Located in the beautiful Charleston Harbor, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is one of Charleston’s most popular museums for hands-on learning. Climb aboard the USS Yorktown (an aircraft carrier), the USS Laffey (a destroyer), and the USS Clamagore (a submarine) as you learn about American naval and maritime history first-hand.
The USS Yorktown is the star attraction of Patriots Point. This aircraft carrier saw action during World War II and the Vietnam War, and today it houses detailed exhibits about naval maritime history, an Apollo 8 capsule with real audio and video footage from the spacecraft launch, and 25 naval aircrafts such as an F-14 Tomcat and A-7 Corsair, all available for viewing. Adjacent, you can climb aboard the USS Laffey to explore the most decorated surviving WWII-era US destroyer, and go below deck on the USS Clamagore, the only Cold War GUPPY III submarine preserved in the United States.
Additional exhibits include the Vietnam Experience Exhibit, an immersive exhibit that uses holograms to simulate life on a naval support base during the war, and the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum, housed inside the USS Yorktown.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is a must for history buffs, especially those interested in the military and WWII. This kid-friendly venue is a hit with families, too.
- Plan to spend roughly four hours exploring the museum.
- A lunch café and snack shack are available on-site.
- Self-guided audio tours are available for an additional fee.
- The USS Yorktown is the museum’s only wheelchair-accessible vessel.
How to Get There
Patriots Point is located in the Mount Pleasant side of the Charleston Harbor, just a 5-minute drive from downtown at the base of the Ravenel Bridge. Paid on-site parking is available, or you can take a water taxi across the harbor.
When to Get There
The maritime center is open daily from 9am to 6:30pm with limited hours on holidays. Because this is a popular attraction, plan to arrive early.
Patriots Point Tours and Experiences
If you’re looking for a tour that goes beyond the typical museum visit, try a USS Yorktown ghost tour that includes access to restricted parts of the ship, a fly-in helicopter tour, or a USS Yorktown sleepover. You can also use Patriots Point as a starting location for tours of Fort Sumter.