Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is a long way off the beaten path for us at Utah’s Adventure Family. It is located in central Florida, and we visited on a recent trip to DisneyWorld. This National Monument is a great way to spend a few hours learning some amazing American History.

The fort is in a beautiful location.

Castillo de San Marcos is an imposing fort made out of a very specific type of sedimentary rock. It was built nearly 350 years ago. What makes it unique is the type of stone, which is called coquina. Coquina is made of crushed shells cemented together. Surprisingly, this makes the fort invulnerable to cannon attacks because the stone is not brittle, so it absorbs the blow. The fort was never conquered.

The walls are thick and impressive.

Castillo de San Marcos is beautifully laid out. It has wide walls that you can walk on and is built in a beautiful star shape. Cannons line the walls, and while we were there, a cannon was fired as a demonstration. There is also an amazing moat, though historically, it was used to keep track of the occupants cattle.

The Castillo de San Marcos has two levels to check out.
There is even a hidden weapons room to see. You have to crawl to get in.
But the room is quite large once inside.
Make sure to walk up top because that is where you get to see the cannons.

Our boys learned a lot from the Junior Ranger program, so make sure to pick up a booklet on your way in. It was also fun to see such amazing history.  This Fort is very close to St. Augustine, which is the oldest city founded by Europeans in America. We wandered the streets of St. Augustine after visiting the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

The rangers were very helpful.
The actors who fired the cannons were dressed in period clothing.
Our boys loved seeing the cannons.

Tips for Families

  • Children 15 and under are FREE. Adults (ages 16 and up) are $15/person. We used our Every Kid in a Park Pass for free entrance for our family.
  • There is a fee to park in the parking area. It is $2.50/hour and fills quickly. There are parking garages in St. Augustine nearby.
  • Print your Junior Ranger booklet beforehand. We worked on some of the pages before we arrived so it didn’t take quite as long. You can print the booklet on their website.
  • The cannon and weapons demonstrations happen on the weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Check the Castillo de San Marcos calendar for times.
  • When we were in town, the other National Monument was closed for construction, but we recommend checking out Fort Matanzas National Monument. It is nearby and you ride a ferry out to the island where the fort sits.
It is so neat being inside such an old piece of history.

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