Castillo De San Marcos, St Augustine

Currently Open
  • Address: 1 S Castillo Dr, St Augustine, FL 32084, United States
  • Timings: 08:45 am - 05:15 pm Details
  • Phone: +1-9048296506
  • Ticket Price: 7 USD
  • Time Required: 00:30 Mins
  • Tags: History Museum, Castle, Historical Site, Family And Kids, Architecture
  • Map

About Castillo De San Marcos, St Augustine

The masons from Havana laboured to produce blocks to construct a monument. They baked oyster shells in kilns to produce a fine white powder called lime which was then mixed with sand and fresh water to produce mortar. After 23 years of hard labour, and sheer determination the Castillo de San Marcos was born.

The Castillo de San Marcos embodies the clash between cultures and grim history as nation after nation tried to make it their own. It echoes the struggles of an earlier time and the walls provide evidence of numerous historic events including the imprisonment of Native American tribes. Plains tribes such as Howling Wolf of the Southern Cheyenne drew while incarcerated. Their art known as Ledger Art are etched on the walls depicting events of valour and personal feats in battle and hunting. Made-up of coquina, a fundamentally indestructible limestone comprised of broken sea shells and coral, the walls of the fortress remained impenetrable through 300 years of enemy shelling and pounding by violent storms.

The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. Located on the shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida, construction began in 1672. The construction began at the command of Francisco de la Guerra y de la Vega after the destructive raid of the English pirate Robert Searles who assaulted and plundered the settlement. At the same time the threat of English colonization in the north had significantly increased, and Queen Mariana of Spain authorized the construction of a stone fortification.

After 1702, it was decided to change and improve the Castillo and the city of St. Augustine itself. The interior rooms were pulled out into the courtyard to make them deeper and vaulted arch ceilings were constructed to make the rooms bombproof. These vaulted ceilings also served to make it possible for heavy garrison guns to be put all around the perimeter of the gun-deck rather than just in the corner bastions as the Castillo had originally been built.

The Castillo has never been conquered despite attacks by English General James Oglethorpe who fired cannon balls from the tip of Anastasia Island, but it was no match for the unusual consistency of coquina which absorbed the blast rather than crumbling.

After Britain gained control of Florida in 1763 St. Augustine became the capital of British East Florida, and the fort was renamed Fort St. Mark. However in 1783 she went back as a possession of Spain. But by 1821 the fort became a United States Army base and was renamed Fort Marion. In 1942 the original name, Castillo de San Marcos, was restored by an Act of Congress. The fort was declared a National Monument in 1924.

Possession of the fort has changed six times, all peaceful, amongst four different governments: the Spanish Empire, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Confederate States of America and the United States of America (Spain and the United States having possession two times each).

When it comes to a visit to Castillo Se San Marcos in St. Augustine, you need to be equipped with a lot of knowledge. Tickets for Castillo Se San Marcos open your path to one of the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. They are readily available over the counter, however, if you buy tickets for Castillo Se San Marcos tours, you get to see history through various perspectives. Scroll down to know Castillo Se San Marcos ticket prices and reserve a historical experience for yourself. Castillo Se San Marcos tickets and tours are affordable and offer you the best journey into the past.

Castillo De San Marcos Information

  • The City of St Augustine maintains a parking lot in front of the Castillo. The cost is $1.50 per hour which is paid at automated stations which accept most denominations of U.S. coin and currency as well as credit and debit cards.
  • You can use the city's parking garage which is only a block away from the Castillo. It is conveniently located and will provide shade for your vehicle.
  • Only vehicles 21 feet or shorter, including any trailers, are permitted to park in the Castillo lot.
  • The City of St. Augustine provides free parking for larger vehicles at the corner of West Castillo Drive and Riberia Street.
  • The lot is approximately three blocks from the Castillo and visitors may use the Castillo's lot to drop off and pick up passengers.
  • Please stay together as a group and with your teachers if you visit from school.
  • Visit quietly and be attentive to the tour guide who is dressed in period costume.
  • The influence of the Spanish, French, British and American are all featured in the exhibits.
  • Keep an eye for your children especially up stairs on the gun deck as there are no guard rails.
  • Stay alert as you walk on uneven floors, and do not climb the walls or the cannons.
  • Only water is allowed to be consumed in the Castillo, so secure all food and drinks before entering.
  • Only the lower level of the Castillo is accessible by wheel chair.
  • If you plan on picnicking on the grounds then clean up after you finish.
  • Do not feed the animals.
  • If you feel dehydrated with the heat, contact a Ranger.

Castillo De San Marcos Ticket Prices

  • Above the age of 16 charged $ 7.
  • Children (age 15 and under) are admitted free of charge but must be accompanied by an adult.
  • The Golden Access and Age Passports, the Castillo Annual Pass, and the Interagency Access, Annual, Military, and Senior Passes are honoured for free admission in accordance with the terms specified on the card.

Restaurants Near Castillo De San Marcos

  • Cruisers Grill: American
  • Al’s Pizza: Italian
  • Mill top Tavern: American
  • The Bar With No Name: American

Love this? Explore the entire list of things to do in St Augustine before you plan your trip.

Fancy a good night's sleep after a tiring day? Check out where to stay in St Augustine and book an accommodation of your choice.

TripHobo Highlights for Castillo De San Marcos

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Castillo De San Marcos, St Augustine Reviews

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  • What a wonderful experience! This is a beautifully well preserved part of history. The staff members were very helpful and friendly. The views are so lovely and seeing so many faces wanting to learn was wonderful. It wasn’t packed when we went so the freedom to move around was great. The placards to explain what we were seeing was super helpful and informative. The next time we come to St Augustine I will definitely be visiting again!

  • It's hard to find parking around here. I feel they charge a little too much if you want to enter the fort. In my opinion walking around it is just as cool. We love going here and then walking around st. Augustine. It's a beautiful place with a lot of history.

  • The only notable problem would be the parking. It took roughly minutes to park in the relatively small lot and the nearby parking garage was full. However it was not too costly to get in, which was pleasant to find out. The views are amazing and the people who worked and/or volunteered were very nice. All of it is wheelchair accessible except for a crawling passage to the powder room and the top floor. It was not too crowded and it is not that easy to get lost, so children fare as easily as any adult. It is to be noted that the walls on the top are not very high, so any children up there should be careful. Highly recommend to anyone sightseeing!

  • This place is full of interesting history and the rangers really help bring it to life. I love going to places to learn about history and it's always fun to play 20 questions with the guides or rangers, so this was heaven for me. They're happy to spend all day answering questions and explaining the history of the fort. Several times a day, they offer canon firing demonstrations that give you a good idea of what it was like for the soldiers in the fort.

  • Castillo de San Marcos is a must-see attraction if visiting St. Augustine. Plan to visit during the cooler months of the year (November to February) to dodge the famous Florida humidity. Check the weather before you go, and dress in light layers, adding or removing as the day progresses. The location of the fort is gorgeous, overlooking the Matanzas River to its east. Parking is conveniently located so that you can park your car at the fort (though you must pay for parking), and visit multiple attractions within a comfortable walking distance. I highly recommend paying more to extend your parking time if desired so as to visit more local attractions or carve out time for a trolley tour. The educational experience provided at the fort will add a new dimension to one's understanding of American history.

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