Description - Before National Monument status, the Castillo de San Marcos served as an outpost of the Spanish Empire. It protected St. Augustine, the first permanent settlement by Europeans in southern North America and the primary sea route for ships returning to Spain. The fortress was started in 1672 and completed in 1695. In its long history, the Castillo has served a number of nations, but it has never been taken through military force. During the 18th century, the Castillo went from Spanish control to British, and back to the Spanish. Spain remained in power in Florida until the area was purchased by the United States in 1821. Guided and self-guided tours available.
Copyright: - US National Park Service
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
- Made a national monument in 1924, the Castillo became part of the National Park system in 1933. The Park consists primarily of the cultural and historic site of the Castillo itself with its attendant grounds, totaling approximately 25 acres. Throughout its history, the Castillo de San Marcos has been closely intertwined with the city of St. Augustine and the neighboring structures which served as the city's outer defenses for many years. In addition to Castillo, Fort Mose to the north and Fort Matanzas to the south, serve as outstanding reminders of the might of the early Spanish empire in the New World.
Recreation - For the history buff, Castillo de San Marcos is a gem. There is no visitor center in the park, but museum exhibits are maintained within the Castillo. Regularly scheduled Ranger and Junior Ranger Educational Programs are offered year-round. Costumed volunteers schedule special living history events throughout the year including cannon firing demonstrations and torch light tours. The schedule is posted daily in the courtyard and at the ticket booth. Call 904-829-6506 for details. The site closes one day a year, Christmas Day.
Note: As of this writing, most of the structure of the Castillo de San Marcos will be closed for repairs to the roof. Rangers will be presenting exciting new programs, including living history, on the grounds surrounding the Castillo during this period when the fort itself is not accessible.
Climate - Summers in northeastern Florida are hot and humid with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Summer temperatures average in the low 80's Fahrenheit (27 - 28 Celsius). Mild winter temperatures average below 52 degrees Fahrenheit (below 11 Celsius). Freezing temperatures are infrequent but windy conditions are common. The average precipitation for the northeast area is between 52 and 56 inches per year. Light, loose fitting clothing is recommended in spring, summer and fall. Layered clothing is recommended for winter. Biting insects are common throughout the year and are especially heavy from late April through early June.
This national monument is located on the northern Atlantic coast of Florida on Route A!A..