The Citadel Military College is commonly referred to as the Citadel. It was established back in 1842 and is only one of six senior military colleges in the US. There are normally 2,300 students on campus at once as undergraduates. The Citadel is best known nationally for its Corps of Cadets, which draws students from about 45 states and a dozen countries. Another 1,000 students attend The Citadel Graduate College, a civilian evening and online program that offers graduate and professional degrees as well as undergraduate programs.
You can easily tour the Citadel on any day of the year. However, cadet-led tours are only available on the weekdays after two in the afternoon. The only exception is during holidays, breaks, and exams.
There are fifty-seven stops on the tour, so you must plan to be at the Citadel for at least two or three hours if you want to see it all. Many people choose to spend a good portion of the day there, so they can walk around and enjoy a picnic lunch before their tour even begins.
You begin your tour at the Lesesne Gate. From there you will venture over to the Daniel Library and the Citadel Museum. There are many permanent and temporary exhibits within this building, and you may want to wander around to see them all prior to your tour.
Next on the tour is the Ring Statue, Summerall Field, Summerall Chapel, the Citadel War Memorial, and General Mark W. Clark’s Grave. There are too many other tour stops to list them all out here, but a few of the most important ones include the Canteen, Seraph Monument, Bulldog Monument, Murray Barracks, Star of the West House, and Johnson Hagood Stadium.
You will want to circle back to stop at the Cadet Store if you do not have time to grab your souvenirs during your tour.
If possible, you should plan your Charleston road trip for when one of the parades is taking place at the Citadel. The parades are often on Fridays and it is when awards and recognitions are given to students, staff, and faculty. The parades are free, but you must arrive at least a half-hour before they start. This ensures you find a parking spot and can get to the parade area before it begins.
You don’t need to want to enter the military to visit this college. But it is a good place to see, especially if you want to know how the military works and where some great leaders earned their education.
I would love to add this to your Charleston itinerary if it is a destination that interests you and your family. Simply let me know your ideas of what would make an amazing family vacation and together we will create an itinerary that will get those memory-making days started!