8635 A1A South, St. Augustine, FL
Open from 9:00am to 5:30pm every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
Early Spanish settlers in St. Augustine recognized the vulnerability of the Matanzas River Inlet from the south in attempts to protect their city from the British colonists in Georgia and Carolina. Work began on Fort Matanzas, on Rattlesnake Island in the Matanzas River, in 1740. The structure was completed in 2 years, measuring 50 feet on each side with a 30-foot tower and mounted with five cannons. The restored fort is the centerpiece of a scenic national park today. Tours are free and include an hourly ferry ride across the Intracoastal to the fort. Visitors can explore the fort, view exhibits, hear talks by the ranger, boat captain and re-enactors, watch the 8-minute video, walk the 1/2 mile boardwalk nature trail from the Visitor Center, and enjoy the variety of ecosystems and natural beauty around the dock and the fort. Special events include cannon and musket firing demonstrations, torchlight tours, nature programs and bird walks.
NOTE: Check website for ferry update - the dock, boardwalks and other parts of the park were heavily damaged during Hurricane Matthew in late 2016 and closed for repairs.