Whether you’re staying in Wilmington or beaching it by the ocean, taking a trip to Fort Anderson is a wonderful activity to include in your itinerary. Fort Anderson and the Brunswick Town ruins offer excellent wheelchair accessibility. In this guide, I’ll give you tips on making the most of your visit.
Note: The information here is based on my observation as a non-wheelchair user. If you have firsthand experience as a wheelchair user in Fort Anderson, please let me know about your time there and your recommendations in the comments section. I appreciate it and know that our future readers will, too!
Hey, there! Make sure to check out our guide on Wheelchair Accessibility in Wilmington for suggestions on accessible things to do there.
So, what’s Fort Anderson?
Before we dive into wheelchair accessibility at Fort Anderson, let’s cover some quick facts. Fort Anderson was built on top of the town of Brunswick. Brunswick Town was founded in 1729 and nowadays visitors to Fort Anderson can see the ruins of St. Philip’s Anglican Church and other buildings that used to sit there.
Fort Anderson itself was built in 1861 for the Civil War. Man-made sandy hills are still visible on the site, along with a cannon on display.
Wheelchair accessibility in Fort Anderson
Fort Anderson offers excellent wheelchair accessibility. Let’s take a closer look at the nitty-gritty details.
There are three accessible parking spaces at Fort Anderson. Two spaces straddle the sidewalk which leads to the museum. The third parking space is located across from them and to the back, by the picnic tables.
There’s a single, circular path that wraps around Fort Anderson. The path is 3/4 of a mile long and is a combination of well-kept pavement (the majority) and wooden boardwalk (in a short section by the river).
The majority of the path around Fort Anderson is flat. However, there’s a section towards the back that dips down. Most manual wheelchair users should be able to manage fine, but if you need help it would only be for a short period of time.
Below are some photos of the inclines:
Best route to take
The title may appear misleading since we’ve already established that the Fort Anderson path is a loop, but there’s a catch; the St. Philip’s Anglican Church is not technically part of this path.
Visiting St. Philip’s Anglican Church
Therefore, when starting out, I recommend visiting St. Philip’s Anglican Church before getting on the path. You can either get to it via a brick path leading from the museum or cut through the grass. Either way, once you’re at the church, rolling on the grass will be your only option.
The good news? The soil is firm and sandy. Therefore, even if it’s rained recently, chances are good you’ll be able to manage. There’s also two small cemeteries around the church that you can cut through the grass to visit.
Visiting Brunswick Town
Once you get on the start of the path, which is located near the church, you’ll be taken through the ruins of Brunswick Town.
Here, you’ll get to see the stone foundation of a number of buildings built during the 1700s. The path varies in how close it’ll get you to the ruins. In some cases, it’s practically within arms reach. The ruins are surrounded by fences but they have clear cables and large gaps for near unobstructed viewing for wheelchair users.
Informational signs are placed throughout Brunswick Town and the fort as a whole. The signs border the path and are located low enough for wheelchair users to read with ease.
Visiting the Cape Fear River
A beautiful, wooden boardwalk that hovers above the shore of the Cape Fear River connects the Brunswick Town ruins with the fort. It’s easy to lose track of time there watching boats go by, crabs pick at the grass below, and low flying birds.
If you’re traveling with able-bodied companions, there’s a long bench they can sit on.
Visiting Fort Anderson
The path ends with a visit around Fort Anderson. Compared to the town ruins and river, the fort may not look like much. But the small hills were handmade during the Civil War for protection.
There’s also a cannon on display, although it’s located up a short set of steps. Head past there towards the museum and you’ll be able to get a better view of it.
There’s a small museum located at Fort Anderson that’s wheelchair accessible. Here, you can view artifacts and military equipment from the area along with more information about the site in general.
Note: I traveled to Fort Anderson in June 2020, so the museum was closed due to COVID-19.
There’s an accessible restroom located to the right of the entrance to the museum. It’s on the outside patio before you pass through the museum door.
How much time to spend at Fort Anderson
You could roll around Fort Anderson in as little as twenty minutes or up to an hour- or more- depending on whether or not you read all the information plaques and how long you stop to soak in the beautiful river views on the boardwalk.
Hours of Operation & Fee
Fort Anderson is closed on Sundays, Mondays, and major holidays. On all other days it’s open from 9:00am – 5:00pm.
There is no entrance fee to visit Fort Anderson.
Want to extend your time at Fort Anderson? Consider packing a lunch! There are two accessible picnic tables. They’re located at the far end of the parking lot, across from the museum.
The picnic tables are surrounded by forest on two sides and while they don’t offer views of the water, you’ll get to look at the St. Philip’s Anglican Church from a distance.
First and foremost, bug spray! You may need a lot of it, especially if the area’s been getting a lot of rain.
Attire for the sun is a good idea, too. That being said, there’s a good amount of shade along the path, so you won’t have to worry about exploring too long in Wilmington’s hot summer sun.
And, of course, water and snacks- especially if you plan on taking advantage of a picnic table!
Did I mention to bring bug spray? 😊
Questions about wheelchair accessibility at Fort Anderson?
I hope this guide has been helpful for your plans to visit Fort Anderson. Feel free to leave any questions you have in the comments section and I’ll do my best to help.
P.S.- Heading to Wilmington? If so, make sure to check out our post on Wheelchair Accessibility in Wilmington.
Laura has been wandering the globe for over a decade. She’s an early bird and backpacker at heart and can often be spotted with a dog or ten that she’s befriended along the way. Much of the content Laura writes on A Piece of Travel includes details on wheelchair accessibility, with the support of her brother-in-law and sister. You can learn about their accessibility endeavors here.