Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island
Experience Living History at this pre-Civil War Fort and State Park on the North End of Amelia Island.
Located at the northern tip of Amelia Island, where Cumberland Sound and the Saint Marys River meet the Atlantic. The park is the site of Fort Clinch, a pre-Civil War fort. Construction of the existing fort was started in 1847. The park encompasses 1,121 acres on the north end of Amelia Island.
A part of the park system since 1935, Fort Clinch is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts in the country. Although no battles were fought here, it was garrisoned during both the Civil and Spanish-American wars. During the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps began preserving and rebuilding many of the structures of the abandoned fort.
Activities at the park include living history programs, Civil War reenactments, campfire programs, guided walks, fishing, swimming, and camping. Visitors also enjoy the nature trails, coastal hammock, dunes, and salt water marsh.
Daily tours with period reenactors depicting garrison life bring the fort to life for visitors. Sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing are popular activities at the beach. Anglers can fish from the pier or take advantage of excellent surf fishing. Hikers and bicyclists can enjoy a six-mile trail through the park. Self-guided nature trails provide opportunities to learn about and observe native plants and wildlife. A full-facility campground and a youth camping area provide overnight accommodations.
View map of Fort Clinch State Park »
2601 Atlantic Avenue
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034
At over 1,400 acres, Fort Clinch State Park is situated on Florida's northernmost barrier island, Amelia Island. The park provides exceptional recreational activities immersed among beautiful natural communities, as well as wildlife viewing, historic attractions and unparalleled living history interpretive programs.
The park's three-mile shoreline offers a wide variety of family-friendly recreational activities including swimming, fishing, sunbathing and wildlife viewing. Shelling and shark-tooth hunting are popular activities near the jetty and along the St. Mary's Inlet. We have 69 campsites and a large group camping facility that offers a unique overnight experience in the Real Florida! Enjoy miles of bicycling on the historic oak-canopy drive, or for the more adventurous, hiking and biking the six-mile off-road multi-use trail. The Park offers a guided nature walk at the Willow Pond Nature Trail every Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
Visit historic Fort Clinch and step back to the year 1864, as soldiers reenact life during the Civil War. Explore the many rooms, galleries and grounds of the fort as you learn how the soldiers worked and lived each day. Today, park staff provide living history interpretations of the life of a Union soldier, a 1st New York Volunteer Engineer, who garrisoned the fort during the Civil War. The Fort is open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. An additional $2.50 per person Fort Entry Fee is required. On the first weekend of every month, the Park holds a garrison of many soldiers who demonstrate skills such as carpentry, masonry, cooking, blacksmithing, small arms demonstrations and cannon firing as well as interpreting the use of many of the buildings such as the quartermaster, infirmary and jailhouse. For a complete listing of scheduled fort events, please visit our park events page.
Maritime hammocks, with large Spanish moss-draped live oaks, are prevalent throughout the park and provide a beautiful backdrop while exploring the park. Coastal grasslands meet these hammocks and stretch along the shore behind dunes on the Atlantic Ocean and Cumberland Sound. These unique communities provide refuge to a wide variety of wildlife including gopher tortoises, deer, raccoons, bobcats and numerous species of birds and reptiles including American alligator and painted buntings which are frequently seen at the park.
Willow Pond Trail winds around a series of freshwater ponds that offer prime habitat for alligators and turtles. Egan's Creek Marsh borders the west boundary of the park, providing a saltwater estuary for an abundance of marine life. The salt marsh offers scenic vistas and views of many species of wading birds while the beaches provide a critical foraging and nesting habitat for colonial shorebirds and sea turtles. Please respect posted areas and share the shore with our wildlife!
History of Fort Clinch, Amelia Island, Florida
Fort Clinch was named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, a veteran of the Seminole and Mexican wars. Construction of the fort on Amelia Island began in 1847. By 1861, the fort still was not finished. Although incomplete, Fort Clinch was occupied in the summer of 1861 by Confederate troops. By December, 1,524 troops were stationed there.
The Union military command realized the importance of Fernandina to the Confederacy as a supply base. The Confederacy did not think they could defend the fort. In 1862, Robert E. Lee ordered Fernandina and Fort Clinch evacuated.
A Union flotilla of 28 gunboats appeared as the last Confederate train was leaving. Fort Clinch became the first Union fortress restored to Federal control. In 1869, all troops left Fort Clinch.
In 1898, Fort Clinch was again used at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Volunteer soldiers were camped at Fort Clinch.
Though occupied, the fort was never completed. In 1935, it became part of the Florida Park System. It is one of the oldest parks in the system. It has sandy white beaches, campsites, nature trails, a fishing pier, and a state museum.