Castillo de San Marcos


That could be our motto in St. Augustine.  We won’t surrender the title of the oldest city {St. Augustine earned it fair & square… oldest continually inhabited European settlement in North America >whew!<}, we won’t surrender the accolades {such as National Geographic’s Top 10 Places to see Christmas Lights, Top 10 Most Romantic Cities, Forbes Top 10 Prettiest Towns, etc} and we certainly won’t surrender our St Augustine Fort!

From the time construction began in 1672 to the present day, St. Augustine’s coquina fort, the Castillo de San Marcos, has never surrendered.  It is a National Park Service gem and you need to go!!!

We have a lot of history, plenty of great food and a lot of natural beauty here in St. Augustine.  We share our favorites here on our St. Augustine blog and on our facebook page.  But out of everything here, the Castillo de San Marcos is the one can’t-miss destination in St. Augustine! 

As a child, I was enchanted by the grassy moat and drawbridge leading to the entrance of the Castillo.  I mean, a REAL drawbridge!!  How cool is that?!  The uniformed soldiers at the fort are always happy to pose for a picture and share some stories & smiles.  High 5!  yeah!

There is a kiosk with maps and informational booklets, a gift shop and some volunteers just inside the fort.  We grabbed a map and began our self-guided tour of the fort!

The thick coquina walls keep the interior rooms cool even in the heat of summer.  Give yourself time to read the signs and appreciate the variety of life here over the past 400 years.  Allot yourself 2 hours to appreciate the park, longer if you’re reading and photographing and taking potty breaks. 😉

After you’ve seen the room where a man was kept alive by a miracle {he received no food but his adult daughter nourished him through her milk- it’s good stuff, I tell ya!}, rooms where Indians were held mercilessly, bunk rooms and kitchens and chapels and powder rooms, head upstairs for a beautiful view of the water & the city.  It’s good to take the stairs!  (And you don’t have a choice at the Castillo.)

The view from the top is breathtaking… especially after climing the stairs.  {haha!}  Seriously, though, it’s so neat to have decades of memories from this spot.  I can remember squeezing into a cannon as a child (don’t try that!) and coming here on school field trips, our first visit as new parents and picnics on the green in front of the fort over the years- now we’re bringing our children here on field trips!

If you come on a weekend, you’ll be able to see {and hear!} the Spanish squadron load, prime & FIRE a cannon.  The turret from the Castillo is the inspiration for Simply St Augustine’s logo.  Such a significant part of our city’s history!

If you gaze out over the water for a while, you’ll likely spot some bottlenose dolphins {my marine biologist friend assures me that’s the type} fishing & playing in the water.

There is so much I’m not posting pictures of… Take your time wandering through the cool rooms and reading the signs so you can appreciate the hundreds of years of American history {the good, the bad & the ugly} centered here in St. Augustine, FL.
1 South Castillo Drive
8:45 am – 5:15 pm every day except Christmas
Ages 16 & above: $7 (good for 7 consecutive days)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *