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Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville

4.4
#7 of 21 in Parks in Jacksonville
Nature / Park
Fort Caroline was one of the first French colonies in the present-day United States, located on the banks of the St. Johns River in what is now Jacksonville, Florida. It was established under the leadership of René Goulaine de Laudonnière on June 22, 1564, as a new territorial claim in French Florida and a safe haven for Huguenots. The French settlement came into conflict with the Spanish, who established St. Augustine in September 1565, and Fort Caroline was sacked by Spanish troops under Pedro Menéndez de Avilés on September 20. The Spanish continued to occupy the site as San Mateo until 1569.The exact location where the fort once stood is unknown. In 1953 the National Park Service established the Fort Caroline National Memorial along the southern bank of the St. John's River near the point that commemorates Laudonnière's first landing. This is generally accepted by scholars as being in the vicinity of the original fort, though probably not the exact location. The memorial is now managed as a part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve although it remains a distinct National Park Service entity.HistoryCharlesfort (1562)A French expedition, organized by Protestant leader Admiral Gaspard de Coligny and led by the French Explorer Jean Ribault, had landed at the site on the May River (now the St. Johns River) in February 1562, where Ribault encountered the Timucuans who were led by Chief Saturiwa. Ribault then traveled to present-day South Carolina and with twenty-eight men built a settlement known as Charlesfort. Ribault then returned to Europe to arrange supplies for the new colony, but was briefly imprisoned in England on suspicion of spying as a result of the French Wars of Religion, which prevented his return to Florida.
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Where to stay in Jacksonville

Accommodations are spread out across Jacksonville and mainly consist of large hotels. For a more scenic stay, consider a hotel on the riverfront or the coast. Beachside accommodations provide the added benefit of being in a much quieter and slower-paced part of the city, but you are farther away from the majority of the city's cultural attractions. If you are planning a longer stay, consider a vacation rental with a kitchen to help ease food costs. These rentals are frequently located in residential neighborhoods.
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4.6
  • Took my kids here they have a small museum and a reconstruction of the fort. There is also hiking where you can see a good deal of different trees and foliage and also some wild life. The fort is by t...  more »
  • ...give Ft Caroline a look-see. It's free and while there's not a lot to the fort, it's a great location and easy nature walks. Sit on the dock and watch the ships go by with dolphins racing along in ...  more »
  • If you are a passport collector this is a great quick stop. The fort is a great replica as well as providing a history of French exploration. Nice one mile nature trail as well  more »
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  • Nice quiet well maintained. They have a little visitors center with a brief history of the fort and a small gift shop. 15 minutes or so. Beautiful view of the river and a short 5-10 minute walk to the fort via a dirt trail from the visitors center. They allow dogs, so next time I will take mine. They lock the gates promptly at 5 and come looking for you at 4:30. You'll be considered an intruder if you get there anytime after 4. Get there early and enjoy a couple of hours walking around
  • Brought a group of kids, and apparently they don't like it, the old man inside, is nothing but a big grump, and dont even ask to plug your phone in, in case of a emergency. He has 4 unused plugs, but will tell you they are all full. I thought the tax payers paid the light bill? He should be removed, if anyone is to feel welcome, he'll make a comment about you, behind your back. Thank you Fort Caroline National park. Apparently its NOT worth saving, to be treated so nasty.
  • Spent about 2 hours here. There's a simple small exhibit, the fort and a 1mi hike. Spolier alert!! The Spanish pond trails are right across the street, perfect for jogging.
  • What a lovely place. I took my kids here to go for a hike and they absolutely loved it and so did I. The fort little forth there was a great place for my son to go look around and explore. And the trails were amazing what a wonderful day to be spent by all.
  • As a replica of the original, the current fort doesn't completely show the history, but it is definitely sufficient. A nearby museum houses many interesting artifacts as well.