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Florida Travel Destinations: Fort Matanzas

Updated on October 3, 2017

Where did the name "Matanzas" come from?

Fort Matanzas National Monument is a national park located in Saint Augustine, Florida. The story began about 200 years before the construction of the fort at Matanzas. In 1565, Saint Augustine was found and the year is known by the history of the Spanish massacre of the French forces. The "Matanzas" name is a Spanish word for "slaughter". The river was named this after the massacre.

Fort Matanzas


Hours of Operation

Fort Matanzas National Monument is open from 9:00AM until 5:30PM Monday through Sunday. The only day Fort Matanzas is closed is December 25th. During thunderstorms and bad weather, Fort Matanzas National Monument will be closed due to visitor safety.

Fort Matanzas

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There are no fees to take the ferry to Fort Matanzas and there are no fees to enter the park. Donations are gladly accepted and are used towards ferry maintenance and programming for interpretation. The only fees that will apply to your visit will be during mid-March through September payable to St. Johns County. St. Johns County maintains the beach ramp that is directly across from A1A Highway from the park entrance.

Ferry Ride


Group Reservations

School groups and other groups are welcome to make reservations. The limit is 36 people to a group. The times for the group tours are 9:45AM, 10:45AM, 11:45AM, 1:45PM and 2:45PM daily. To make a reservation you can contact the park at 904-461-0122. The extension is 201.

Ferry Ride To Fort Matanzas

There are no fees to ride the ferry to Fort Matanzas. The ferry does operate on a boarding pass system. Boarding passes are available in the visitor center on a first come, first served basis. All ages must have a boarding pass to ride on the ferry. There are no pets allowed on the ferry with the exception of service animals. Donations are accepted and are used for the ferry maintenance.

The following are the times the ferry leaves the dock (weather permitting):

  • 9:30AM 10:30AM 11:30AM 12:30PM 1:30PM 2:30PM 3:30PM 4:30PM


Permits are needed when there are planned possible disruptions of normal business service, possible destruction of property, or if it intervenes with normal business hours. Some examples below would require a permit:

  • Weddings
  • Professional photography or videography involving props or models
  • Commercial Use
  • Special Events
  • etc.

To find out more about obtaining a permit, please contact Permit Coordinator.

Pet Friendly?

Pets are welcome in the park, on the beach and on the trails. Pets must be on a six foot leash at all times. Pets are not allowed in the visitor center, at the fort, and on the ferry with the exception of service animals.

Matanzas Inlet

My daughter, my son & I at the Matanzas Inlet.
My daughter, my son & I at the Matanzas Inlet. | Source

Things To Bring?

  • Sunscreen, hat & sunglasses- to help block solar radiation.
  • Loose fitting clothes- to help keep you cool.
  • Comfortable shoes-to make the stairs at the fort and the nature trails more enjoyable.
  • Camera or video recorder.
  • Water- to avoid dehydration, drink a lot of water to keep you hydrated.
  • Insect repellant- to ward off any pesky insects during your visit.

Accessibility & Special Needs

Fort Matanzas National Monument does accommodate their visitors. Service animals are allowed in the visitor center, at the fort, and on the ferry. The visitor center offer large print brochures along with brochures written in braille upon request. They also offer the video with captioning upon request. The visitor center, nature trails, and restrooms are all wheelchair accessible. The fort and the ferry are not accessible due to steps and stairs.

Things To Do:

  • Explore the fort
  • Walk the nature trails
  • Watch the eight minute video at the visitor center
  • Listen to the ranger or boat captain tell you information
  • Relax

Fort Matanzas

A markerFort Matanzas -
Fort Matanzas National Monument, 8635 A1A South, St. Augustine, FL 32080, USA
get directions

Come & explore Fort Matanzas!

© 2014 RebeccaSCallahan


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