Insider’s Guide to Fort Matanzas, Florida

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,034
    An insider’s look into one of the more pristine and historical destinations in Florida. Named after a series of deadly slaughters in the 1500s, Fort Matanza has become for many a paradise destination.

    Janice Jones: It's one of the most beautiful sports on A One A with one of the most brutal names. Fort Matanzas meaning slaughters is these days touted for its peaceful surroundings.

    Andrew Rich: We have a great shoreline here, devoid of condominiums and so forth. So you can see what Florida was really like back before all the development took place. The park is about 300 acres; we include beach area as well as the river system and salt marshes.

    Janice Jones: 14 miles south of historic St. Augustine the visitor center is nestled in a coastal hammock surrounded by ancient sand dunes.

    Andrew Rich: You can also take a walk on our nature trail; we have a boardwalk for the entire distances.

    Janice Jones: A visitor favorite the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin can often be spotted from the free fairy ride across the Inlet. It provides pristine views of the area and the visit to the fort.

    While Fort Matanzas scores high with nature lovers, some would say it's the historical tour that sells the place. The park rangers here are right out of the history books, they dress the park and they tell great stories.

    Kevin McCarthy: There was the original site of a series of massacres known as the Matanzas. It's a beautiful river with an awful name.

    Janice Jones: It was here in 1565 that French soldiers were as the name says slaughtered by the Spanish it attempts to protect their new land. This picturesque inlet tells the story of Florida's rich cultural up bringing.

    Kevin McCarthy: The Fort here is a reminder that America did not start in 1776.

    Janice Jones: The Fort was build by the Spanish in 1742 and changed hands to the British, but it's propose was always the same, to stop enemy attacks on the back side of Saint Augustine.

    Kevin McCarthy: They try and come into the river that surrounds us. Once this Fort was built, no attempt was ever made by an enemy to attack from this direction.

    Janice Jones: Located on what's been dubbed Rattlesnake Island, you can glimpse what life was like for early soldiers serving here, and even climb to the fort's outlook for a breath taking view. From here you can scout out your activity, take a stroll around the inlet, go paddle boarding or say hello to the Atlantic Ocean just cross A One A.

    To rap it all up, grab a seat and down a plate of fresh sea food at the Matanzas Inlet Restaurant, an old tackle shop turned open air watering whole that's been attracting locals and visitors alike for more than 20 years. My favorite, a bucket of steamed Oysters enjoyed at sunset.