Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by thedrifter on June 6, 2004

If you visit St. Augustine, you WILL see the Castillo de San Marcos. It's the really big, Spanish fort on your left as you come into town. You can't miss it. It will keep showing up in the background during your visit, as you explore the rest of the city. So, if you're not a real history buff, you may feel you've seen enough of the Castillo without ever setting foot inside.

For a mere $4, though, I recommend taking a more in depth look at this wonderfully preserved example of colonial architecture. I mean, one normally has to go to Latin America to see this sort of thing. It's a national monument for a reason.

Built in the late 17th century, the Castillo de San Marcos was the northern most outpost of the might Spanish empire in the New World. It was subsequently used by the British and then American militaries. Even if you're not an enthusiast of military history, the story of this fortress spans three centuries and has its fair share of interesting tales. You can either take a guided tour of the grounds or grab a handful of explanatory literature and freelance it around the Castillo. Either way, I would count on spending about an hour exploring this place.

I've seen my fair share of historical forts and the Castillo de San Marcos ranks highly among them. It is certainly a unique specimen in the United States. Aside from the historic value, the Castillo provides some excellent views that you won't get elsewhere. The view of Old Town from atop the fortress walls is very picturesque and looking out toward Matanzas Bay near the end of day can be a truly beautiful sight. So, whether for a little trip back in time, or for the aesthetic rewards, take the opportunity to climb atop this old sentinel of St. Augustine.

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
1 South Castillo Drive
St. Augustine, Florida
(904) 829-6506

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