Fort Clinch State Park
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — Walk over a drawbridge and through a brick tunnel to travel back in time to the year 1864 at this Civil War-era fortress in Fernandina Beach.
Fort Clinch is a third system fortification that can be toured daily. Located in a Florida State Park on Amelia Island, visitors to Fort Clinch have the rare opportunity to see one of America’s most well-preserved 19th-century fortresses in a fabulous beachfront setting.
When visiting northeast Florida, Fort Clinch State Park is a must-see attraction! This park has it all, from an interactive history experience to wonderful natural setting for nature lovers (gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail), and beautiful Atlantic coast beach. It’s a vast state park with extensive shoreline along both the Amelia River (watch shrimp boats pass by, see gorgeous sunsets over the river), and coastline along Atlantic Ocean.
Fort Clinch also offers riverfront and oceanfront campgrounds, all within the boundaries of the park covering over 1,400 acres. The scenery is fantastic with panoramic waterfront views, extensive sand dunes, tree canopy offering shade in hot summer months, and the historic gem itself, the vintage fort.
Fort Clinch Union Garrison, Featured Monthly Event
Watch history come alive at this northeast Florida State Park. Special living history weekends are held the first weekend each month (Saturday from 9 am until 5 pm, and Sunday from 9 am until noon). During these monthly events the fort is bustling with reenactors portraying soldier life as it was in the year 1864. Fort volunteers offer a first-person interpretation of life inside the brick walls by portraying soldiers and workers stationed at Fort Clinch during the Civil-War era. Historians often take up duty in the infirmary, blacksmith shop, jail, laundry, and kitchen. Activities that can often be observed include black powder artillery demonstrations and marching drills. A special evening candlelight tour of Fort Clinch is also held the first weekend Saturday night each month.
Fort Clinch was built in 1847 at the mouth of the St. Mary’s River for protection of Fernandina Harbor’s deep water port. The fort was a military post during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War II. From the park’s entrance, it’s a 3-mile drive through shady, wild tree canopy to reach the brick fortress that’s perched on the Cumberland Sound (offering a spectacular waterfront view from the fort’s outer walls). Stand beside cannons and imagine what life was like here during another era of American history.
Besides touring the fort daily, the park is an ideal place to spend time outdoors hiking and biking on trails, fishing, and beachcombing. Weather permitting, Fort Clinch offers a guided nature walk along a trail every Saturday morning at 10:30 am. The park’s tent and RV campsites can be booked through Reserve America online.
The park also offers public restrooms, wooden dune walkovers to the beach, picnic areas with tables, barbecues and bicycles are available for rent. At just $6 a vehicle at the front gate (2 to 8 people or $4 for a single driver) to enter the park (plus $2.50 per person if you wish to tour the fort itself), this is one of the best bargains in Florida for a day-vacation.
Fort Clinch State Park is located at 2601 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach. Call Fort Clinch State Park at 904-277-7274 for more information. CLICK HERE TO WATCH FORT CLINCH STATE PARK VIDEO TOUR and see more photos.
While visiting, please “share the shore with wildlife,” learn more about coastal nature and tips for beachgoers.