Ferry the Matanzas River to this Historic Fortress
Fort Matanzas National Monument is a spectacular national park that attracts thousands of curious visitors to Matanzas Inlet each year. The park grounds feature a comfortable picnic area with giant shady oak trees. There is also a raised wooden boardwalk nearby that winds through a lush nature trail with particular points of interest that made history near Fort Matanzas. The Park Service provides free hourly ferry boat rides across the Matanzas River to explore the historic fortress. Everything you need to know about visiting Fort Matanzas can be found at the National Park Service website here.
The Spanish began construction of Fort Matanzas in 1740 to protect St. Augustine from attack through the south access point at Matanzas Inlet. Like the Castillo de san Marcos, this powerful fortress was built from local coquina stone and included a cylindrical observation tower designed by Pedro Ruiz de Olano, the same engineer who worked on additions to the Castillo.
Fort Matanzas was armed with an assortment of cannons and owned a commanding view of Matanzas Inlet. Each cannon was capable of hitting targets a half mile from the fort. This unique fortress was well-armed to protect the security of St. Augustine’s southern inlet.
The soldiers stationed at the fort comprised a small garrison that served on rotation from their normal duty at the Castillo de san Marcos in St. Augustine. The typical garrison included two cannon gunners, four infantrymen and an officer who manned the captain’s quarters.
Explore the park grounds, ferry to Fort Matanzas and enjoy this fascinating national monument. History abounds at this fortress and all around Matanzas Inlet.