Fort King George: The Battle for School Break

Fort King George
Fort King George in Darien, Ga. has been completely rebuilt. The three story block house was the main stronghold for the Battle of Christmas Break.

What: Fort King George Historic Site
 302 McIntosh Rd SE, Darien, GA 31305 | 912-437-5479
When: Tuesday- Saturday 9 – 5 pm, Sunday 2 – 5:30 pm
Closed Monday except federal holidays
Cost: $3.75-$6.50

Over the Christmas break we visited with my in-laws in St. Simon’s Island, Ga.  It was too cold to go swimming, but a perfect time of year to visit the many historic sites around the area. My kids had so much fun at Fort Frederica in St. Simon’s, we decided to head north to the pre-Revolutionary War Fort King George in nearby Darien. If we’d had more time, we would have gone south to the Castillo de San Marco to complete the tri-fecta of military strongholds in the area, especially since they all have an intertwined story. Here’s why my nephew called our visit to Fort King George “The best day of my life!”

Fort King George
A small museum helps set the stage for a visit to Fort King George

History of Fort King George
From its construction in 1721 until it was abandoned in 1732, Fort King George was the southernmost outpost of the British Empire in North America. Named for King George I of Britain, the fort was a typical small triangular-shaped European field fortification. Surrounded by a moat on two sides and the north branch of the Altamaha River on the third, the fort’s main defense was a 26-foot-square blockhouse – which was also the main stronghold of the Battle of Christmas Break.

Our visit began with a tour of the small museum with 18th and 19th century artifacts and a short film about the history of the fort. The best part however, were the wooden guns set in a row for kids to borrow as they walk through the fort.  Thankfully it was a slow day, because the battle that ensued was all consuming. The kids had a blast running around the entire complex shooting each other and even learned a little along the way. I had to laugh at the older gentlemen who clearly wanted to join in. We offered him a spare weapon, but he preferred his finger.

Fort King George
At the visitor’s center, pick up a gun so you can defend the fort.
Fort King George
At Fort King George, kids can borrow a wooden gun to play with at the fort. My kids had a blast running around playing army.

When to visit Fort King George
Since Fort King George is located along the marshes of the Golden Isles of Georgia, you can bet that it get’s hot and buggy in the summer. Really buggy. I advise going in the cooler months. We had a gorgeous December day completely bug free with the sun shining, but not beating down on us. If you go in the summer, bring bug spray, sun screen and bounce sheets (we learned on another trip bounce sheets keep the no-see‘ums (gnats) away).

Fort King George
The solider’s bunk house. My kids wanted to know if they did sleep away camp here and if so, could they go?
Fort King George
Our group of rag-tag soliders. I love that even the tween and teen got into the game.
Fort King George
A surprise attack.
Fort King George
Watching for approaching Spanish. Because of the curve of the water, ships couldn’t fire on the fort unless they were right next to it.
Fort King George
In Georgia it’s easy to find Civil War sites, but harder to find those from the revolution or as with Fort King George – pre-revolution.
Fort King George
Storming the fort – on foot.
Fort King George
Running to safety.


Fort King George
Boys and dogs, they just need space. These are some happy boys.

Revolutionary War Re-Enactors at Fort King George

We had so much fun at Fort King George over the Christmas holidays, we returned for the Fourth of July when they had re-enactors at the fort. We watched them dip candles, forge iron, prepare to shoot a gun (they even let my son hold it!), and fire the canon. Afterwards, the boys used the toy wooden guns to imitate what they learned. It was another fantastic day at Fort King George and a reason we’ll return again to Darien, Ga.



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