One of Georgia's and America's most historically rich regions, settled in the heart of St Simon's Islands, with serene surroundings and an extensive list of recreational and cultural events, Fort Frederica National Monument is a dream destination for history lovers. The Fort has a unique history; built in 1736 by James Oglethorpe to protect southern Georgia from Spain, the Spanish forces were successfully thwarted and the archaeological remains of the fort have become the park's main attraction, having been listed as a National Monument in 1966.
Today, people travelling to St Simon's are encouraged to visit the fort which has immortalized the efforts of the hundreds of soldiers that protected the region nearly 300 years ago. There are many ways for visitors to immerse themselves in the region's culture. Once you get to the park, your first stop will be the Visitor's Center where you can watch a 23-minute documentary about the fort's history and the impact the battle had on Georgia. You can pick up a park brochure on your way out and explore the rest of the park on foot. Visitors can choose to participate in ranger-guided tours where experts educate you on some of the region's highlights.
The ranger tours take visitors through the ruins while educating them on some of the military strategies used by Oglethorpe and his soldiers. You can also participate in a short 15 minute trip to Bloody Marsh Battleground Site and visit the memorial marker. Visitors can also download an audio guide of the park on the mobile device or visit the library at the Visitor's Center to read some material on the fort's history. The park remains open all year except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. There is no accommodation option at the park, but there are camping options nearby for visitors who want to visit the fort the next day.
Ford Federica is a gated park. The park gates are easily accessible off Frederica road in St Simon's. Roads leading to the gates are well paved and roadways in the park are paved and vehicle-friendly as well. The park is easy to navigate and brochures available at the Visitor's Center provide you with information on driving and transportation, with park rangers also on hand to provide help to visitors.
Golden Isles Campground is a 160 site campground in Brunswick, Gerorgia, relatively close to Fort Frederica. The sites are pet friendly and offer sewer, electricity and water hookup. There is also WiFi at the campground with a bathhouse and flush toilets. Laundry facilities are available at the campground with hiking trails and a swimming area nearby. An amphitheatre and sports center is also closeby.
Like most other parks nationwide, Fort Federica offers a Junior Ranger Program. The program is aimed at teaching young kids the importance of the National Park System and wildlife conservation. The park's award-winning Junior Ranger program is sponsored by the Fort Federica Association and is open for children aged 8-12.
The park also sponsors a Junior Archaeologist Program and a Junior Ranger Underwater Explorer Program. There are also several other parent-child activities available at the resort.
The Blood Marsh Unit is one of Ford Frederica's main attractions. The site of the battle between Oglethorpe's soldiers and the Spanish troops has been attracting tourist for almost three centuries. The site isn't located at the park, but is situated six miles away on Old Demere Road, St Simon's Island.
The marsh is mostly developed now but still has some battle markings, information panels and a monument commemorating the battle. Ranger guided tours to this area enable visitors learn more about Oglethorpe's troops and some of their battle strategies during the conflict.
Picnicking is another way to enjoy the serene surroundings of Fort Frederica. The park has a designated picnic area behind the Visitor's center with seven picnic tables. The area is neat and well maintained, with four plastic tables and five wooden tables available.
There is also a small picnic area at Bloody Marsh Memorial Unit with three picnic tables. Unlike at the main area, the picnic area at Bloody Marsh is close to the parking lot, making it a lot easier to carry food and supplies from the car to the picnic table. All tables are taken on a first come, first served basis.
The Visitor's Center is the nearest building to the parking lot and the first place every visitor should go when visiting the fort. The Visitor's Center has a theater where a short documentary on the park's history is shown to visitors. ' Fort Frederica: History Uncovered' is a 23 minute film based on the region's history and the events of the battle and its aftermath.
The Visitor's Center also has an exhibit area where costumes and ancient artifacts are displayed for visitors to see. There is also a ranger-staffed information desk where you can get a park brochure, a restroom, and a small library.
Once you leave the Visitor's Center, depending on the time of the day, you can take part in the daily ranger guided tour of the region, where staff take you to the fort and explain some of the things you might have seen in the movie.
The ranger will take you through the ruins and to the Blood Marsh Unit which was the battleground. History buffs will love the ranger tours as it give visitors an expert's view and understanding of the events, history and archaeology of Fort Frederica.
Fort Frederica might not have the diverse bird-friendly landscape of most parks, but Georgia remains a bird haven and many species have found their way to the serene surroundings of the fort. Some of them can be spotted near the lake or on trees while you hike.