Explore Castle Williams
A portion of the island electrical system has failed, leaving Castle Williams without power. This condition may last several weeks. Castle roof tours are suspended and Castle interiors are closed to the public. The courtyard remains open Wed-Sun.
Castle Williams, the centerpiece of the system of fortifications designed to guard New York City just prior to the War of 1812, has long been off-limits to the public. After an extensive rehabilitation project, the National Park Service is pleased to open the Castle's to the public for the first time in the fort's 200-year history.
Castle Williams will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 AM till 5:30 PM for the entire public access season (May 24 till September 28, 2014). Access to the Castle's first floor and its museum exhibits is free and unrestricted.
Tours of the Castle that take visitors through all three levels and the roof run every half hour, 11 AM till 5 PM except Thursdays, when tours run from 11 AM till 1:30 PM. Tours are approximately 30 minutes in length and require a free ticket. Tickets are available one hour before each tour begins, and may be picked up inside the Castle. No one will be permitted into the Castle's upper floors without a ticket.
Visitors are advised that tours require climbing three flights of stairs. The Castle's upper floors are not handicap-accessible.
No reservations for tickets are available. Large groups are advised to visit the Castle early in the day when crowds are thinner.
We look forward to seeing you at Castle Williams this summer!
Did You Know?
Oliver Otis Howard (1830-1909), from Maine, graduated from West Point in 1856. During the Civil War, he fought at Manassas; Fair Oaks – where he lost his right arm; Antietam; Chancellorsville; Gettysburg; Chattanooga; Atlanta; and participated in the march across Georgia. In 1865 he headed the Freedmans’ Bureau, which resettled and enforced the rights of newly freed African-American slaves in the South. His interest in their education led him to establish Howard University in Washington, D.C. and Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. From 1886 to the end of his Army career, he commanded the U.S. Army in the Eastern United States from Governors Island.