Florida State Parks announced Friday evening, March 20, 2020 a growing list of beach park closures, including two parks located on Amelia Island (see list below).
Following the Governor’s direction and CDC guidance, state beach parks are being closed “as crowds continue to gather in large groups along the beaches of Florida,” according to Florida State Parks.
Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island’s north end, and Amelia Island State Park on the south end, will be closed starting March 21, 2020.
With new COVID-19 restrictions, getting into Fort Clinch had already required getting there early, before noon. An attempted visit to Fort Clinch State Park on Thursday, March 19th found the park’s entry gate closed. The sign posted stated “Park is closed to daily visitation due to COVID-19. ” When speaking to the Fort Clinch ranger station on Friday, March 20th, the park had again shut the gate early, reaching the COVID-19 reduced daily capacity limit by around 11:30 a.m. (and 10:30 a.m. the previous day).
Nearby barrier islands, Big Talbot and Little Talbot, located just off Amelia Island’s south end, will be closed as well. When speaking to the ranger’s station at Little Talbot Island State Park on Friday, March 20th, they had also closed early, having reached their daily capacity limits in the morning around 11 a.m. (on both Thursday and Friday). The limit on Friday was “around 100” vehicles entering. This limit had changed overnight, being reduced by half from previous day.
See the list below of park closings, as tweeted by Florida State Parks on March 20, 2020:
Cumberland Island, GA
Just off Amelia’s north end, Georgia’s, Cumberland Island National Seashore, is now even emptier than usual. Only reachable by boat, the daily ferry service from St. Marys to Cumberland Island was suspended beginning March 18, 2020 “until further notice,” according to the National Park Service.
“The mainland visitor center and museum, Sea Camp ranger station, Plum Orchard and all campgrounds” closed as of March 18, 2020 (news shared on Cumberland Island National Seashore’s Facebook page and the NPS website). Cumberland Island tours, programs and activities were also cancelled. This includes the cancellation of camping reservations through April 15, 2020.
Private Boaters Can Day Trip To Cumberland Island
However, Cumberland Island National Seashore remains open (at this writing) for daytime visitors with private boats (but not charter boats). According to the National Park Service, mariners “may visit the island via private boat (not charter) until dusk. No overnight stays at this time,” a message shared on the park’s Facebook Page on March 17, 2020. For continued updates on the park’s status, follow Cumberland Island National Seashore on Facebook. Or call Cumberland Island National Seashore’s park office at 912-882-4336 x254 (from 8 AM to 4 PM) .