Castillo de San Marcos, constructed in the 17th century, is the oldest, still-standing masonry fort in the United States. Where else would it be located, then but in St. Augustine, FL our nation’s oldest, continuously occupied city.
Castillo de San Marcos was built by the Spanish to defend their colonization efforts in the New World. The construction took some 23 years, beginning in 1672, and the extra effort paid off.
While all previous forts had been built of stout wood, they’d also been burned to the ground. Castillo de San Marcos, on the other hand, was constructed of coquina, a soft limestone composed of broken shells. This material proved not only resistant to fire and cannonballs but also time. The iconic, amazingly preserved National Monument is over 325 years old and open for tours!
Step back in Time at Castillo de San Marcos
Castillo de San Marcos is located in St. Augustine, FL at 1 South Castillo Drive, less than an hour’s drive from The Club Continental.
Visitors to the Castillo will find plenty to do and see at the 20.5 acre national park. Self-guided tours will take you past detailed exhibits and throughout the fortress. You’ll see guard rooms, prisoner’s cells, the chapel, the vaulted chambers of the magazine, and more.
The gun deck above the courtyard includes, real, functioning cannon, which are fired during demonstrations and reenactments. So exciting!
The gun deck also provides stunning, 360 degree views of St. Augustine, the park, and the Atlantic. Don’t forget your camera!
Park staff dress in 18th century colonial attire to present historical reenactments and weaponry demonstrations throughout the year. Be sure to check the park event calendar before your go so you can time your visit appropriately.
The Castillo is primarily a historical site but that’s not all you can do there. Bird watchers and nature lovers will enjoy the site’s easy access to adjacent nature trails and boardwalks.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is open 7 days a week, 9am to 5pm. It is closed for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Park grounds are open 5:30am to midnight.
St. Augustine’s historic cobblestone streets offer so much to see and do. Historic shops, unique boutiques, fantastic dining, and more. Plus, the city sees over 300 days of sunshine, so there’s almost never a bad time to visit. Enjoy a day-trip to the historic city, then head back to the quiet comforts of your room on the St. James River at The Club Continental. Perfect.
Visit the Castillo website for more information. You can also find the fort on Facebook.