Frequently Asked Questions
Where is the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument? The Castillo de San Marcos is located in downtown St. Augustine, Florida. Click here for driving directions.
What are the park's hours? The interior of the Castillo is open from 8:45 am to 5:15 pm with the last entrance ticket sold at 5:00 pm. The park grounds are open from 5:30 am until midnight.
What is there to do at the park? The park offers a variety of exhibits, living history demonstrations, ranger programs and recreational opportunities. More . . .
Is there food and lodging near the Castillo? Restaurants and hotels are located within easy walking distance of the Park. No food or drinks except water are allowed or available inside the park.
Can I hold my wedding or other special event in the park? Weddings and other special events require a special use permit and must follow specific guidelines. Special events can only be held on the exterior grounds of the Park. For more information please call (904) 829-6506 x 245.
When was the Castillo made a national monument? The Castillo, or Fort Marion as it was known at the time, was declared a national monument on October 15, 1924 by President Calvin Coolidge. He signed a proclamation that also included Fort Matanzas, Fort Pulaski, Fort Wood (Statue of Liberty), and Castle Pinckney (Castle Pinckney was returned to the Army Corps of Engineers in 1951 and is no longer a national monument).
About the Fort
How old is the fort? Construction began on October 2, 1672 so the fort is over 333 years old.
Who built the fort? Why did they build it here? The Castillo was built by the Spanish to protect their interests in La Florida. With the discovery and use of the Gulf Stream by the Spanish Treasure fleets it became important to establish a military outpost to keep rival powers and pirates from threatening Spanish commerce.
How long did it take to build the fort? The Castillo has has two major construction periods, from 1672 to its initial completion in 1695, and again from 1738 to 1756. This final renovation is commemorated by the dedicatory plaque above the sally port entrance to the fort.
What is Coquina? Where does it come from? "Coquina" (Spanish for "tiny shell"), is a soft limestone made up of broken shells and sand cemented together by calcium carbonate, essentially creating a natural form of concrete. The stone for the Castillo was quarried on nearby Anastasia island.
What does “Castillo” mean? Castillo is the Spanish word for "castle." Although no king or queen lived here, the Castillo de San Marcos was like a castle in one way-- it was used to defend a town.
About St. Augustine
When did the Spanish discover Florida? Juan Ponce de Leon claimed "La Florida" for Spain in 1513.
Which is older St. Augustine or the Castillo? St. Augustine was 107 years old when construction began on the Castillo. There were nine wood and earth forts before the stone fort was built.
Who founded St. Augustine? Pedro Menedez de Aviles and about 800 colonists established the town in 1565 under a grant from King Phillip II of Spain.
Where did the original landing take place? The landing took place at the Indian village of Seloy a few hunderd yards north of the Castillo at what is now the Mission of Nombre de Dios.
Who were the original Indians here? a semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer culture called the Timucuans inhabited this area of North Florida.
How did St. Augustine get its name? The city was named in honor of the saint whose feast day fell on the day Pedro Menendez sited shore, August 28.
Were there settlements before St. Augustine? There were several attemptsby the Spanish and others to establish colonies in North America before this one, but they all failed.
When did the Seminoles get here? The Seminoles were part of the Creek Indians who moved south into Florida around 1720.
How did the British get Florida? Britain obtained Florida by the Treaty of Paris that ended the Seven Years War, known as the French and Indian War in North America.
Did You Know?
The Castillo de San Marcos was known as Fort Marion from 1821 through 1942. Its name had been changed to honor America’s famous Revolutionary War hero, Francis Marion. It regained its original name during WWII. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, Florida