By Buddy Blouin
One of the most fascinating aspects of the American Civil War can also be a part that is often overlooked. Warfare through 26 states affected by the conflict would rack up a whopping 384 battles, and because the battles were conducted within a connected geographic landscape, the naval aspects often play second fiddle. But at Friends of the Hunley, you’ll be able to discover this fantastic history with unique exhibits and experiences focusing on the H. L. Hunley.

Suggested read:

Good Times and Great Spirits Await You At Firefly Distillery

CSS H. L. Hunley Was the First Submarine Successful on the Battlefield

At Friends of the Hundley, you’ll enjoy a bit of history and mystery as you explore a variety of exhibits, artifacts, and tours dedicated to the Hunley submarine. The interactive experience provides guests with a chance to get up close and personal with the CSS Hunley and items found inside. On February 17th, 1864, the USS Housatonic was attacked by the Hunley, a Confederate submarine that successfully sunk its opponent off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. And then, she vanished along with the eight crew members on board. This sparked a mystery that would last for well over 100 years until the submarine was discovered in 1995 by Clive Cussler. The submarine was then raised in 2000 and brought to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center to research why it sank and restore the historical artifacts inside. Visitors to Friends of the Hundley can see and feel these parts of history as well as discover more about its unique history and the efforts to uncover more about its mysterious lifespan. This can include tours that discuss evidence and top theories about what caused the sinking as well as looking at detailed documentation involving the search for and restoration of the shipwreck. Scientists have been able to provide facial recognition of the crewmembers inside. These Confederate soldiers were even laid to rest by the organization in 2004 at a massive public funeral that would draw in audiences from all over the world to witness the event. You can find the Hunley museum along the waterfront of the Cooper River only about 9 miles from JB Charleston. Military discounts are available for active-duty military members, making the submarine museum a great option for those serving on the base and their families.

What To Know While Planning Your Visit

Your trip to Friends of the Hunley is one you won’t soon forget. This is a great place for families, history enthusiasts, tourists, and people of all ages. There’s a lot to discover. Here’s what you need to know:
  • 1250 Supply St., North Charleston, SC 29405 is the address for Friends of the Hunley.
  • Visitors can tour the site on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The museum is closed for holidays such as Easter, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and potentially other days throughout the year.
  • Ticket prices are affordable and are as follows: adults for $18, student/youth ages 6-12 for $10, members for $12, senior citizens (aged 65 and up)/active-duty military/Veterans for $15, and children ages 5 and under for FREE.
  • The Hunley is in a tank of liquid and requires climbing a flight of 17 stairs to view it from above.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to book your tickets ahead of time, as slots may be limited. The location is a working lab and should be treated as such. For this reason and more, the hours are limited to visitation from the public on the weekends only, as scientists continue to work throughout the week.

Friends of the Hunley Oyster Roast

In addition to its wonderful museum focused on the first Civil War submarine successful in battle, the annual Friends of the Hunley Oyster Roast is a great event in the Charleston community that helps bring people together all while raising proceeds supporting maritime historic preservation and education. You’ll be able to enjoy delicious, all-you-can-eat BBQ, oysters, many other treats, raffle prizes, and live music. The events take place around November and are a great way to help the organization raise funds while eating delicious bites and getting to know your neighbors just a little bit better. Friends of the Hunley in North Charleston, SC, continues to be a staple for the area, acting as a pillar of the community for locals. From education to entertainment, the Friends of the Hunley museum continues to deliver quality experiences to its guests while giving back in various positive ways.

More from Charleston:

The USS Yorktown Is About To Cause Another Water Pollution Problem

Image: Mic Smith Photography LLC / Alamy



Civil War Submarine
Friends of the Hunley
JB Charleston
Joint Base Charleston

Get the latest news and military discounts