Timucuan Historic Preserve, Fort Caroline Memorial, & Ribault Monument
We took a quick weekend trip to Jacksonville and stopped by this park. It’s been years since I lived in North Florida and I had since forgotten how much Spanish moss they have down there!
The Timucuan Preserve encompasses a huge area and there are several different “parts” to this preserve. We visited the park near the Fort Caroline National Memorial; though, sand dunes, plantations, and beautiful natural areas of the park exist as well. We’d love to check them all out one day.
We stopped at the Visitors Center closest to Fort Caroline. Fort Caroline was only accessible via foot and was about a 1/2 mile walk from the Visitors Center. The rangers told us to make sure to keep our eyes on the water because dolphin, manatee, and sea otters had all been spotted there. I hoped we’d get to see some sea life, but thought our chances of seeing some were slim. I was wrong! Sure enough, there were a few dolphin playing a few hundred feet from the shore! They played there for at least 15 minutes jumping in and out of the water and flipping over on their bellies. It was a lot of fun to watch and was definitely my highlight at this park!
As for Fort Caroline itself, it exists as a reminder of the short time that the French had a presence in Florida back in the 16th century. A “room” with a grass floor, wooden walls, and a large door exists and marks what we think must have been the location of an actual fort. Wooden steps that allow visitors the opportunity to peer over the wall and into the water exists and is one of the places along this path that you could look for sea life.
After visiting the fort, we got in our car and drove approximately one mile to St. Johns Bluff to the Ribault Monument. The Ribault Monument is located atop St. Johns Bluff and overlooks the St. Johns River. For someone who is not much of a history buff, the views from the monument were more exciting to me than the monument itself. It overlooked some beautiful homes and water. Supposedly on a clear day, visitors are able to see a naval base in the distance. According to the Park’s literature, this monument exists to commemorate the landing of Jean Ribault near the mouth of St. Johns River in 1562. Apparently Ribault erected a stone column there and claimed Florida for France at that time. Due to various reasons, the actual monument has been moved several times, but has been in its current location since 1958.
National Park Service website: http://www.nps.gov/foca/
Posted May 28th, 2011 at 10:00 AM by Janet in Southeast