Open daily. Free admission. Leashed pets welcome.
See below: full visitor information
Fort Frederica National Monument preserves the remnants of the Colonial-era fort and townsite of Frederica, established on St Simons Island by James Oglethorpe, Georgia’s founder, in 1736 as an outpost intended to defend the colony’s southern coast from rival territorial claims by the Spanish.
The town of Frederica – named, along with the fort, for Frederick, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of Georgia’s namesake, the British monarch King George II – arose to serve the needs of the soldiers at the fort. At its peak, there were several hundred soldiers stationed at Frederica, and as many as 1000 people living in the fortified town.
The troops stationed at the St Simons Island fort successfully defended the territory against the Spanish. Two small-scale battles, of Bloody Marsh and Gully Hole Creek, were fought (on the same day) as part of the wider War of Jenkins’ Ear; the Spanish were soon after repelled entirely from the island.
Shortly after the declaration of peace, the British disbanded the garrison at Fort Frederica. The loss of the soldiers was a heavy blow to the fortunes of the town of Frederica. A major fire a decade later reinforced its decline, and only a few years later the town was almost completely deserted.
Little of the fort and settlement at Frederica remains, but what survives – the layout of the town’s streets and foundations of its buildings, plus portions of the barracks and the semi-intact King’s Magazine – suffices to create an impression of how it might have been.
Informational signs explain what is known about the town’s former structures, the people who lived there and the trades they once practiced. A recreated colonial kitchen garden displays historical plant specimens and medicinal herbs.
The nearly 300-acre grounds of the National Monument, situated alongside the Frederica River with views of the neighboring marshes, are themselves very beautiful, with moss-hung live oaks and pecan trees throughout.
Self-guided tours of the fort and town site are always available. There are also daily historical programs; contact the park staff for details of times and program availability for the day you plan to visit.
An informative film about the history of Fort Frederica is shown every 30 minutes, 9am-4:30pm. A small museum displays some of the archaeological artifacts discovered at the Fort Frederica site, plus a model of the town and fort as they appeared in the 18th century.
The 1742 Battle of Bloody Marsh was a victory for the British colonizers. Though the name invokes a battle on broad scale, the conflict in fact was very small, with only a handful of soldiers fighting on each side.
Today, the site of the Battle of Bloody Marsh is a peaceful area of forest-rimmed wetland, with scenic views and a simple monument and marker to commemorate the historical event that took place there.
For some historical context, visit the fort, town ruins and visitor center at the main site first (please note that the Bloody Marsh Site closes one hour earlier than the main site and Visitor Center).
A stop of a few minutes is all you will need to take in what there is to see here; unless you are particularly interested in visiting historical battle locations, this site works best as a stop-off point alongside a visit to the rest of the National Monument, rather than as an attraction in its own right.
Occasional events and special historical programs are held at Fort Frederica National Monument. See the official calendar for details of upcoming events.
The following is correct at the time of writing. Please verify details before planning your trip. For additional information, call 912-638-3630 or visit the official website.
Opening hours Open daily. Fort Frederica and Visitor Center, 9am-5pm. Bloody Marsh Unit, 8:30am-4pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Days.
Admission Admission is free.
Pets Leashed pets are welcome, but they are not permitted in the Visitors Center, or in or on any of the historic structures.
Refreshments Drink machines only. There are no proper picnic facilities on site, but picnicking is allowed near the parking lot.
Fort and town site 6515 Frederica Road, St Simons Island, GA 31522
GPS coordinates N 31.223090, W -081.389122
Bloody Marsh Site 11806 Old Demere Road, St Simons Island, GA 31522
GPS coordinates N 31.156628, W -081.380510
GPS systems may not have the latest information for getting to the Bloody Marsh Site. See this page for more details.
Fort Frederica National Monument is located on the western side of St Simons Island, roughly half way down the Georgia coast. Access to the island is across Torras Causeway, out of Brunswick. See on map
The Bloody Marsh Site, also on St Simons Island, is 6 miles away from the main site, about 15 minutes by car. See on map
Visiting Fort Frederica is a more practical prospect if you are staying in the more southerly parts of coastal Georgia; if you are based around Savannah or Tybee Island, plan on around an hour and a half to 2 hours or so travel time each way.