Fort Monroe, also known as Freedom’s Fortress, is a National Monument located in Hampton, Virginia. The monument has a museum, historical sites, beaches, fishing piers, bird watching, beautiful views and more. The best part? It's all free!
A Brief History
Fort Monroe is the largest four-star bastion fort ever built in the United States. According to Merriam-Webster, a bastion is “a projecting part of a fortification.” Bastions were used by the defensive to attack a certain direction and to store artillery.
Fort Monroe is part of an area referred to as Old Point Comfort. English colonists discovered Old Point Comfort, or Cape Comfort, in 1607. Those same colonists would go on to later establish Jamestown.
Fort Monroe was named after U.S. President James Monroe. Developed as a coastal defense strategy, Fort Monroe took 15 years to complete (1815-1836). The Fort sits on 63 acres of land and is surrounded by a moat that is still there today.
Stop by the Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center for more information on the grounds. They also offer a scannable QR code for a self-guided tour on your mobile.
Old Comfort Point Lighthouse
The original Comfort Point Lighthouse was built in 1774, but was reconstructed in 1803. The lighthouse is of sandstone masonry, an octagonal shape, and stands at 58 feet. Following the Cape Henry Lighthouse, the Old Comfort Point Lighthouse is the second oldest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay.
Next to the lighthouse sits the Keeper’s dwelling which is currently maintained by the U.S. Army. However, the Lighthouse itself is owned and operated by the United States Coast Guard.
Nature, Beaches, and Piers
Once you are done taking a tour of the historic grounds, take a walk around the park or bird watch from the park's many benches or grassy green fields.
Go hang out on the beach and take in the unique and exciting views. You'll see the World's largest Naval Base, Newport New Shipbuilding, container ships, tug boats, and barges—the view never gets boring!
Visit Fort Monroe
Next time you are in the area, or just looking for something to do, check out Fort Monroe—it's free!
The Fort Monroe Visitor and Education Center hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM. The Casemate Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday 10 AM to 4 PM. Both buildings are free and self-guided!
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