Amelia Island State Park, part of the Florida Park System, covers the southern tip of Amelia Island in the northeast region of the Sunshine State. This park is a favored area for shore fishermen to cast off the beach. Bordering the Nassau Sound and Atlantic Ocean (2 miles of shoreline), the park is an ideal place for fishing and nature observation, but not for swimming. Amelia Island State Park is adjacent to the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier that spans the Nassau Sound, another popular spot to fish on Amelia’s southend (with a restroom facility at bridge).
Note that other beach parks on Amelia Island — the beach properties of Nassau County and city of Fernandina Beach— offer free admission beach access and are more suitable for beachgoers seeking to swim or wade in the water. Upon entering Amelia Island State Park (the cost is $2 per person), visitors will see the sign at the beach entrance, warning of dangerous currents. Beware there are no lifeguard towers in Amelia Island State Park and no restrooms along the beachfront. Plus, there is limited access to this park’s beachfront without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Also, areas are off limits during bird nesting season (see more below).
GREAT FLORIDA BIRDING TRAIL
Much of Amelia Island State Park is designated a “Critical Wildlife Area,” and is a nesting ground for Least Terns, and a site on the “Great Florida Birding Trail.” Note that areas of Amelia Island State Park are off limits during bird nesting season (“closure dates April 1- Sept. 1st”). Please use caution when in the park and avoid clearly marked bird nesting areas. However, birds don’t know barriers and often cross the sandy driving lanes. Please do watch carefully for baby birds and their parents chasing after chicks.
Another excellent bird watching area is just across the Nassau Sound bridge from Amelia Island State Park, Spoonbill Pond (pictured above), offering a wooden walkway at water’s edge around the pond and bird watching platform.
Learn more about coastal nature and how to “Share The Shore With Wildlife.” For further information about Amelia Island State Park call (904)251-2320.
Horseback Riding on the Beach
Amelia Island State Park is home to a horse ranch concessionaire offering daily horseback riding on the beach at water’s edge. Kelly Seahorse Ranch is located at the park’s entrance (cost for one hour ride is $75 per adult).
Amelia Island State Park (A.I.S.P.) is actually one of seven Florida State Parks in the northeast corner of the Sunshine State, collectively called “The Talbot Islands State Parks.” The seven parks in this group are: A.I.S.P, Little Talbot Island, Big Talbot Island, Fort George Island, Yellow Bluff Fort, Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve, and the George Crady Fishing Pier.