Fort Point National Historic Site

Fort Point National Historic Site

Quick Facts

Fort Point National Historic Site

California

(415) 556-1693

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Fort Point National Historic site is a great way to connect to American history. The Presidio has a rich cultural history spanning back to the time of the native Ohlone or Costanoan people. The Spanish arrived in 1776 to establish the northernmost outpost of their empire in western North America. The Presidio then fell under Mexican rule for 24 years before the U.S. Army took control of it in 1846. Over 148 years, the U.S. Army transformed the Presidio grounds from mostly empty windswept dunes and scrub to a verdant, preeminent military post. Constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1853 and 1861, the fort prevented entrance of a hostile fleet into San Francisco Bay. Rushed to completion at the beginning of the Civil War, Fort Point was first garrisoned in February of 1861 by Company I, 3rd U.S. Artillery Regiment. The fort was occupied throughout the Civil War, but the advent of faster, more powerful rifled cannon made brick forts such as Fort Point obsolete. In 1886 the troops were withdrawn, and the last cannon were removed about 1900. Between 1933 and 1937 the fort was used as a base of operations for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. During World War II, Fort Point was occupied by about 100 soldiers who manned searchlights and rapid-fire cannon mounted atop the fort as part of the protection of a submarine net strung across the entrance to the Bay. Fort Point is the only third system brick fort on the west coast of the United States. It became a National Historic Site on October 16th, 1970. Since 1994, the Presidio has been a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Entrance to the fort is free. self-guided and ranger-guided tours are availble year-round from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Map of Fort Point

Latitude, Longitude: 37.810630, -122.476951

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Activities

  • Boating

    Boating is not available.

  • Bicycling

    Bicycling is not available.

  • Fishing

    Fishing is not available.

  • Hiking

    Hiking is not available.

  • Historic Sites

    Fort Point is a great place to learn about the history of the bay area by taking a guided tour. A self-guided tour booklet is available when you enter the fort. For a history tour join one of the staff members near the front entrance of the fort for a tour. Learn about the soldiers' lives, architecture, cannons, cuisine and lots more. Tours last about 30 minutes. If you're into film, a 17-minute documentary entitled "Guardians of the Golden Gate" will guide you through the fort's history. Another film, "Building the Golden Gate Bridge" is an interesting look into the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike other videos about the bridge, this video not only contains footage taken during construction, but relates the story of the steel company and construction workers that built the bridge. It lasts about 28 minutes and is produced by the Bethlehem Steel Company. In addition, you can join a member of the staff and learn about the Napoleon 12-pounder field cannon. Afterwards, you and other visitors can demonstrate the loading techniques you learned. Meet at the small field cannon across the front entrance, at the green benches. Drills usually take about 30 minutes.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is encouraged. Please be considerate of local wildlife and other visitors; do not litter.

  • Water Sports

    Water sports are not available.

Seasonality/Weather

Fort Point is open year round with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Park Partners

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Muir Woods. Crissy Field. Alcatraz. The Marin Headlands. Stinson Beach. Lands End. The Presidio. There's only one nonprofit that supports Muir Woods, Crissy Field, Alcatraz, The Marin Headlands, Stinson Beach, Lands End and The Presidio, The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. Their mission is to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the park visitor experience, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future.

(415) 561-3000

Directions

Driving

Fort Point is located at the south anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge at the end of Marine Drive on the Presidio of San Francisco. By car from San Francisco and points south, take Highway 101 north and exit right at the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza before getting on bridge. Turn right at end of exit ramp and then left onto Lincoln Boulevard. Take the first left onto Long Avenue and follow onto Marine Drive and Fort Point at its end.

Public Transportation

By public transit, San Francisco Muni 28 and 29 bus routes stop at bridge toll plaza. Follow trail signs northeast of plaza area to Fort Point at base of bluffs.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(415) 556-1693

Links