“America Begins Here”
A monument not only of stone and mortar but of human determination and endurance, the Castillo de San Marcos symbolizes the clash between cultures which ultimately resulted in our uniquely unified nation. Still resonant with the struggles of an earlier time, these original walls provide tangible evidence of America’s grim but remarkable history. The people of St. Augustine fought for a stone fortress because they were fighting for their lives in Florida. The Castillo de San Marcos was used for military purposes during WWII. The Coast Guard utilized the fort for training exercises and ceremonies throughout the war years.
ive been here many times, the inside is like the outside, you can walk the surroundings of the Castillo for free and it has a lot of cool stuff outside. Plus outside you can rock climb the walls and its just more fun. The castle/fort is right next to this big river that spans almost 4 miles long. They have a pirate ship tour and the lighthouse is a MUST SEE. if you park at the Castillo you can walk along the river walk where there is a bunch of horse drawn carriage rides. you cross the street that leads to the bridge and right there is the mini golf place that has a map of all that st Augustine has to offer, I recommend getting that map and just go exploring.
This place is so SO awesome! The city is wonderful and creepy, and if you're a ghost nut like me you'll love the candlelight tours. The fort is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of a pirate Andrew Ranson who appears has made himself known in plenty of photos!
If you're a history buff, or if you're under 12, this is a must-see sight if you're near St. Augustine. It is a feat of engineering given the technology of the time, and due to its persistence, it was owned by the Spanish, British, the Spanish again, and then the USA. It even was the prison for Native American POWs, who were taken there from the Midwest to be held prisoner there. They recorded their experiences in graffiti on the coquina (shell stone) walls, which you can see today.
You can park in the city lot just to the west, and it's only $10 for adults and free for under 18. It's a self-guided tour, but really well put together, including live cannon firings on weekends by costumed volunteers. And the view of the harbor and the town from the top is scenic as well.
Cool to see they set off cannons of powder. Everything else has pictures of what it used to Look like
This is my hometown born and raised. Now I'm raising a family here. Us locals love our little town and all it has to offer. Sure it's a tourist town but it's also so much more than just that. Come see for yourself.
I LOVE St. Augustine! Its my favorite city! And the Castillo De San Marcos is so beautiful!!! I will definitely be going back next time I visit florida!!!
I was so excited to go to St Augustine and the Castillo was one of the main draws. I ended up being pretty creeped out by the city. Concpetually, the oldest city in the country sounds really amazing and like something you should 100% see, but in reality it ended up being too fabricated, touristy and re-done to feel authentic.
I wouldn't go back.
Castillo de San Marcos sits in the Historic District of St Augustine, a monumental National Park. Castillo is one of only two fortifications in the world built built of a limestone called coquina (the other is also in the same region), a porous material that surprised everyone!
When that first cannon ball hit the walls – there was very little impact! Turns out that all those pores create air pockets that make the fort exceptionally STRONG! Instead of shattering the walls, any cannon balls fired at the fort burrowed their way into the rock and stuck there… like a bb fired into a Styrofoam cup. On top of that, it was fire-proof!
And with that, Castillo became of the country’s few forts that remained impenetrable!
I have to disagree that this is not ideal for kids under 12. My 6 and 10 yo loved love loved this fort! Especially knowing it was never defeated.
Before you go, check their events calendar. There are frequently exhibitions of period weapons, or costumed actors re-enacting the life of the colonists who once lived in the area.
Finally, if you are visiting with kids, be sure to check out the Junior Ranger program.
Awesome place to visit. I have traveled far and wide, but this place is by far one of my favorites. The history and scenery from this fort and the entire city is completely phenomenal. The oldest city in the US is worth the trip and it is ready to be explored. 5 plus stars and highly recommended.
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Castillo De San Marcos National Monument
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