Corbitt's National Parks
     Fort Point
               National Historic Site



1970: National Historic Site

Size: 29 acres

200 visitors: 1,390,187

Stamp: yes

Rating (1-5):

About the Site

Now this is a fort! (Compare and contrast Fort Bowie). Fort Point highlights the strategic importance of San Francisco harbor. It's a brick building, constructed just before the Civil War to protect the harbor. There are many cannon on display, and standing on top of the third story gives a good view of the entrance to the Bay and of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Fort was never used in war. When rifled cannons were developed during the Civil War, it became clear that Fort Point's masonry and granite construction would not be up to the task. Luckily, it never became a problem, although during World War II soldiers were stationed there to maintain the anti-submarine barrier across the harbor mouth.

What You're Going to See

This is a three-story brick and granite fort in excellent conditions. Kids will have a great time running around the inside of the fort, examining the huge cannons and exploring the nooks and crannies. If you feel like braving the San Francisco weather, climb to the top for a great view of the Golden Gate bridge and this side of the harbor. But beware - if you thought it was cold and windy in the fort courtyard, it's much more so up above.

The Golden Gate Bridge was built long after the fort, dwarfing it in beauty and utility. The Fort served as a base of operations during the construction, and the cramped visitors center has displays on it as well as histories of the fort. This area of San Francisco is chock-full of interesting sites; be sure to plan enough time to see the Presidio and the Maritime Museum, both very close by. All three sites are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Personal Observations

Now this was a fort! Cannons, heavy walls, the Bridge overhead, Alcatraz Island visible from the top - the only way it could have been better was if it had actually seen battle. Still, kids and adults can appreciate this part of history. The fact that it's very close to Fisherman's Wharf and the Embarcadero doesn't hurt. This will be a worthy addition to your Passport.

Getting There

From San Francisco, head toward the Golden Gate Bridge, but don't cross! On Highway 1, and 101, take the last exit off before the bridge. Work east onto Lincold Blvd, then take a left onto Long Ave and follow it all the way to the Fort. From Marina Blvd, go west toward the Bridge and take Mason Street off. Follow it just past McDonald St., then turn left and turn right onto Chrissy Field. Merge onto Lincold Blvd, take Long Ave off to the right, and follow that to the Fort.

From north of the Bridge, take the first exit past the toll. Turn left onto Merchant Road, go left onto Lincoln Blvd, turn left onto Long Ave and follow it to the Fort.

Nearby Attractions

Within 40 miles of Fort Point you will find: Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, John Muir National Historic Site, Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park, Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site, San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Muir Woods National Monument, and Point Reyes National Seashore. Don't forget California Coastal National Monument either.

Let's face it, the San Francisco area is a treasure trove of things to do.

Visited July 2003.