“See the Nascent History of the New World”
Coastal Florida was a major field of conflict as European nations fought for control in the New World. As part of this struggle, Fort Matanzas guarded St. Augustine’s southern river approach. The colonial wars are over, but the monument is still protecting—not just the historic fort, but also the wild barrier island and the plants and animals who survive there amidst a sea of modern development. Throughout its history, the stories of Fort Matanzas and the Matanzas area have been closely intertwined with that of the city of St. Augustine. Located fifteen miles north of Fort Matanzas, St. Augustine and the Castillo de San Marcos serve as outstanding reminders of the might of the early Spanish empire and as reflections of European conflicts as countries battled for land and power in the New World.
I love history and this was just another fun way to learn about our nations history, the Spanish part of our history. There is a short video (about 7 minutes) that tells the history of the fort. It was built by the Spanish after a battle with the French. They wanted to protect the back door to St. Augustine. It's free but can be a little crowded. You need a ticket to get on the ferry and they only allow 35 people per hour. It's first come first serve and once they run out of tickets then you can't go that day. But even if you have to wait, there is a trail you can walk down with a trail map as well as very small beach you can walk along. Once we had crossed, the ranger had us all sit on the benches and gave us a short 10-15 minute history of the fort. We were then able to walk around and see it. It's not a very large fort and took about 15 minutes to see. I recommend going to the top first because the ladder can only have 1 person going up or down at a time (and some people get scared for some reason). If you don't go up early you might not get to go up at all before the ferry leaves. It was great, I loved it.
I just went about three weeks ago with my husband and kids, we enjoyed walking around town, as well as taking a carriage ride. Our guide gave us a brief history on the town and made sure we were comfortable. The monument has a lot of history in it, so much to see. We will definitely go again!!
This was a great stop. Glad we came here. My 6 year old had agreat question. A couple of our boys helped take down the flag and received a certificate for it. It was the last tour for the day.
Another great NPS site. High winds kept the ferry from running, but several short trails allowed us to walk around the area. The film could stand to be updated and there are some great opportunities for expanded wayside exhibits to tell stories the museum doesn't have room to explore. The preserved area allows you to picture the fort as it might have been in the 1700s as it guarded the southern approach to St. Augustine.
Very cool and free makes it even better! On the boat ride across the river we were able to see 3 dolphins and a bunch of jelly fish! Great bonus!
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Fort Matanzas National Monument
- Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:30 pm
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