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National Monuments: The Castillo & Ft. Matanzas

 

Tour the Historic Coast’s naturally significant sites with this, two-day National Parks Itinerary. We’ve included suggestions for historical landmarks, museums and attractions, as well as lodging and dining recommendations.

MORNING | Breakfast and Castillo de San Marcos

History

The Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Mantazas are the only two fortifications in the world built out of a semi-are form of limestone called coquina. Castillo de san Marocs is also the oldest masonary fort in the United States, comleted in 1695

Schmagel’s Bagels

Known for the “Best Breakfast in Town”.

(904) 824-4444

Castillo de San Marcos

Take a self-guided tour through the National Park Monument. The Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas are the only two fortifications in the world built out of a semi-rare form of limestone called coquina. Castillo de San Marcos is also the oldest masonry fort in the United States, completed in 1695.

(904) 829-6506


Historic Weapons Demonstrations: Watch Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Castillo as park rangers and reenactors in period dress give historical weapons demonstrations, as well as presentations on the life and experiences of the Spanish soldiers stationed in St. Augustine in the 1740s.


FREE Admission During National Parks Week!

Each April during National Parks Week, enjoy free admission, special tours and events at the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas.

AFTERNOON | Lunch and Explore

History

Observe iconic Living History in the heart of the historic district on popular St. George Street, the birthplace of Christianity in America, and the legendary Fountain of Youth. Reenactments and exhibits take visitors through four centuries of everyday life. Venues also host concerts regularly, including St. Augustine’s Sing Out Loud festival.

Taberna Del Caballo

Step back in time to a candlelit, 18th century-styled taberna. Enjoy savory tapas, flatbreads, sangria and cold beverages in an intimate atmosphere.

(904) 342-2867

Mission Nombre de Dios and Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche

Stop by the Mission on your way to the Fountain of Youth, and retrace the steps of America’s first founding fathers more than 400 years ago.

 

TRUE STORY: Here at the Mission lie five of the original “Sisters of St. Joseph”. The Sisters were sent by the Catholic Church in 1866 as teachers to freed slave children in St Augustine.

 

Learn more about the history of African-Americans in the region at www.historiccoastculture.com/maps/african-american-heritage

(904) 824-2809

Fountain of Youth Archeological Park

Tour the park first explored by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1513 and settled by Pedro Menendez de Aviles in 1565. See living history interpreters present daily, as well as a replica of a historically correct anoti, a large Timucuan family house.

 

TRUE STORY: The Fountain of Youth Archeological Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2016!

(904) 829-3168

EVENING | Dinner and Exploring

History

The original “Ice Plant” building dates back to 1927. Complete with the original bridge crane that was once used to pick up massive blocks for breaking and selling to customers and shrimp boats, the space recreates the experience of being in an old factory.

The Ice Plant Bar

Set in a 1927 industrial building, this eatery offers locally sourced dishes & seasonal cocktails. Shortly following the Gilded Age, the original building supplied the city with manufactured ice as a modern convenience for the wealthy.

(904) 829-6553

Tour the St. Augustine Distillery

Visit the museum and experience a free guided tour. Located within a beautifully restored ice plant from the turn-of-the-century, St. Augustine Distillery’s mission is simple: Educate and inspire guests about local, handcrafted, award-winning rum, whiskey bourbon, gin, and vodka.

(904) 825-4962

MORNING | Breakfast and Fort Mantzas

History

Fort Matanzas sits on a barrier island where diverse Florida plants and wildlife are on display as visitors enter the fort for a glimpse into the daily lives of the soldiers stationed here in the 1700s. It is a part of the southern component of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.Hike, bike, kayak, swim and enjoy the preserved wetlands and hidden beaches of this 73,000-acre habitat, located both north and south of St. Augustine. Learn more at www.dep.state.fl.us/coastal/sites/gtm/

Dolce Cafe

Coffee, crepes and more at this casual stop on your way to Fort Matanzas.

(904) 615-1583

Fort Matanzas

Explore this National Park Monument via a free ferry ride. Rangers are available for questions. Special events, reenactments, and historic cooking demonstrations occur throughout the year. Pack a picnic and enjoy the beautiful Florida scenery!

(904) 471-0116

EVENING | Dinner and Aviles Street

History

Although Aviles Street stands as the oldest street in America, it is currently a buzzing district of art, entertainment and culture. “La Fiesta De Aviles” – including the “Running of the Bulls” and “Sangria Sunday” – takes place every year on this historic thoroughfare.

Old City House

Mediterranean-style restaurant serving local specialties in a romantic inn housed in a Spanish Colonial revival building. Reservations recommended.

 

(904)-826-0113

Art Galleries and Cafés

Explore Aviles Street, now one of the area’s most diverse arts districts, filled with galleries and restaurants. It was paved with bricks so that the shoes of ladies from New York would not be soiled walking through muddy streets.

Interactive Map - National Monuments

 

With dozens of monuments, parks, forts and museums within a short drive of St. Augustine, you’re in the perfect place to discover the melting pot of history and culture Florida’s Historic Coast has to offer.

 

Tour the Historic Coast’s naturally significant sites with this, two-day National Parks Itinerary. We’ve included suggestions for historical landmarks, museums and attractions, as well as lodging and dining recommendations.

Video - National Monuments in St. Augustine

To download a PDF version of this itinerary, click here.