Fort Matanzas National Monument

On our trip out West in 2010, Trey racked up quite a few “Junior Ranger” badges at National Parks and Monuments. The most recent ones we’ve visited are Congaree and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. Whenever we plan a vacation, I scour our routes to see if there are any new NPS sites we can visit. This time we spotted Fort Matanzas along the way from Amelia Island to Legoland in Winter Haven and planned a stop.

When you hear the term “fort” you picture much grander things than what Matanzas has to offer. The place is really just a small 50×50 foot coquina outpost with two 30×10 foot rooms (baracks and office). The fort’s five canons were only ever fired once (at the British before the fort was even completed) and it was used for almost 80 more years without seeing any more action. Almost a century later the federal government began restoring the fort.

Today you can watch a short documentary at the visitor center and peruse its tiny (I mean TINY) gift shop as you wait for the NPS ferry to cross the inter-coastal waters to the island where the fort stands.

Trey enjoyed the boat ride and after a short talk by the ranger at the fort we got to explore and climb to the roof of the tower. Heidi was given the honor of taking down the flag (a 1740s era Spanish Empire Cross of Burgundy flag) since we were the last tour of the day.