When ambling on the boardwalk at Fort Mose Historic State Park, it's hard to believe the entire property is only 49 acres.
Here, movements between kiosks and interpretative signs are short, and the same goes for watching wildlife. It seems as if every few feet there's something else that catches your interest.
On most days, you'll probably see plenty of wading birds within seconds of stepping on the boardwalk. Great Blue Herons, egrets of all types as well as migrating species call the salt marsh home. But make sure to look for songbirds and woodpeckers in the oaks at the very start.
It's only 700 feet in length, but this walkway provides a lot of opportunity for getting close looks at lots of species in a small space.
The boardwalk concludes with an observation deck overlooking the marsh with hardwood hammocks in the distance, providing a nesting area for herons, Bald Eagles and Wood Storks. Bring binoculars or a spotting scope; these rookeries are a little far off, but a good set of optics will get you up close.
Fort Mose Historic State Park is home to the first legally free African settlement in what is now the United States.
While at the park, make sure to spend some time learning about the settlement in the museum, which does a great job of telling the story of Fort Mose through interactive displays and artifacts. With so much history in the Saint Augustine area, it's easy to overlook Fort Mose, but make sure to add it to your list of places to visit when in the area.
Here's a short video clip of the boardwalk, and for more information visit www.floridastateparks.org/fortmose.