Fort Matanzas National Monument and Faver Dykes State Park


This tiny fort played an important role in protecting St. Augustine.

Fort Matanzas National Monument
8635 A1A S, St. Augustine, FL 32080

Our trip was a short 90-minute drive from Orlando, a visit to Princess Place Preserve, overnight camping at Faver Dykes State Park Campground, early fishing in Pellicer Creek, late breakfast at the amazing Ragga Surf Cafe, ferry boat to Fort Matanzas National Monument, and tour, a late lunch at Safe Harbor Seafood and 90-minute drive home.

First on our list was a visit to the Princess Place Preserve. Here we can see how Princess Angela lived in style back in the day, including the oldest in-ground swimming pool, which happens to be spring fed. This would be how she survived the summer heat!

The home on an expensive estuary of the Pellicer Creek is constructed of beautiful pink coquina shell block and unfinished tree-trunk columns. You can peer through wavy glass windows into the furnished antique bedrooms, kitchen and dining rooms. Tours are only at 2:00pm on the weekends. Princess Place is really an equestrian destination with cabins and camp sites to rent. It is a Flagler County Park.

We got into Faver Dykes Campground just before dark and only had time for a short hike/tour before dark. The campgrounds were very nice, as part of a hardwood forest. The bathrooms were clean and each site was near perfect, with 30/50 amp service plus water.
The location is about 20 minutes south of St. Augustine.

In the Morning Matt went fishing and while chatting with Eric, another fisherman, John from the National Park Service stopped by and briefed us on what you could and could not catch. He was nice and very informative, and just when he said you could only keep Red Fish between 18 and 27", Eric caught the first of 5 small Red Fish. John had just told us that they had just released 2000 Red Fish at the mouth of the river and these hungry little fish were eating everything in sight. Eric showed us how to tie a few knots and gave us a bunch of great fishing tips.

Next, we were off for coffee and a bite to eat at the Ragga Surf Cafe. First of all, the drive to get there has some of the most amazing water and beach that you will ever see. The Raga Surf Cafe was a hip-cool open air cafe next door to Marineland directly on the beach. There were two VW busses converted into a gift shop and ice cream stand. The kitchen for the cafe was a blue schoolie bus that had done a tour of duty as an RV until the owners got pregnant and wanted more space that they could get in a proper Fifth wheel. We had a Ragamuffin (pumpkin spice grilled and served with homemade icing and a wooden fork. Matt got the Dawn Patrol and we shared hot and cold lattes.

For the main attraction of the trip, it was off to Fort Matanzas. The ferry ride is free but you need tickets. It is a tiny fort and nearly 300 years old, good fun and the Matanzas River is amazing.

Finally, before heading home we stopped into the Safe Harbor Seafood restaurant for lunch. We had been to their seafood distribution facility in Mayport Florida and the restaurant was equally impressive in food quality and service.

All for now. We will be back!