Parris Island is the United States Marine Corps Recruit Training Center for all enlisted United States Marines. Recruits that live on the Mississippi River report there to receive their initial training. The recruits go to one of two locations for their fundamental training. One training center is located at Parris Island, and the other is in San Diego. Can civilians visit Parris Island?
Civilians can visit Parris Island. We admire marines for their discipline and their hard work, and although there are some restrictions in place, civilians are welcome to come and experience the famous and well-known Marine Corps recruit training on Parris Island.
Where Is Parris Island Located?
Parris Island is located near the harbor of Charleston in South Carolina. The simplest way for civilians to visit Parris Island is by taking one of many tours offered by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation (MCHF). These tours offer incredible experiences for civilians!
These experiences include a tour of the base and seeing where Marines train. You can enjoy lunch with recruits at the end of their first week of training.
Can Civilians Overnight On Parris Island?
The MCHF offers civilians overnight stays that include meals, orientation talks by a drill instructor, and a morning PT session with recruits! You will partake in numerous training sessions with marine recruits.
There are also overnight stay programs. You must remember a few essential things to participate in one of these programs. It is important to note that check-in time is at 3 p.m. on Friday, and you must ensure to check out by noon on Sunday (the day after PT test week).
The rest of the tour programs have different departure times depending on when Marine Corps Recruit Training is taking place. For example, if you are interested in the spring tour, which takes place from March to May, check-in time is at 3 p.m., and leave time is at noon. If you participate during summer training (June through August), check-in time is 9 a.m., and leave time is 5 p.m.
Finally, if you are participating in fall training (September through December), check-in time is 1 p.m., and leave time is 5 p.m.
What Activities Can Civilians Enjoy On Parris Island?
There are numerous activities that civilians can enjoy. Below is a list of some exciting places you can visit.
1. The Douglas Visitor’s Center
The Douglas Visitors’ Center is the ideal place to learn more about the boot camp and the recruit training that the soon-to-be-marines endure. Their final test includes a 48-mile hike riddled with numerous obstacle courses in a simulated war scenario to give you an idea.
Training to become a marine is not for the faint at heart! Before their exam begins, the participants are only allowed 4-hours of sleep and are given three ready-to-eat meals. This must last them through the 54-hour physical test.
The Visitors’ Center is operated by a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and traditions of the United States Marine Corps. The center is supported by donations and volunteers, with all proceeds used for maintenance costs and programming expenses at the visitors’ center.
The mission of the Douglas Visitors’ Center is to provide a warm, welcoming space where visitors can learn about the history, including the culture of Parris Island. Exhibits at the center explore the rich heritage of the United States Marine Corps through various media, including period artifacts, photographs, and so much more.
Numerous educational programs are offered at the center throughout the year. These include guided tours, talks about Marine Corps history and culture, demonstrations on military weapon systems, and more. Featured exhibits include “Marines: The Modern Day Warrior” and “The Marine: A Legacy of Valor.”
2. The Parris Island Museum
Parris Island is one of the most famous locations in South Carolina, and with nearly 150 years of history, this former plantation has become a vital part of our nation’s military heritage. It is one of the most important training centers for new Marines today.
The Parris Island Museum honors the history and tradition of the United States Marine Corps and the distinguished men and women who serve our beautiful country. The historic two-story building is filled with mementos from both World Wars, including the Gulf Wars. You can look at the old uniforms and weapons, including pictures from past marines.
You can watch it come to life in one of the museum’s two films.
There is also another nearby museum, which is located in Beaufort, South Carolina. It is called the Beaufort History Museum. If you love our country’s history, you should definitely visit this historical museum! At this museum, you can also learn about Beaufort’s involvement in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, including the rise of the Reconstruction Era that the Civil War spurred.
While there are not many restrictions regarding what you can bring on your trip to Parris Island, a few things will make your experience much more memorable. You should pack some comfortable clothing that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty. Let us inspect what you can expect as a civilian visiting Parris Island.
After visiting Parris Island, you will undoubtedly experience an overwhelming sense of patriotism and appreciation for our marines. Graduation ceremonies are held every Friday for 40 weeks out of the year to give much-needed credit to those recruits who completed the intensive three-month training. Afterward, they are reunited with their proud families.
3. Driving Tour
Have you ever wanted to explore Parris Island but weren’t sure how to get around? A driving tour is perfect for seeing everything this historic place offers. You will see the best places and get to stop along the way, so you can experience what life is like here.
From the beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and Marine Corps Memorial Park to unique monuments honoring fallen heroes – this tour will help you see what Parris Island has to offer.
By taking the driving tour, you will get a closer look at the military base on a self-guided driving tour of the area. Besides the 15 miles of paved road, you will pass by some memorable sites. One of these iconic sites is where the 1500s colonies of Charlesfort and Santa Elena once stood.
4. Cuthbert House Inn
The Cuthbert Inn is a historic inn located on beautiful Parris Island, South Carolina. The Inn is proudly one of the few inns on the island that is family-owned and operated. The owners always look forward to welcoming you and your family at their Inn! The Cuthbert Inn offers a variety of accommodations and services to make your stay enjoyable and memorable.
The Inn has four unique rooms perfect for couples and those traveling with their children. The rooms include private baths, cable TV (with HBO), free Wi-Fi access, a coffee maker, a mini fridge, and a microwave. A spacious room and bath can easily accommodate up to three adults, two adults, and one child.
They also offer a limited military discount on all lodging, including suites, double queen, and single queen rooms. The Cuthbert Inn is ideally located minutes from the beautiful beaches of Carolina and Georgia.