Throughout its history, the story of Fort Matanzas has been closely intertwined with that of the city of St. Augustine and the
Castillo de San Marcos. This Spanish outpost fort was built in 1740-1742 to guard the Matanzas Inlet and to warn St. Augustine of British or other enemies approaching from the south. Fort Matanzas now serves as a reminder of the early Spanish empire in the New World.
In addition, the park, which is located on barrier islands along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas estuary, provides a natural habitat rich in wildlife with the salt marsh, scrub, and maritime hammock now protecting endangered and threatened species like the historic Fort Matanzas protected St. Augustine long ago.
Ranger staff offer guided boat tours to the historic Fort Matanzas which is located across the Matanzas River on Rattlesnake Island. Each tour takes approximately 45-50 minutes.
The park offers a 1/2 mile self-guided nature trail on a boardwalk through a coastal maritime forest and another
boardwalk through the dunes to a beach overlook.
From I-95: Take exit 305 (Route 206). Follow Route 206 east about 6 miles to Highway A1A. Turn right and follow A1A south for 4 miles to the park entrance on the right side of the road.
From St. Augustine: Follow Highway A1A south for approximately 14 miles to the park entrance on the right side of the road.