Fort San Marcos de Apalache
The collection of colorful flags that greet visitors at the gates of Fort San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park represents the long and varied past of this historically significant site. The recorded history of this National Landmark first began in 1528 when Spanish explorer, Panfilo de Narvaez arrived in search of gold. Likewise, Hernando de Soto followed not long afterward in 1539. The first fort built in 1679, positioned strategically at the point where the St. Marks and Wakulla Rivers come together, was made of wood painted to look like stone. Later an actual stone fort made of quarried limestone would be built. Through the centuries the site at Fort San Marcos would be occupied several times by the Spanish, a short time by the English (1763), by an independent Creek nation of Indians led by William Augustus Bowles for a five brief weeks (1800), by General Andrew Jackson (1818), by United States troops (1821), and finally by Confederate troops (1861).
Today, visitors can take a leisurely self-guided journey along an interpretive trail through park grounds that include remains of Confederate earthworks and powder magazine, Spanish bombproof, bastion wall and moat, and gravesites of American soldiers in a small cemetery. A museum is constructed upon the foundation of the former Marine hospital built to serve victims of yellow fever (1859), and displays exhibits and artifacts unearthed near the original fort. A short entertaining video interprets site history and can be watched on demand in the auditorium.
Tucker’s Point is a quiet spot with benches for a scenic view at the water’s edge where the St. Marks River joins the Wakulla River and flows out into Apalachee Bay.
The historic site and museum located in St. Marks, off S.R. 363, 148 Old Fort Road. Open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Free park admission, small entrance fee to museum. Parking, picnic, nature trail, visitor center, restrooms.
Hours & Details
History & Culture
148 Old Fort Road
St. Marks, Florida