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Fort Matanzas was a Spanish outpost fort built in 1740-1742 to guard the Matanzas Inlet and to warn St. Augustine of British approaching from the south.
It is now a park, located on barrier islands of the Matanzas estuary, which provides a salt marsh, scrub, and maritime hammock habitat to protect endangered and threatened species.
Virtual Tourist has Fort Matanzas National Monument as a separate location.
The fort is open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm every day of the year except December 25. The ferry to the fort leaves the Visitor Center dock 9:30 to 4:30 on the "thirty". (The ferry is usually out for service the first Wednesday and Thursday of each month.)
Fort Tours--Ranger staff offer guided boat tours at 930, 1030, 1130, 1230, 130, 230, 330, and 430, weather permitting. Each tour takes approximately 45 minutes. (On Sunday the first tour is at 10:30.)
Trails--The park offers a 1/2 mile self-guided nature trail on a boardwalk through a coastal maritime forest and another boadwalk through the dunes to a beach overlook.
Special Programs such as living history and guided nature walks are presented on weekends at various times throughout the year.
Updated Apr 9, 2005
Address: Rattlesnake Island, near St. Augustine
Phone: (904) 471-0116
Fishing is permitted along the shoreline of Matanzas River. No license is required for Florida residents or children under 16 years of age. All others will need a Florida saltwater license which is available from area bait shops, but not in the park.
Swimming and sunbathing are popular activities on the Atlantic Ocean beach, but no life guards are provided. The county charges a fee to drive a vehicle onto the beach from mid-March through September (summertime).
Written Apr 9, 2005