Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Tel: (904) 471-0116
This historical site 22 km (14 miles) south of St Augustine has a Spanish Fort that was built in 1740 and plenty of wildlife to interest ecotravellers. The National Park Service operates a free ferry to the fort on Rattlesnake Island, and on the short trip across the Matanzas River Bottle-nosed Dolphins are frequently sighted. Pelicans, terns and skimmers often congregate on the sandbars in the river. The tiny fort itself is interesting, and one can only imagine what it must have been like in 1740. Troops spent six months at a time confined to this isolated spot on Rattlesnake Island.
From the boardwalk and nature trails you may see Gopher Tortoises and during spring and fall many migrating songbirds stop in the hammock vegetation. Gray Kingbirds breed here in spring and summer. Just south of the monument entrance the tidal flats of the inlet attract Brown Pelicans, Least terns, Black Skimmers and many other sea and shorebirds.
More information on their web site
Fort Matanzas web site
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