less than a mile.
The Historic Dike System is a two-mile trail that circles the fort, which gives visitors “unparalleled views” of Cockspur Island and the Savannah River.
A tip for visitors: If you walk around the fort and follow the moat, you’ll see battle scars that mark the fort. There are still shells embedded in the walls from a battle in 1862.
There are a few limitations for visitors. The visitor center and Lighthouse Overlook Trail are closed. Joel Cadoff, the park’s public information officer, expects the lighthouse trail to reopen this spring.
Restrooms are available. Because of the coronavirus masks are required.
“There are some limitations, but folks will be able to have a fantastic visit,” Cadoff said.
If you can’t make the trip, you can still enjoy the experience.
A 20-minute film on the Fort Pulaski website explores its history and construction.
You can also take a virtual tour of the fort’s trails. Follow the link on the website for one of 11 trails and listen to a park ranger guide you as you view a video of the grounds.