Road Trip To Castillo De San Marcos in St. Augustine

Yesterday my whole family was awake much earlier than usual for no reason at all.  While we were sitting at the table having breakfast I asked my husband how he felt about taking a road trip to St. Augustine since we were all awake with nothing special to do for the day.  I didn’t actually think that there would be a high chance he would say “sure”.  He is pretty tall (6’6″) and being in most vehicles for long periods of time is uncomfortable for him because he does not have the ability to stretch out his legs like most people can.  However he surprised me by saying “sure, but pack a bag in case we decide to spend the night”.  About 30 minutes later we were on the road. 

Once we got to Orlando and the traffic was horrible we were wondering if we had made a bad decision.  It took us an extra hour just sitting in traffic in a couple of places to get past Orlando.  However I saw a unique, but plain billboard with a phone number to call with no read indication of what the number was for.  The number is 1-866-613-2697, and I suggest that you call it for a laugh.

My husband and I had been to St. Augustine since 2007, but our kids had never been.  My husband and I are very interested in history.  I am often really drawn in by historical architecture.  Our oldest says that he has no real interest in history, but always is entertained when we go to historical places.  Our youngest is interested in everything, especially new things and places.

When we got to the fort (Castillo De San Marcos), they were about to shoot a cannon.  So instead of going in we went around the side so that we could see from the bottom outside of the fort.  I think that many people were not expecting for it to be as loud as it was.  It sure made the kids jump.

After that was over we went ahead and went in.  You walk over a small drawbridge and then you can go up a small set of stair to an outside defensive area or walk over the larger drawbridge to go into the fort.

You feel like you are really experiencing history as you walk in and can look up to the drawbridge mechanics with the huge chains and rounded stone ceilings.

The fort was built using coquina, which is a shell stone.  Basically it is a limestone that forms with shells in it.

The fort construction was started in 1672 by the Spanish.  In its history it was controlled by the Spanish, British, back to the Spanish, United States of America, Confederate States of America, and lastly back to the United States of America.

There are rooms all around the courtyard.  Many of them have displays showing what the rooms were used for and a few are just open rooms.  Some have small window openings high up on the walls.  Most of these rooms originally would have had lofts, though most of the lofts are no longer intact.

Costumed employees that demonstrate the guns used at the fort, games that would have been played, and also shoot the cannons can be seen in some rooms and the courtyard.

After exploring the ground floor we went up the steps to the top of the fort.  There are many cannons of different types and sizes displayed up there on wooden platforms.  

While we were up there, the time for firing the cannon came again.  This is pretty cool to watch.  I had my husband take pictures of the costumed employees as they were preparing to fire since he is tall enough to see over people and at 5’2″, I am certainly not.  I took our little one to a different area across from where they were firing so that he could see.  This was actually a great place to watch and a costumed employee came over to describe the steps that were being done.  This time I covered his ears before it was fired (they actually call for people to cover their ears before firing).

After this, we were pretty much melting from the heat so we went across the street to a bar/restaurant to eat and cool down.  Since we parked in the lot next to the fort and still had parking time paid for, we decided to walk around the historic part of town for a while.  These are streets that are narrow and only accessible walking.  This is an area with a cornucopia of opportunities to spend your money.  Including gourmet popsicles, a variety of eateries, steampunk garb, small museums, magic tricks, and many more things you would never have thought and don’t actually need, but some of which are pretty cool.

At that point we were ready to leave.  It was decided that we would go ahead and drive back since there was nothing we just had to see the next day.  If we were going to stay we probably would have taken the tour of Flagler College since it is housed in historic buildings and taken the little red train trolley tour (our little one loves anything even remotely related to trains).

We got home pretty late and incredibly tired, but the kids had a lot of fun and it was a great family day! – Snack Lady


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