Amelia Island State Park covers the southern tip of Amelia Island in northeast Florida. This wonderful, natural area bordering the Nassau Sound and Atlantic Ocean contains over 200 acres of maritime forest, salt marsh, 2 miles of shoreline, and is an ideal place for nature observation, but not swimming.
Note that other public county and city beach parks on Amelia Island are much more suitable for beachgoers seeking to spend a day at the beach and swim or wade in the water. A Florida State Park open daily all year long, beware there are no lifeguard towers in Amelia Island State Park and no restrooms along the beachfront. This park is a favored area of the island for shore fishermen. There is limited access to this park’s beachfront without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle and large areas are off limits during bird nesting season (see more below).
Horseback Riding on the Beach
Amelia Island State Park is home to a horse ranch concessionaire offering daily horseback riding right on the beach at water’s edge (Kelly Seahorse Ranch is located near the park’s entrance).
GREAT FLORIDA BIRDING TRAILMuch 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 large 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. American Bald Eagles have also been spotted in the park during winter months, read related article. 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.
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).
Tourist Tip, Must-See Fort Clinch
Visitors to Amelia Island can explore a much bigger Florida State Park on the opposite tip of Amelia Island that is more accessible offering lots of amenities. Fort Clinch State Park covers over 1,400 acres on this barrier island’s north end. With restroom facilities along beach walkovers, Fort Clinch also offers picnic tables, biking and hiking trails, bicyle rentals, campgrounds, Civil War-era fortress, a small air-conditioned museum (also watch film explaining history), plus convenient cafe for a bite to eat and beverages, the Live Oak Grill.
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.
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.