Fort Mose Historic State Park

An enthralling mix of history and the great outdoors awaits at Fort Mose Historic State Park. The site of a free-slave settlement from the 1700s, Fort Mose works to preserve the history that unfolded on its land as well as its natural beauty.

A short drive from our incredible St. Augustine rentals, the park is a slice of Florida history you won’t want to miss. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or a family with kids looking for a unique experience that exposes a little-known slice of history, this historic site is a treat for locals and visitors to St. Augustine, Florida, alike.

Fort Mose Historic State Park

Fort Mose Historic State Park in St. Augustine, FL, will open your eyes to a difficult period hundreds of years ago.

Open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the grounds are free for all to visit. The visitor center, which has detailed information, exhibits, and knowledgeable rangers to guide your learning, has a $2 fee, and children under 6 are free.


A sanctuary for Africans seeking freedom from slavery in the Carolinas and Georgia, Fort Mose housed an estimated 100 people over more than two decades. They bought their freedom by declaring allegiance to the king of Spain and becoming members of the Catholic Church. The community grew, drawing cultural influences from Native American, Spanish, and English practices.

The site, recognized as the first stop on the Underground Railroad that helped enslaved people get to freedom in the North and Canada, was established by the Spanish governor of Florida as Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose for people fleeing slavery and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994 for its significance in United States history.

First Saturday

Once a month, the Fort Mose militia offers demonstrations of 18th-century defense techniques, practicing firing drills and teaching new members to safely use old weapons. After watching a squad fire muskets, kids can suit up in period uniform accessories and participate in militia training with wooden toy muskets. It’s both fun and educational, offering an interactive way to learn about an important time and place in American history.

The demonstrations take place on the first Saturday of each month in the morning. The demonstrations are weather-dependent, so if there’s rain in the forecast be sure to call the museum or check online to confirm the program is running.


How many of Fort Mose Historic State Park’s 107 bird species can you spot? Nature lovers will enjoy the challenge of looking for the dozens of species that call the park, part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, home. 

marsh wren

St. Augustine, Florida, is home to a diverse range of bird species due to its varied ecosystems, including coastal areas, marshes, and woodlands. Some of the birds you might find in the wild in St. Augustine include the brown pelican, great egret, snowy egret, osprey, and much more.

Birdwatching in this region can be particularly rewarding due to the variety of habitats and the presence of both resident and migratory bird species.

Designated by the National Audubon Society as an important area for birds, this state park is a haven for birds like the wood stork, which inhabit marshy areas as they travel along the east coast of Florida breeding in colonies. Other travelers, migrating birds, also use Fort Mose as a resting place as they travel up and down the coast in spring and fall. 

Whether you’re a novice bird enthusiast or seeking the insights of a local expert, partake in our monthly guided bird walks. These engaging programs are open to all, with no cost to participate. For independent explorers, don’t hesitate to approach a knowledgeable park ranger for a handy birding checklist. Elevate the excitement by transforming your birding experience into a captivating scavenger hunt suitable for the entire family. Join us on a journey of avian discovery, where every winged encounter becomes a shared adventure.

Things To Do

There’s no shortage of things to do at Fort Mose Historic State Park.

Try your hand at geo-caching, a 21st-century scavenger hunt for all ages. Geocachers have hidden trinkets and treasures around the park  — it’s up to you to find them! If you prefer surf over turf, head to the floating canoe and kayak launch and paddle Robinson Creek, which connects to the Tolomato River, a 17-mile body of water that runs the length of the coast from north of St. Augustine, eventually meeting the Intracoastal Waterway.

Fort Mose Historic State Park is a great place to see wildlife, in particular shorebirds and birds of prey. Grab a birding checklist and binoculars, and hit the trails. Be sure to ask the ranger for the best tips, tricks, and places to see birds in their natural habitat, and keep an eye out for all kinds of animals that call this region home.

We also recommend taking a guided tour of the historic site, including the museum and grounds. One of our expert guides will take you back hundreds of years to a time when Black slaves sought — and, ultimately, won — their emancipation. 

Plan Your Visit

Ready to visit Fort Mose State Park for yourself? Book your St. Augustine condo rental with the Ocean Gallery and let the adventure begin!

Fort Mose Historic State Park Trails

Consider starting your day in the visitor center museum for a film that will give you an overview of the site’s history, and browse exhibits of artifacts and maps. Audio tours are also available. Then, head down the park’s main boardwalk for an interpretive exhibit featuring accessible signage to learn more about Fort Mose and its significance.

Several short walking trails offer views of the Tolomato River estuary and views of the island where the settlement was originally located. These trails offer different views of the historic site, saltwater marshes, and rivers that make up this state park. Take the 700-foot boardwalk that winds through a salt marsh for some of the best bird-watching in the park.

All trails in the park are short and rated easy for many ages and abilities. Kids will enjoy looking at the local Flora and Fauna while burning off some of their excess energy. Some paths are wheelchair-accessible, and others are not. Leashed pets are welcome on the grounds, but service animals only are allowed inside the visitor center.

Stay With The Ocean Gallery

Looking for the perfect St. Augustine rental to rest your head at night after a long day of excitement? Look no further than The Ocean Gallery Resort! Our St. Augustine resort is a hub of activity, with activities right on site, as well as close proximity to many of the top St. Augustine attractions.

Our St. Augustine condo rentals range from one to four bedrooms, cozy enough for a romantic escape and spacious enough for multiple generations or a group of friends. Start your trip off on the right foot with our amenity-rich accommodations that offer comfort, luxury, and convenience in the heart of St. Augustine tourism. You’ll also delight in sampling local cuisine at some of the best restaurants in St. Augustine just a short distance from the resort.

Book your stay with The Ocean Gallery today for an unforgettable St. Augustine getaway.