Fort Matanzas National Monument
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.
Friendly, knowledgeable staff. Nice easy walk along pretty, short boardwalk loop trail. Small gift shop with a few easy souvenirs of the fort & area. Nice shady picnic area & easy parking for normal vehicles. Main attraction (Ft. Matanzas) unfortunately inaccessible due to ferry & dock/pier damage by Hurricane Irma which is being repaired. This is a good visit if you don't have a lot of time and the public beach parking is on the other side of the road within 5 minutes. Also close to a small Marineland facility.
Hands down, one of the prettiest inlets in the State of Florida. A real party hub on the weekends, but peaceful and quiet during the week. Lovely views on both inlet and ocean sides with plenty of opportunity to find a neat treasure like seashells, old rusty pieces from days gone by, and maybe and old worn piece of broken pottery or sea glass. Do keep a lookout for broken glass that hasn't transformed into sea glass, though. With the result of what seems to be the partying on the boats over the weekends, this inlet is a spot where I wouldn't feel comfortable going barefoot in the water, as there's a likelihood one may locate broken glass with their foot. The sunsets are amazing at Matanzas, and I'm sure the sunrise is just as beautiful. On a clear night, the stars are beautiful and can be decently seen because there isn't a ton of ambient lighting. One of my favorite beaches in the area, for sure!
This is little sister of the Castillo. I think she was supposed to guard the other end of the river. You can see her from across the river but you can't get there. There is a visitor center with a few interpretive displays. Public restrooms. A few Park Rangers and some volunteers there. The hurricane smashed up the ferry and there is no way to get there. I understand she has had a lot of work done to her. Pretty cool building from a distance but until they get a ferry, ain't going to happen.
Ferry was out of service (12/2017) due to damages from hurricane Irma, see my pictures for more info on this matter. The only way to see the fort was from the distance which is really like not seeing it. The only staff we saw was very kind and helpful. Don't waste your time, call before going to make sure is back on business.
Great place to visit, whether you are a local or a traveler. Just a great place to see how our earlier Americans lived upon arrival. Plus there are many other places to visit in and around the town to get your fill of history.
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