The Spanish completed Fort Matanzas in 1742 to protect Matanzas Inlet, the "backdoor" to St. Augustine. It is today accessible by guided boat tours that focus on the site's role in hostilities between the colonial Spanish, French, and English.
Coastal Florida was a major field of conflict as European nations fought for control in the New World. As part of this struggle, Fort Matanzas guarded St. Augustine’s southern river approach. The colonial wars are over, but the monument is still protecting not just the historic fort, but also the wild barrier island and the plants and animals who survive there amidst a sea of modern development.