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National Monuments & Memorials in Florida
Take a chapter out of the Sunshine State’s long story and visit the national monuments and memorials in Florida that pay tribute to the state’s heritage from early beginnings. From the first steps of the Spanish Conquest to the many forts that hold prominent positions throughout the state, Florida maintains its proud history through the designation of its monuments.
Head to St. Augustine and visit the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument for a taste of Florida’s early history. Built in 1672 as a military fort, this distinctive star-shaped monument was constructed by the Spaniards to help protect its coastline. Similarly, Fort Matanzas Base in St. Augustine helped defend and guard the all of the barrier islands along the Matanzas River. Both forts were made of coquina shell stone and offer tours and museums for further exploration.
Visit the De Soto National Memorial to watch historical re-enactments and take a guided tour of the site where Spanish explorer, Hernando de Soto first landed on the Florida coast. Just outside of Jacksonville along the St. Johns River, Fort Caroline National Monument in northeast Florida, preserves and memorializes the first French colony in the U.S.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
Built in 1672, the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is a historic military site in St. Augustine.
The fort was constructed by the Spanish to help protect the northern Florida coast.
This historic structure, found along the Matanzas Bay, was built with coquina stone, over a 23-year period of time.
The structure was designated a National Monument in 1933, and now allows visitors to tour the exhibits located throughout the fortress, as well as watch historic weapons demonstrations and presentations.
Fort Caroline National Memorial
Located in northeast Florida, Fort Caroline National Monument preserves and memorializes the first French colony in the U.S. The site is found just outside of Jacksonville along the St. Johns River.
The Fort Caroline National Monument is part of the larger Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve. The fort features must-sees including historic artifacts, intriguing stories, and ranger-led guided tours.
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Built in 1742, Fort Matanzas was a Spanish military base helping to guard the southern approach to St. Augustine and the northeastern Florida coast.
Serving as a mighty reminder of the early Spanish empire, the area became a National Monument in 1924.
Today, the site encompasses not only the fort, but also 100 acres of salt marsh and barrier islands along the Matanzas River.
Similar to the Castillo de San Marcos, the Fort was built of coquina shellstone. The Visitor Center, built in 1936, provides full information and contains some museum items.