Amelia Island State Park

* STATE PARK NEWS UPDATE * Amelia Island State Park’s status amid COVID-19 pandemic — As of May 4, 2020, Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, has reopened Amelia Island State Park, but with limited hours and restricted activities. See latest article, “Amelia Island State Park Opening May 4, 2020,” for further details.

Favored For Fishing

Amelia Island State Park, part of the Florida Park System, covers the southern tip of Amelia Island in the northeast region of the Sunshine State. NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED ON THE BEACH.

This park is a favored area for shore fishermen to cast off the beach and the adjacent fishing bridge. Bordering the Nassau Sound and Atlantic Ocean (2 miles of shoreline), the park is an ideal place for fishing and bird observation, but not for swimming. Amelia Island State Park is next to the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier that spans the Nassau Sound, another popular spot to fish (restroom facility at bridge).

No Lifeguards

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 (the cost is $2 per person), 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.

There is limited access to areas of this park’s beachfront without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle (it would be a very long walk).

Photo Amelia Island State Park, Florida
Amelia Island State Park Shoreline

Also, much of the park is closed off during bird nesting season (see map below). Nightime shoreline access is prohibited from April 1 through October 31st (sea turtle nesting season).  However, fishing at night is permitted from the adjacent George Crady Fishing Bridge.

George Crady Fishing Bridge, Nassau Sound. Photo by Amelia Island Living magazine.
George Crady Fishing Bridge at sunset.

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 seasonally — March 1st to Sept. 1st.

Shorebird Nesting Seasonal Closure Map Amelia Island State Park, Florida State Parks
Shorebird Nesting, Seasonal Closure Map, Amelia Island (Courtesy of Florida State Parks)

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. Remember, no dogs are allowed on the beach. For further information about Amelia Island State Park call the Park Ranger station at (904)251-2320.

Learn more about coastal nature and how to “Share The Shore With Wildlife.”

Spoonbill Pond, Nassau Sound
Spoonbill Pond at Amelia Island’s southern doorstep

An 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.

Horseback Riding

Ride Horses On The Beach. Amelia Island State Park (Kelly Seahorse Ranch)
Ride Horses On The Beach (Kelly Seahorse Ranch)

Amelia Island State Park is home to a horse ranch concessionaire offering daily horseback riding on the beach at water’s edge. Kelly Seahorse Ranch is located at the park’s entrance.

Amelia Island State Park (Ranger Station phone 904-251-2320), 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.