Exploring French history at the Fort Caroline National Memorial in Jacksonville, Florida

A small not-quite-well-known spot in Jacksonville is the Fort Caroline National Memorial.

Fort Caroline is a memorial for the short-lived French presence from the sixteenth century, which was massacred by the Spanish. The original structure was completely destroyed and the current structure is a recreation by the National Park Service.

The national memorial boasts that you can find stories of “exploration, survival, religious disputes, territorial battles and first contact between American Indians and Europeans” – National Park Service. It’s where “history comes to life!”

Seeing the fort, it’s hard to imagine what it’d be like to live at Fort Caroline. A hot, swampy Florida with no modern amenities like air conditioning and bathrooms, no real bedrooms or protection from the mosquitoes – not to mention disputes between the Native Americans and various European explorers.

Located in the Timucuan Preserve along the St. Johns river, it’s free to visit the fort, along with free parking. If you want even more nature after visiting the fort, you can explore the nature preserve (although be sure to bring the mosquito repellant!).

It only took me about an hour or two to explore and read everything at the fort so it’s a good spot to learn a bit about the local history and then go on a nature hike to get some exercise.

Unfortunately, I would say that it’s not very disability-accessible like via wheelchair or otherwise, but it’d be a great place for kids to run around.

If you’re new to the area or just visiting, this is a good spot to explore for a few hours (and it’s free!)!


Thank you for reading! Have you ever been to Fort Caroline? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!




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