As one of the oldest states in the U.S., New York offers a wealth of enriching historical experiences that bring our nation’s story to life. Forts, such as ours at Fort Ticonderoga, were integral to our country achieving and maintaining its independence for centuries.
If you are looking to bring U.S. history to life, start with some of New York’s most famous forts! Here are some that you can add to your itinerary:
Fort Ticonderoga (Ticonderoga, NY)
Originally named Fort Carillon, Fort Ticonderoga is a star-shaped fort that was first built and used by French military personnel after the Battle of Lake George. It later rose to national significance when the United States captured it from the British, which provided the new nation’s military with a significant increase in supplies and resources to continue fighting. Without taking Ticonderoga, the Patriots may not have later defeated the British forces.
Today, Fort Ticonderoga is Upstate New York’s most visited historical site, welcoming more than 75,000 visitors each year. Fort Ticonderoga is a multi-day destination and the premier place to learn more about our nation’s earliest years and America’s military heritage. During a visit, you’ll witness history come alive through daily programming and weapon demonstrations, behind-the-scenes tours, battle re-enactments, and premier museum exhibits. Find adventure across 2,000 acres of America’s most historic landscape as you stroll through lush gardens, cruise Lake Champlain aboard the Carillon Boat, and witness bird’s-eye views from Mount Defiance. Don’t forget to stop at the museum shop for souvenirs for the family and the on-site café where you can enjoy farm-to-table meals as you dine in or take it to go and picnic instead!
Nestled between Lake George and Lake Champlain, Fort Ticonderoga sits in an ideal location within the southern portion of the Adirondack Park. With several wonderful and diverse experiences nearby, Fort Ticonderoga is the perfect day trip to start your New York Fort tour!
Old Fort Niagara (Porter, NY)
Located in Western New York, Old Fort Niagara has been excellently preserved through its generations of use across multiple wars. Now a state park and museum, you can take a trip to enjoy plenty of historical reenactments and special events, and take in views of Toronto’s skyline from across the water.
There are even rumors that the fort grounds are haunted by the ghost of a soldier. If you are someone who loves paranormal thrills, you may enjoy exploring the grounds of Old Fort Niagara.
The Blockhouse (Central Park, NYC)
Located in New York City’s Central Park, the Blockhouse is the oldest structure in the park and a landmark of U.S. military history. It was originally constructed to defend against attacks during the War of 1812, but it was ultimately never used in battle due to the war ending shortly after.
Not wanting an incredible structure to go completely unused, it was later incorporated as a central fixture in Central Park’s design. It is one of the most unique pieces of historical New York City still standing today. If you are planning an outing in the Big Apple, you may want to jot it on your list of things to do.
Fort Jay (Governor’s Island, NYC)
Named after John Jay, New York’s second governor, Fort Jay is situated on Governor’s Island and was constructed over the site of an earlier American Revolutionary earthworks. It offers a rare get-away from the nation’s largest city to open fields and calming coastal breezes – perfect for a family outing without the urban hustle and bustle.
Fort Ontario (Oswego, NY)
Sharing its name with one of New York’s neighboring Canadian provinces, Fort Ontario is the oldest-serving military fort still standing today. With its origins rooted in the French and Indian War, over 20 years before the start of the Revolution, it endured multiple phases of destruction and rebuilding. Today, this star-shaped fort is one of Lake Ontario’s major tourist attractions.
Fort Stanwix (Rome, NY)
Fort Stanwix holds a unique distinction of being the place where, according to legend, the American Flag was first flown during battle. Located in Rome, NY, also constructed in a star shape, is the main feature of the Fort Stanwix National Monument along with a beautiful, modern visitor’s center.
Madison Barracks (Sackets Harbor, NY)
The Madison Barracks fort is named after the fourth President of the United States, James Madison, who actually visited the site during his time in office. It remained in active service until the end of World War II and today boasts a variety of lodging and dining options while also operating a public marina. It is also near other Thousand Islands attractions like the Sackets Harbor Battlefield historic site and the previously mentioned Fort Ontario.
Start Your New York Fort Tour with Fort Ticonderoga
Our mission at Fort Ticonderoga is to preserve, educate, and provoke active discussion about the past and its importance to present and future generations. We foster an ongoing dialogue surrounding citizens, soldiers, and nations through America’s military heritage. Whether you want to sightsee, discover world-renowned collections and premier museum exhibits, immerse yourself in living history and reenactments, or simply are looking for a new destination to explore, Fort Ticonderoga has adventures for all ages and interests!
Have any questions before you visit? Contact us today for more information.