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Fort Caroline National Memorial, Jacksonville

(4.4/5 based on 200+ reviews on the web)
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • So, Getting there: not very clearly marked. Use your GPS. We even used the GPS and still got a little turned around. But once you figure out where it is, that area is actually easy/simple to get to. T...  more »
  • Great little spot to go get away from it all. Beautiful scenery, and really a peaceful setting. I would go back and visit.  more »
  • We took the short trail back to the fort and walked all around. Not much to it but pretty cool and interesting to learn the history behind it. Did not go in to the visitor center because we had our do...  more »
Google
  • 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.
  • A pleasant place to walk around. Wonderful visitor center. Friendly staff. Fascinating history about the French settlers in Florida. I can see my wife and I visiting this place again. The spanish moss looks beautiful, but will kill the trees. Hope the park rangers know it.
  • Friendly and informative volunteers and rangers do a great job of explaining the importance of Fort Caroline and the Timucuan people. My daughter enjoyed completing the Junior Ranger program, and we liked the short hike to the Fort Caroline re-creation. There are a few worthwhile hiking trails in the area.
  • I often spend my down time walking the trails around Fort Caroline. It's a great place to clear your head and enjoy nature. The rangers are very friendly and it's a great place to spot dolphins and manatee.
  • Very interesting. Off the main roads but google maps found it beautifully. Nice short walk to the fort. Small interesting visitor center.