Part of our in-depth series exploring Southern Early American Forts
The Castillo de San Marcos, built 1672-1695, served primarily as an outpost of the Spanish Empire, guarding St. Augustine, the first permanent European settlement in the continental United States, and also protecting the sea route for treasure ships returning to Spain. Although the Castillo has served a number of nations throughout its history, it has never been taken by military force. During the 18th century, the Castillo went from Spanish control to British and back to the Spanish , who remained in power in Florida until the area was purchased by the United States in 1821. Called Fort Marion at this time, The Castillo was made a National Monument in 1924 and became part of the National Park system in 1933. The park consists of the original historic Castillo fortress itself with its attendant grounds, some 25 total acres.
Operating Hours & Seasons
The Castillo de San Marcos is open to the public from 8:45 am to 4:45 pm every day of the year except December 25th. The grounds are closed from midnight until 5:30 am.
Visitation is highest June through Labor Day, during the December holidays, and March through April. Visitation is lowest from the middle of September through early December. School group visitation is quite high March trough May.
There is no Public Transportation in St. Augustine, however, private companies operate tour trains, horse carriages, and bicycle and motor scooter rentals.
$6 per adult for a seven day pass.
Children 15 and under are free and must be accompanied by an adult.
Castillo de San Marcos Annual Pass is $30 and admits the pass owner plus
any 3 adults for a full 12 months.