LOCATION: St. Augustine

Fort Mose Historic State Park

Fort Mose Historic State Park
  • 15 Fort Mose Trail
  • St. Augustine, Florida 32084
  • Local Phone: 904-823-2232
  • Fax: 904-823-2233

A 40-acre waterfront historic site, Fort Mose Historic State Park is the site of the first legally sanctioned free African settlement in what is now the United States. In 1738, the Spanish governor of Florida chartered the settlement of Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose, or Fort Mose, as a settlement for those fleeing slavery from the English colonies in the Carolinas.

The only stipulation for gaining their freedom was that they had to declare their allegiance to the king of Spain and become members of the Catholic Church. It is estimated that 100 Africans made Fort Mose their new home. What is particularly interesting is that the residents created a sort of new cultural community, pulling from Native American, Spanish and English cultural customs.

Although there are no remains of the earth and wooden structures from the early settlement, visitors can stroll along the boardwalk over the marsh to view the land where the settlement once stood and learn more from an interactive museum that tells the complete story of that first settlement. Fort Mose has been recognized for its national significance in commemorating the history of the United States. In 1994, the site was designated as a National Historic Landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The park offers picnic areas, observation and birding boardwalk, kayak launch boardwalk, a visitor center and museum. Visitors interested in birding will enjoy ample viewing opportunities for species such as the Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle and White Ibis.

Visitors can explore the park in a new and challenging way. Experienced Geocachers have requested permission to hide caches containing trinkets, treasures, or information in various places around the park. Please check the Geocaching website for the most current and up-to-date information and clues to locate these little treasures as you enjoy the park.