Fort Caroline National Memorial | PARK AT A GLANCE

Fort Caroline exhibit at Fort Caroline National Memorial

Fort Caroline exhibit at Fort Caroline National Memorial


Fort Caroline National Memorial marks the general location of the first French settlement in what is now the United States. The exact location is no longer known, which is why the park is designated as a “Memorial” and not a “Historic Site.” In the 450 years since the settlement was established (June 1564), man and nature have eroded and reshaped the land, and the Fort Caroline site is now thought to be somewhere at the bottom of the St. Johns River. French presence was short lived, for just over a year after arriving in Florida the fort was sacked and nearly all settlers were massacred by the Spanish headquartered at St. Augustine.

While Fort Caroline National Memorial is its own entity, it now lies within the boundaries of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, which was created in 1988 and is part of the National Park system. Most people, including the National Park Service employees, make no distinction between the two. Fort Caroline National Memorial opened in 1953 and includes a reproduction of Fort Caroline, the Hammock Trail, the Spanish Pond Trail, and the land on which the Ribault Monument is situated.

An adjoining parcel of land known as the Theodore Roosevelt Area was acquired by the National Park Service for the Timucuan Preserve in 1990. It was originally donated to the Nature Conservancy in 1969 by Willie Brown. Two hiking trails can be found in this area, and the Spanish Pond Trail connects the two parks together.


The grounds of Fort Caroline National Memorial are open Wednesday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. The park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The entrance gate is locked at closing time, so be sure to have your car out of the parking lot.

The Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve Visitor Center, which serves both the Preserve and Fort Caroline National Memorial, is located within the gated area and is thus open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM as well.

The trailhead for the Spanish Pond Trail is outside of the gates and can be accessed from sunrise to sunset every day. The adjoining Theodore Roosevelt Area hiking trails are also open at these times. This is part of the Timucuan Preserve.

The Ribault Monument is located down the street from Fort Caroline National Memorial and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 AM to 4:45 PM.

All times are subject to change, so before making travel plans be sure to check the official Fort Caroline National Memorial’s Operating Hours and Seasons web page for the latest schedule.


There are no fees to visit Fort Caroline National Memorial.


Visitor Center
Allow up to 1 hour

Fort Caroline Exhibit
Allow 45 minutes

Hiking Trails
2 hours worth of hiking

Ribault Monument
Allow 15 minutes

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Last updated on April 14, 2022
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