1. Are reservations required?
Yes. Groups may make reservations by calling Fort Matanzas National Monument at (904) 471-0116.
2. What times are available for group tours?
The ferry departs the dock at 9:45, 10:45, 11:45, 1:45, and 2:45 daily.
All group tours must arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to their scheduled tour.
3. What if I am late?
Educational tours are presented between tours for the general public. If the group is so late that they cannot be taken to the fort and have the boat back in time for the next public tour, then the group may not be able to visit the fort unless there is an opening for the next group tour. However, a ranger will still present a program for the group on the visitor center side.
4. How many people may I bring?
Due to the U.S. Coast Guard certified capacity of the boat, group size is limited to no more than 36 people. That includes students and adults. If you have more people than that, please book additional time slots.
5. How far in advance may I make reservations?
We can accept reservations 10 months to 24 hours in advance, if there is an opening.
6. Is there a fee?
Not at this time, but donations are accepted and are used for boat operations and interpretive programming.
7. How long is the tour?
Each group will have a ranger for about 50 minutes and will spend about 30-40 minutes on their tour to the fort, including the boat trip. The group may also want to explore the half-mile nature trail or enjoy a picnic in the picnic area on their own time. With advance request, we can provide additional teacher-led activities on nature and/or history.
8. Are there any dates when groups may not visit?
During the very busy period around Easter, we are not able to accommodate school tours. Also, inclement weather may force us to cancel boat operations.
9. May I guide myself?
Yes, if you have specific activities that you wish your students to work on, you are welcome to present the material yourself. However, for resource protection and safety, a ranger must still accompany the group to the fort, and the time is still limited to 50 minutes unless you reserve two adjacent time periods. Click here for a scavenger hunt activity for the students.
10. What about adult educational groups--Elderhostel, college, etc?
We welcome adult learners! Please make a reservation for your group and talk to a ranger about any special needs or special emphases of the course. We have a ranger with an educational background on staff, and with enough advance notice we may be able to put together a program on a particular topic or focus.
11. What about Scout, church, and other groups?
If the group is large (over 10 people) or if you would like a special presentation specifically for your group, then please make a reservation. If the group is 10 or fewer, they will generally take the public tour.
12. Do you present programs on nature, too, or just on history?
Yes, we present programs on both natural and cultural history. We have a ranger with an educational background on staff, and with enough advance notice we may be able to put together a program on a particular topic or focus for adults or for children.
13. Can we schedule field trips to Fort Matanzas and the Castillo de San Marcos on the same day? Yes, but it does depend on available reservation times. There is a different process for scheduling a group visits to the Castillo.
To find out more about Castillo's reservation process, please click here.