National Park Week starts tomorrow, Saturday April 20, which means Historic City News readers have free entry to Florida National Parks. That’s right, free entry to so much Florida history. We are fortunate to have two national monuments and part of a local cultural heritage corridor in St Augustine and St Johns County.
Looking for a walking tour app? “Florida Stories” is a self-guided walking tour app sharing the state’s incredible culture, history and architecture with you, up close and personal. This free app is made available by the Florida Humanities Council. It currently features 20 walking tours.
The Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor is a federal National Heritage Area and it was established by the U.S. Congress to recognize the unique culture of the Gullah Geechee people who have traditionally resided in the coastal areas and the sea islands of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida — from Pender County, North Carolina, to St. Johns County, Florida.
Throughout the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor today there are vibrant and historic Gullah Geechee communities. We encourage you to learn more about the Gullah Geechee people and their unique culture.
LOCAL CULTURAL HERITAGE CORRIDOR
Designated by Congress in 2006, the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor extends from Wilmington, North Carolina in the north to Jacksonville, Florida in the south. It is home to one of America’s most unique cultures, a tradition first shaped by captive Africans brought to the southern United States from West Africa and continued in later generations by their descendants.
LOCAL NATIONAL MONUMENT
Castillo de San Marcos
St. Augustine, FL
A monument not only of stone and mortar but of human determination and endurance, the Castillo de San Marcos symbolizes the clash between cultures which ultimately resulted in our uniquely unified nation. Still resonant with the struggles of an earlier time, these original walls provide tangible evidence of America’s grim but remarkable history.
LOCAL NATIONAL MONUMENT
St. Augustine, FL
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
The freshwaters of the Big Cypress Swamp, essential to the health of the neighboring Everglades, support the rich marine estuaries along Florida’s southwest coast. Protecting over 729,000 acres of this vast swamp, Big Cypress National Preserve contains a mixture of tropical and temperate plant communities that are home to a diversity of wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther.
Miami, Key Biscayne & Homestead, FL
Within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds away, Biscayne protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Here too is evidence of 10,000 years of human history, from pirates and shipwrecks to pineapple farmers and presidents. Outdoors enthusiasts can boat, snorkel, camp, watch wildlife…or simply relax in a rocking chair gazing out over the bay.
Titusville and New Smyrna Beach, FL
Since ancient times, this barrier island has provided sanctuary to both people and wildlife. Many threatened and endangered species find refuge here, including sea turtles who nest on its shores. Like first natives and early settlers, you too can find tranquility. Stroll down a wooded trail. Reflect on a pristine undeveloped shoreline – the way things used to be.
In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto’s army of soldiers, hired mercenaries, craftsmen, and clergy made landfall in Tampa Bay. They were met with fierce resistance of indigenous people protecting their homelands. De Soto’s quest for glory and gold would be a four year, four thousand mile odyssey of intrigue, warfare, disease, and discovery that would form the history of the United States.
Key West, FL
Almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West lies the remote Dry Tortugas National Park. This 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequents the area.
Miami, Naples, and Homestead, FL
Everglades National Park protects an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther. An international treasure as well – a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and a specially protected area under the Cartagena Treaty.
the Timucuan Preserve; Jacksonville, FL
At the settlement of la Caroline, French settlers struggled for survival in a new world. Many sought religious freedom in a new land, while others were soldiers or tradesmen starting a new life. The climactic battles fought here between the French and Spanish marked the first time that European nations fought for control of lands in what is now the United States. It would not be the last time.
Gulf Breeze, Florida and Ocean Springs, Mississippi , FL,MS
What is it that entices people to the sea? Poet John Masefield wrote, “I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied.” Millions of visitors are drawn to the islands in the northern Gulf of Mexico for the white sandy beaches, the aquamarine waters, a boat ride, a camping spot, a tour of an old fort, or a place to fish.
ECOLOGICAL & HISTORIC PRESERVE
Visit one of the last unspoiled coastal wetlands on the Atlantic Coast. Discover 6,000 years of human history and experience the beauty of salt marshes, coastal dunes, and hardwood hammocks. The Timucuan Preserve includes Fort Caroline and Kingsley Plantation. 00000