May 31, 2022

Get Your Feet Wet… at Fort Caroline National Memorial!

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If you’re curious about outdoor areas in Jacksonville worth exploring, we have plenty of recommendations for you — it all depends on what you’re looking for.

If you’re hoping to experience wildlife and history along the St. Johns River, allow us to introduce you to your new favorite getaway:

Fort Caroline National Memorial.

The History Behind Fort Caroline National Memorial

Part of the Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve, Fort Caroline National Memorial is a park rich in both nature and history.

“Fort Caroline memorializes the short-lived French presence in sixteenth century Florida,” the National Park Service explains. “Here you will find stories of exploration, survival, religious disputes, territorial battles, and first contact between American Indians and Europeans.”

Going back several hundred years, the land was first home to the Timucua Indians, who later aided explorers and settlers from France as they established Fort de la Caroline with the goal of creating a religious refuge.

Spanish conquerors, however, arrived and clashed with the French colonizers. Between this dispute, eventual famine, and soured relations with the local Timucuans, the settlement did not last long.

Today, however, the park retains its original settlement name, nodding to its history.

Ways to Explore Fort Caroline National Memorial

Nestled alongside the St. Johns River, Fort Caroline National Memorial offers “history tours, nature walks, and a Junior Ranger Program,” according to Visit Jacksonville. Admission is free, and the park is open from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. seven days a week.

Additionally, the park hosts the Timucuan Preserve Visitor Center, wherein visitors can attend the “Where the Waters Meet” exhibit to learn more about the surrounding environmental landscape and its relationship with humans.

Those looking to explore the outdoor haven of the park will have access to:

  • Hiking trails that lead through marshes and alongside the beach
  • A 600-acre natural hardwood forest
  • Various educational events, such as historical recreations or “Coffee with a Ranger”

Fort Caroline National Memorial also features a variety of amenities, such as a canoe and kayak launch site, picnic shelters and pavilions, baby changing stations, water stations and more.

About Get Your Feet Wet

Here at St. Johns Riverkeeper, we dare you to get your feet wet!

Get Your Feet Wet is our initiative designed to encourage exploration. By visiting and learning more about our local watershed — which includes the St. Johns River with all of its wildlife, man-made threats, and more — we hope to help you foster love for Florida’s natural spaces.

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to these local habitats or a long-time lover of the St. Johns River — either way, we hope to introduce you to a variety of new locations and activities!

From guided hikes to Tiny Dock Concerts, kayaking, and more, we can’t wait to help you Get Your Feet Wet. To learn more, check out our upcoming events throughout the watershed!