This is a guest post written by Kristina Mobley
Similar to Isle Royale National Park in Michigan, Fort Mantanzas requires visitors to travel by boat. Located just outside of St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the United States, you can take a step back into history.
Imagine the fever of discovery with constant battles for land in the New World. Florida, like countless other areas, was a field of conflict. Once St. Augustine was discovered and claimed, they built forts to guard the city from pirates, raiders, and other countries. Fort Mantanzas watched the southern river for any approaching ships.
Over time, the need of protecting the river diminished and this fort became a beacon of history – giving an insight into this often lost and forgotten era.
Florida National Monument: Fort Mantanzas
Obviously, the fort is the busiest on holidays and weekends, so consider planning your visit during a weekday. The boat ride is free, but to guarantee a seat on the boat you might want to look into getting a boarding pass at the Visitor’s Center before the tour. After a quick ride you get to this small fort.
Once you get there, you can explore the tower made of the famous conquina, the gunpowder room, and the sentry box. If you think a flat is LA is small then you need to see the soldiers’ quarters, especially when compared to the officer’s quarters. After traversing the small rooms, the observation and gun decks are like a breath of fresh air – literally. You come topside to get beautiful views of the waterway and small island.
Please be aware that you will be climbing stairs and a ladder, so wear shoes that are good for walking and climbing. Unfortunately, the fort was built for soldiers and is not wheelchair accessible; however, the Visitor Center, restrooms, dock, and nature trail are.
Another great Florida National Park is Dry Tortugas. Learn more about it here.