San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park


148 Old Fort Road,
St. Marks, FL 32355








9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Thursday - Monday


No fee park,
$2 per person
museum admission

PLAN YOUR VISIT: About this Park
The many different flags flying over San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park welcome visitors to the park and demonstrate the colorful history of this site, from the Spanish explorers to the present day. The history of this National Landmark dates back to 1528 when Panfilo de Narvaez arrived in the area with 300 men; however, the first fort was not built until 1679. Andrew Jackson occupied the fort for a brief time in the early 1800s. The US Navy started building a Marine Hospital in the early 1850's to treat sailors with yellow fever. During the American Civil War, Confederates took control of the Fort and renamed it Fort Ward.

For 100 years after the end of the Civil War, the San Marcos de Apalache fort site was in private ownership, accessible only by boat, and overgrown by vegetation. In the 1960s, Florida bought the land to turn it into the San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park. They filled in part of the marsh that separated it from the mainland and built a road, parking lot, museum, and public amenities for visitors. The park museum sits on top of the Marine hospital and the original stone foundation is still visible. Beyond the park infrastructure, only the stone ruins of the third Spanish fort and remnants of the Confederate earthworks are visible on the natural landscape of San Marcos. The site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, and is also a National Engineering Landmark, and a National Historic Landmark.

A recreation area is available featuring picnic tables and barbecue grills. Tucker’s Point offers a scenic view at the water’s edge where the St. Marks River joins the Wakulla River and flows out into Apalache Bay. The point is an excellent spot for fishing. Species commonly caught at this unique spot where fresh and salt water come together include redfish, speckled trout, sheepshead and even largemouth bass.

  The museum at San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park houses displays, programs and artifacts to allow visitors to experience the past. Exhibits include Native American pottery and tools unearthed near the original fort site. The museum was built in the 1960s atop the foundation of the Civil War-era Marine Hospital, which was constructed from materials from the original Spanish fort. Interpretive displays explain the history of the San Marcos site. An 18-minute video recounts the days of the Spanish, English, American and Confederate forces that once occupied this site. The video does a great job of tying all the periods of the fort together. A self-guided interpretive hiking trail is also open to visitors.      

page information credit: Florida State Parks, National Park Service, Wikipedia, Florida Memory Project, Florida Nature Coast
photos from the sources listed above, as well as publicly posted online sites with thanks to the contributors