Report for Fun at Amelia Island’s Fort Clinch
Home to one of the nation’s best-preserved 19th century forts and a breathtaking natural playground, Fort Clinch State Park on northeast Florida’s Amelia Island is a fortress of fun for history buffs and outdoor adventurers alike.
Perched on the north end of the island, Fort Clinch was named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch. Construction began in 1847 and continued during the Civil War, but was never completed. Occupied by Confederate forces when the war began in 1861, the fort was taken by federal troops just one year later. With a battery of cannons lining its massive walls, Fort Clinch is now manned by an army of soldiers and other Civil War period characters who faithfully reenact garrison life during daily tours.
The first weekend of each month, the fort offers a Union Garrison, complete with artillery demonstrations, marching drills, and a look into laundry, infirmary and kitchen duty. The park hosts additional activities throughout the year, including nature walks, candlelight viewings and tours of the fort and campfire programs. Special events are also held to honor the Spanish American War, World War II and more.
Thanks to its stunning natural scenery, the park is a favorite option for sunbathing, swimming, beachcombing and other outdoor fun. Hikers and off-road cyclists love exploring the six-mile trail through the park, with views of some of the biggest sand dunes in Florida. There are also 3.3 miles of paved roads in the park for biking and other wheeled activity. Self-guided nature trails provide opportunities to learn about and observe native plants and wildlife.
Anglers love Fort Clinch State Park, too, where they can fish the Amelia River, Cumberland Sound or the half-mile long fishing pier dividing the Sound and Atlantic Ocean, reeling in Blue Marlin, Tuna, Cobia, King Mackerel, Grouper, Red Snapper and many other Florida favorites. The park holds a free fishing clinic for kids every year.
The park offers a picnic area with free-standing grills and picnic tables, a playground for kids and two full-facility campgrounds and a youth camping area. And Fort Clinch State Park even has hidden treasure – one of nine geocaches in the Florida State Parks Civilian Conservation Corps Geotrail. For more information about Fort Clinch State Park and Amelia Island, visit www.ameliaisland.com.