Fort Clinch State Park Reopens For Active Recreation

Fort Clinch State Park reopened May 13, 2020 “for active recreation only.” Enjoy riding bicycles, walking along the beach, hiking trails, jogging, swimming and fishing.

Amelia Island’s Largest Natural Area
Windswept Sand, Fort Clinch Near Jetty May 13, 2020
Windswept Sand, Fort Clinch Near Jetty (5-13-2020)
Fort Clinch Reopened For Active Recreation

It was a gorgeous, picture-perfect day to walk around the coastline here on Amelia Island within this wonderful state park, the largest natural area remaining on this northeast Florida barrier island.

The beaches looked windswept at Fort Clinch State Park this morning, May 13, 2020. Florida’s Governor had shut down the Sunshine State’s parks nearly eight weeks ago, amid the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Cumberland Sound Shoreline, Fort Clinch State Park May 13, 2020
Fort Clinch State Park 5-13-2020

Coastal scenes here are around the outer walls of the historic fortress along the Cumberland Sound (western inlet). Plus some images around the jetty (where the fishing pier once stood, removed after Hurricane Matthew).

Where Pier Once Stood, Fort Clinch
Where Fishing Pier Once Stood, Fort Clinch

Several fishermen, in a few spots, cast lines from the shoreline, while a handful of others walked along the beachfront near the jetty.

Gone Fishing, Fort Clinch May 13, 2020. Photo by
Gone Fishing, Fort Clinch May 13, 2020
Open For Active Recreation

New signage in place on May 13, 2020 near the pier walkway entrance indicates the shoreline is open for “walking, jogging, swimming and fishing.” But not for sunbathing (“no chairs, canopies or coolers”), see sign with more guidelines pictured below.

Fort Clinch Reopens For Active Recreation Only May 13, 2020
New Signs At Fort Clinch May 13, 2020
Follow Social Distancing Guidelines

According to Florida State Parks’ website:

“Effective Wednesday, May 13, 2020: Fort Clinch State Park is open for day use activities. The concession is closed. Restroom availability may be limited, all other park facilities are closed. Visitors are expected to maintain distances of at least six feet apart and limit group size to ten or fewer people,”


Both the riverfront and oceanfront campgrounds remain closed. Florida State Parks’ website indicates the park system’s campgrounds remain closed through May 20, 2020. (* NEWS UPDATE * — Fort Clinch campgrounds have reopened as of May 21, 2020.)

During the morning on this “soft opening” day (not announced in advance), the park was serene and virtually empty. Those who ventured in were spread out around the large park of 1,400-plus acres. Along the park’s tree canopy-covered road, there were about a dozen or so on bicycles, pedaling through the park, along the 3-mile drive (from entrance to the northern area where Fort Clinch Visitor’s Center sits).

At The Jetty. Fort Clinch Reopens For Active Recreation Only May 13, 2020.
Fort Clinch Jetty, Opening Day May 13, 2020
Visitor’s Center & Fort Tours

Note the Visitor’s Center (where people pay to tour the historic fortress, circa 1847), remained closed on May 13th (see the signs posted on the doors below.) * UPDATE * — The Visitor’s Center and the historic fortress reopened on Friday, May 15, 2020.

Visitor's Center Closed At Fort Clinch May 13, 2020
Visitor’s Center Closed,Fort Clinch 5-13-2020

A COVID-19 notice was posted on the bathroom door along the walkway to the jetty (where fishing pier used to be). “Limit public restroom use — return home when possible,” is the first bullet point (see more below).

COVID-19 Notice Fort Clinch State Park Bathroom
COVID-19 Notice, Fort Clinch State Park Bathroom Door

Fort Clinch State Park opens at 8 am. Note that currently, daily capacity limits will close the gate early (before sundown), if necessary, to prevent overcrowding (following social distancing guidelines).

According to the Florida State Parks’ website, the following information below was updated during the afternoon on Wed., May 13, 2020:

Fort Clinch State Park Limited Visitation

“To protect public health and safety, Florida State Parks campgrounds remain CLOSED through May 20… DEP (Department of Environmental Protection), continues to re-open Florida State Parks for day use as part of Phase one to re-open Florida. As these parks are re-opening, DEP will be taking measures to ensure the protection of staff and the public. During this early phase of re-opening, visitors should expect limited hours, capacity and amenities. Portions of these parks and trails have been identified that can be reopened for day-use with limited risk to visitors and staff. To reduce risk, cash transactions are limited to exact change.”

More Information

Check the Florida State Parks’ website for potential updates (since the status of state parks can fluctuate during the continuing Coronavirus pandemic). To call the Fort Clinch State Park ranger station, the phone number is 904-277-7274.

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