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St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is the oldest masonry fort in the United States and the only intact 17th-century fort. Constructed by the Spanish in 1672 to protect their New World territories, it eventually passed to the British and Americans, and ended up playing a crucial role in the Civil and Spanish–American wars.
Now maintained by the National Park Service, the complex occupies 2.5 acres (1 hectare) in downtown St. Augustine. Visit Castillo de San Marcos independently or as part of a guided tour, which will help provide context to this important historical site—the site where America began. The fort is also a stop on St. Augustine hop-on hop-off trolley tours, and you can even admire it from the air during a helicopter flightseeing experience.
Castillo de San Marcos National Monument is a must-see for history buffs and families with children.
Don’t miss the canon firing from the gundeck at 10:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, and 3:30pm Friday through Sunday.
Wear comfortable shoes to walk along the 30-foot (9-meter) stone walls that hem in the fort.
Much of the fort is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, though access to the gun deck is via stairs.
The Castillo de San Marcos is easy to reach by private vehicle from across St. Augustine, and there's a fee-based parking lot right opposite the site. There's also a city parking garage located nearby.
The Castillo de San Marcos is open daily from 8:45am to 5pm, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Crowds are thinnest from mid-September through late November, while peak season is June through Labor Day—especially during summer and national holidays. Note that summer is also a very hot time to visit, even in the morning; spring and fall offer milder temperatures.
The narrowest street in the United States is in St. Augustine—Treasury Street, measuring 7 feet wide. It was built to be wide enough for two men to transport chests of gold to ships docked at the waterfront, reducing the likelihood that they would be robbed by passing carriages.