The next stop was a nature preserve and Fort Matanzas, which guarded the back channel to St. Augustine; you needed to take a ferry to the fort, but the ferry was out of service – you could just see the fort from the dock though. There were a number of fine paths leading from the small visitor’s center, and picnic areas around the parking lot to enjoy under the thick canopy of trees.
With that, and the drive along the barrier island, we returned to the highway to drive to Lake Helen to meet up with one of our cousins for a mini family reunion. Lake Helen itself is a tiny town with one gas station, one restaurant dubbed “The Three Sisters” and a number of other buildings spread out across an otherwise unremarkable flat field like area dotted with trees. Very picturesque, but with nothing of note. But we had a great time catching up under the shelter of a picnic area at an after-school children’s play area.