Fort Matanzas National Monument

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Visited: March 2019

Duration: 2 hours

Accommodations:  St. Augustine, Florida

The very last stop on our Spring Break Civil War/Spanish History expedition was this great National Monument located just south of St. Augustine.  Fort Matanzas was Spain’s last effort to ward off the British and was built in 1740-1742. Located on Rattlesnake Island, you must take a ferry ride out there, so be prepared.  The ferry doesn’t hold many people, you may have to wait.  I’m not sure why some people didn’t understand this, it isn’t hard to figure out.  Please be nice and patient with the Visitor Center staff, I witnessed several people being rude about needing to wait for the next ferry, unbelievable.

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While we waited for our ferry ride the kids worked on their Junior Rangers, very fun, mostly pretty easy with a few tough pages and watched the film. Here is a view of the fort from the Visitor Center at the dock for the ferry.

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We rode the ferry out and did a self guided tour.  Mostly you walk around and if you have questions there is a ranger present.

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You could climb all the way to the top of the fort for some outstanding views. We had a gorgeous day out on the island, can’t ask for more than that.

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This is the ladder you climb up to get to the top

The fort covered the inlet with 5 guns: four six-pounders and one 18-pounder. All could reach the inlet, less than a half mile away. The fort not only drove off enemy vessels but also served as a rest stop, coast guard station and a place where vessels heading to St. Augustine could obtain advice on navigating the river.

Cannon fire from the tower stopped British attempts to gain the inlet in 1742.

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Back to the visitor center for our Junior Ranger badges.  It’s a little cramped in the VC so be polite and patient for others.

That concludes all the NPS stops on this years Spring Break edition. I hope you all enjoyed it, we definitely did.  Please let me know if you have any questions on any stops we made, I would love to help you plan your trip and make things easier for you.

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