Across Virginia

Fort Monroe National Monument

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Lighthouse at Fort Monroe, Wikimedia

The Fort Monroe National Monument on the tip of the Virginia Peninsula has been an integral part of Virginia history for centuries.

The fort was built by French engineer General Simon Bernard between 1819 and 1834. The construction was built in response to the War of 1812 to strengthen America’s borders and fortifications.

Located on Old Point Comfort, the 565-acre peninsula on the Chesapeake Bay, Fort Monroe was designed to protect the bay and those living around it.

Robert E. Lee, head of the Confederate Army, was among many who helped to build Fort Monroe.

The fort was operated by Union troops during the Civil War, serving as a safe haven for thousands of slaves fleeing the Confederacy.

Today, the fort remains in adaptive use. Visitors flock to the monument to learn more about its rich history and many uses.


Fort Monroe is located 65 miles east of Richmond, along the Chesapeake Bay. It is located on the Virginia Peninsula in Continental Park.

Visitors to the park are asked to follow signs for Casemate Museum upon entering the peninsula.

The park is a three-hour drive from Washington, D.C., and a 40-minute drive from Virginia Beach. From Roanoke, the park is a four-hour drive.

Hours and Admission

The Fort Monroe National Monument is one of the newest national parks. Hours and programs have not yet been set, but full schedule programing is expected to develop within a few years.

The grounds at Fort Monroe National Monument are open continuously for outdoor activity.

Casemate Museum, operated by the Commonwealth of Virginia with support from the United States Army, is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The museum is not open on Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, New Year’s Day, and Easter Sunday.

The museum is wheelchair accessible.

Guided tours are available for groups of 10 or more.

Admission to the museum and to the grounds of Fort Monroe is free.

Things to Do
Visitors to Fort Monroe can enjoy exploring the 63-acre fort and the peninsula on which it is located.

Casemate Museum offers an extensive history of the fort complete with displays and exhibits.

Visitors can walk along the Civil War trails and can take a virtual tour of Casemate Museum.

Fort Monroe National Monument offers a variety of concerts and exhibits throughout the year.

For the summer of 2013, the fort is hosting a Summer Concert Series called Music by the Bay. Concerts take place every Thursday evening and are free to attend.

On the Fourth of July, the U.S. Fleet Forces Band performed at Fort Monroe Music by the Bay.

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