Throwback Thursday – Fort Matanzas National Monument

Fort Matanzas from the ferry
Fort Matanzas from the ferry

Are we still doing Throwback Thursday?

I haven’t visited a new US national park in months and I have withdrawal symptoms.

Of course, I could take off and visit one of the many 410 national parks, still on my list. But I have a book to finish and hikes to lead. So I have to contend with revisiting one of the 71 Southeastern parks on my blog.

Today it’s Fort Matanzas National Monument just outside St. Augustine, Florida. European nations  fought in coastal Florida. Spain, the ruling power from about the 16th Century, first massacred the French. Later, they built a fort to protect the back door of St. Augustine from the English.

To get to Fort Matanzas Visitor Center, we drive to Anastasia Island.

Fort Matanzas
Fort Matanzas

The fort itself is on Rattlesnake Island, reached by a five-minute free ferry ride operated by the park. With binoculars, we see pelicans, snowy egrets, and other shore birds.

Once at the fort, we climb to the top of the tower via a well-secured ladder and note the old Spanish flag. We go down a steep ladder to check out the lower level.  See the picture on the left.

Rangers must hang out at the fort because modern hoodies hang on hooks on the bottom floor where soldiers slept.

You can only stay at the fort for forty minutes, but the site is small and doesn’t take long to explore. You need to leave the island with the same group you came with.

Fort Matanzas was a sister fort to Castillo de San Marcos in the center of St. Augustine, a subject for some other time. Still miss those national park trips.

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