You can hop on a National Park Service ferry to go to Fort Matanzas National Monument almost any day of the year, weather permitting. But you can only go there at night twice a year during the fort’s annual Torchlight Tours.

The tours traditionally take place in January and February, and are scheduled this year for Saturday, January 18 and Saturday February 15.

Four tours are scheduled for each date – to leave at 6 p.m.; 6:45 p.m.; 7:30 p.m.; and 8:15 p.m. at the fort office/ferry dock at 8635 A1A South, St. Augustine. The cost is $7 per person, with children age 3 and under free.

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Matanzas 1 b
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The fort has no electricity, so is lit with torches and candles for the events.

In January, rangers and volunteer tour guides will portray Spanish soldiers from the 1740’s, and in February they’ll portray British Navy sailors from the 1770’s.

They will also fire the fort’s canons, which in the dark “looks really cool,” said National Park Service volunteer coordinator Jill Leverett.

She said the tours are capped at 32 people each, and “are definitely popular,” so it’s best to call to reserve tickets, at 904-471-0116.