Florida National Parks
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the park, which is located on barrier islands along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas estuary, provides a natural habitat rich in wildlife with the salt marsh, scrub, and maritime hammock now protecting endangered and threatened species like the historic Fort Matanzas protected St. Augustine long ago.
8635 A1A South
St. Augustine, FL 32080
Visitor Information : 904-471-0116
Headquarters : 904-471-0116
By Fax: 904-471-7605
Operating Hours & Seasons
Fort Matanzas National Monument is open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm every day of the year except December 25. The ferry to the fort leaves the Visitor Center dock 9:30 to 4:30 on the "thirty" (half-past the hour). The usual tour is 45-50 minutes, including a ranger presentation.
The number of visitors is highest March through Labor Day and during the December holidays. Visitation is at its lowest from the middle of September through mid-November. The park is busiest on holiday weekends throughout the year, when there may be a wait to take the ferry.
Airports in Jacksonville, Florida (north) and Daytona and Orlando/Sanford (south) provide rental cars and easy access to Interstate highways.
From I-95: Take exit 305 (Route 206). Follow Route 206 east about 6 miles to Highway A1A. Turn right and follow A1A south for 4 miles to the park entrance on the right side of the road. From St. Augustine: Follow Highway A1A south for approximately 14 miles to the park entrance on the right side of the road.
Greyhound runs bus service to St. Augustine. There is no public transportation to the park.
There is no public transportation to the park. However, a bike path or bike lane extends all the way from St. Augustine Beach to Fort Matanzas.
Sites for large weddings are not available at Fort Matanzas National Monument. No weddings may be held at the Fort or on Rattlesnake Island.
Fort Matanzas National Monument
There are no fees to enter the park or to take the ferry to the fort. Donations are gratefully accepted, however, and are used for boat maintenance and interpretive programming. Occasionally, the park presents special programs, such as winter Torchlight Tours, for which there is a small charge. St. Johns County, which maintains a beach ramp directly across Hwy. A1A from the park entrance, charges a fee to drive onto the oceam beach from mid-March through September.
Fort Tours--Ranger staff offer guided boat tours to the historic Fort Matanzas which is located across the Matanzas River on Rattlesnake Island. Tours are offered daily except Dec. 25 at 930, 1030, 1130, 1230, 130, 230, 330, and 430, weather permitting. Each tour takes approximately 45-50 minutes.
Group Tours--School and other groups are welcome to visit the park. Please call (904) 471-0116 to make your group reservation for guided tours of the fort. Also check our Education webpage-- http://www.nps.gov/foma/home/edugroup.htm
Trails--The park offers a 1/2 mile self-guided nature trail on a boardwalk through a coastal maritime forest and another boadwalk through the dunes to a beach overlook.
Special Programs such as living history and guided nature walks are presented on weekends at various times throughout the year. Call (904) 471-0116 for up-coming programs and events or check our Activities webpage-- http://www.nps.gov/foma/home/events.htm
Junior Ranger--Children age 5-12 are invited to participate in the park's Jr. Ranger program. Ask for the activity book at the Visitor Center.
Fishing is permitted along the shoreline of Matanzas River. No license is required for Florida residents or children under 16 years of age. All others will need a Florida saltwater license which is available from area bait shops, but not in the park.
Swimming and sunbathing are popular activities on the Atlantic Ocean beach, but no life guards are provided.
Fort Matanzas Visitor Center
Open All Year 9:00 am -- 4:30 pm
Directions to the Park-- From I-95: Take exit 305 (Route 206). Follow Route 206 east about 6 miles to Highway A1A. Turn right and follow A1A south for 4 miles to the park entrance on the right side of the road. From St. Augustine:
Follow Highway A1A south for approximately 14 miles to the park entrance on the right side of the road. The Visitor Center is located at the back of the entrance road loop.
Closures: December 25
Special Programs : 8-minute park video
models of the fort, timeline, maps showing relationship of Fort Matanzas to St. Augustine, map describing the Massacre of the French, touch table
Information Desk Eastern National book sales area
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
Summers (May-September) can be very hot and bright with high humidity and frequent afternoon thunder showers. Sun protection, including sunscreen and UV filtering sunglasses, is highly recommended. Afternoon thunder storms are a common occurance during the summer months, and ferry service will be shut down when there is lightning in the area.
Winters (December through March) can be cooler than one would expect, especially with the wind off the water, and sudden cold snaps should be taken into consideration. There is almost always a breeze year 'round.
The most temperate periods are the fall (October-November) and spring (mid-March-April/mid-May) when temperatures regularly hover around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-26 degrees Celsius).