Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fort Matanzas National Monument

Our first trip since being back in the states was to St. Augustine, Florida. On our way up to St. Augustine we decided to stop off at Fort Matanzas National Monument, it is about 15 minutes outside of St. Augustine.

The monument consists of a 1740 Spanish fort called Fort Matanzas, and about 100 acres of salt marsh and barrier islands along the Matanzas River on the northern Atlantic coast of Florida. Fort Matanzas was built by the Spanish in 1742 to guard Matanzas Inlet, the southern mouth of the Matanzas River. The only way to get to the Fort is to take a ferry across. To visit the Fort and to ride the ferry is absolutely free! Unfortunately it isn't stroller or pet-friendly.

Fort Matanzas National Monument is open to the public from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM every day of the year except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Boarding Passes are required to ride the ferry. They are issued for free in the visitor center. The ferry leaves 30 past the hour. The ferry to the fort carries 35 people on a first come, first served basis and leaves the Visitor Center.

 When we arrived at Fort Matanzas, we just missed the ferry and had to wait about 40 minutes for the next one. The rangers showed us an 8-minute video about the history of the Fort, then we wandered around the park for a bit until the ferry boat arrived. 

Once across another park ranger gave us a guided tour of the Fort (~10 minutes), then gave us some free time to explore. The Fort itself is pretty small. If you're with a large group it might take you a little bit longer to maneuver through the crowds. There is a little ladder that will take you to the top of the Fort. It was a tight fit, I was scared that the ladder was gonna break when I climbed it. But the views from top were beautiful.

From the time you get on the ship, to when you're expected back on the ship is about 40 minutes. Both Drew and I really enjoyed the fort and hearing about the History and the importance of this place! It's a nice place to spend a couple hours on a beautiful day.