National Monuments: The Castillo de San Marcos & Fort Matanzas
Tour the Historic Coast’s naturally significant sites, like the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas, 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
The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and Fort Matanzas are the only two fortifications in the world built out of a soft limestone of broken shells called coquina. Castillo de San Marcos is also the oldest masonary fort in the United States, completed in 1695.
Known for the “Best Breakfast in Town.”
Take a self-guided tour through the National Park Monument. The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is the oldest masonry fort in the United States made of coquina harvested from an Anastasia Island quarry and completed in 1695.
Historic Weapons Demonstrations
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, see park rangers and historic reenactors at the Castillo de San Marcos 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 Park Week!
Each April during National Park Week, enjoy free admission, special tours, and events at the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monument.
AFTERNOON | Lunch and Explore
Observe iconic Living History in the heart of the historic district on popular St. George Street, the legendary Fountain of Youth, and the birthplace of Catholicism in America. Reenactments and exhibits take visitors through four centuries of everyday life. Venues also host concerts regularly, including St. Augustine’s Sing Out Loud Festival and Gamble Rogers Music Festival.
Step back in time to a candlelit, 18th century-styled taberna. Enjoy savory tapas, flatbreads, sangria and cold beverages in an intimate atmosphere.
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.
Learn more about the area’s African-American history.
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 to teach freed slave children in St Augustine.
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!
EVENING | Dinner and Exploring
Since 1907, the Ice Plant building was Florida’s first power and ice plant. The original bridge crane used to move 300-lb ice blocks hangs over the bar where cubes are custom cut to your cocktail.
Set in an early 20th century industrial building, this eatery offers locally sourced dishes & seasonal cocktails. Shortly following the Gilded Age, the original building supplied the city with manufactured ice to fishing and shrimping camps as well as residential ice boxes before freezers and refrigerators.
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.