This Amelia Island Park is Favored For Fishing
Bordering the Nassau Sound and Atlantic Ocean (2 miles of shoreline), Amelia Island State Park is an ideal place for fishing, not for swimming. Park hours are from 8 a.m until sundown. Entry fee at Amelia Island State Park is $2 per person (exact amount required).
Amelia Island State Park is not locally governed. It’s part of the Florida Park System so falls under state jurisdiction. Covering the southern tip of Amelia Island in the northeast region of the Sunshine State, NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED ON THE BEACH within this state park.
No Lifeguards At Amelia Island State Park
Note that other beach parks on Amelia Island — the beach properties of Nassau County and city of Fernandina Beach — offer free beach access and are more suitable for beach goers seeking to swim or wade in the water. Upon entering Amelia Island State Park, 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. (The park’s bathroom is located at entry to George Crady Fishing Bridge).
Much of the park’s shoreline is closed off during bird nesting season (see map further below). According to the state park, “The beaches at Amelia Island State Park may be closed for nesting birds in the critical wildlife area. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
Florida’s beaches are widely utilized as recreational areas, one of the main attractions of the Sunshine State. Yet, the beach is the natural habitat and nesting grounds for various species of birds and sea turtles. Interrupting the natural behavior of wildlife can impact feeding and reproduction and be detrimental to the species’ long-term existence.
Daily Visitor Limits At Amelia Island State Park
Note there are daily visitor limits at Amelia Island State Park. Some may arrive to find the entry gate closed. Capacity allowed at any one time is 300 people. The park will close to visitors when cap is reached. After it’s determined that around 150 have left the park, it will reopen to allow more inside. But no more than 600 total people can enter per day.
George Crady Fishing Bridge
Amelia Island State Park includes the George Crady Bridge Fishing Bridge/Pier that spans the Nassau Sound, with restroom facility at bridge. The fishing bridge is open from 8 a.m. until sunset. This mile-long bridge across the Nassau Sound formerly allowed the public to cross over to Big Talbot Island. However, a past hurricane damaged the south section of bridge and roadway. Fencing blocks the public from accessing the full length of the bridge. The entry to this pedestrian fishing bridge offers a shop, “On The Line Bait & Tackle” with window service (questions — call the bait shop at 904-624-7293.) Many people fishing opt instead to cast directly from the beach along the Nassau Sound or along the Atlantic Coast shoreline within Amelia Island State Park.
To access Amelia Island State Park’s Atlantic coast beachfront (located a further distance away from the park’s pedestrian beach entrance pictured above on the Nassau Sound), most visitors arrive in 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Otherwise it’s a long walk carrying beach and fishing gear to reach the Atlantic Ocean beachfront.
Great Florida Birding Trail
A location on the Great Florida Birding Trail, Amelia Island State Park is designated a “Critical Wildlife Area,” (CWA) and is a nesting ground for least terns and Wilson’s plover. Thus, a large area is off limits to the public seasonally — March 1st to Sept. 1st.
Always use caution when in the park and avoid clearly marked bird nesting areas. However, birds don’t know barriers and may cross sandy driving lanes. Please do watch carefully for baby birds and parents chasing after chicks. For further information about Amelia Island State Park call the Park Ranger station at (904)251-2320. Also learn more about coastal nature and how to “Share The Shore With Wildlife.”
Spoonbill Pond, Big Talbot Island
An excellent bird watching area is just across the Nassau Sound bridge from Amelia Island State Park. Spoonbill Pond (pictured above, see related article), offers a wooden walkway at water’s edge around the pond and bird watching platform.
Amelia Island State Park is home to a horse ranch concessionaire offering daily horseback riding on the beach. Kelly Seahorse Ranch is located at the park’s entrance.
The Seven Talbot Islands State Parks
Amelia Island State Park is 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: Amelia Island State Park, Big Talbot Island, Little Talbot Island, Fort George Island, Yellow Bluff Fort, Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve, and the George Crady Fishing Bridge Pier. Questions? Call ranger station at 904-251-2320.