Fort Clinch State Park Travel Guide

  • From the fort
    From the fort
    by grandmaR
  • Maritime hammock area
    Maritime hammock area
    by grandmaR
  • picnic area
    picnic area
    by grandmaR

Fort Clinch State Park Things to Do

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo
    picnic area 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Feb 20, 2012

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    When we were here, it was way too cold to swim. These are beaches where you could swim if it was warmer, but don't go alone because there are no lifeguards provided.

    I am told that shell collecting and shark tooth hunting is excellent on the beaches.

    The picnic area with free standing grills and picnic tables is located in a maritime hammock area surrounded by relic dunes and oak trees. There is a playground with swings, slide, and climbing bars available for children to play on.

    The last photo tells about bird habitats. The habitats here include:
    Freshwater Marsh/Wetlands,
    Field/Pasture,
    Hardwoods/Mixed Forest,
    Salt Marsh,
    Beach/Dune,
    Coastal Strand

    This park is a part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. You can do your birding by foot/hiking or by bicycle, Best time of day: Morning.

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    • National/State Park

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    Guns that I see from the river 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Mar 31, 2007

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    I have a lot of pictures of the park from the ICW (photo 2). When I was meeting my sister when she was visiting Amelia Island and had a car in 2003, I thought that I actually had a shot at getting there, but she postponed her trip a day due to my BIL's illness, and it wasn't possible.

    The Florida State Park website says it is one of the oldest parks in their system, dating from 1935. The CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) which was Roosevelt's answer to unemployment in the depression did some of the development for the park. Some of this information is in the CCC Museum at Highlands Hammock State Park.

    We finally got to visit the park and the fort in 2007. One of the great things about the park is the blacksmith re-enactor (photo 3) who is there to talk to you while he does his blacksmithing.

    Hours of Operation
    Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

    Park Fees

    Admission Fee - $5.00 per vehicle (limit 8 people per vehicle).

    Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicles with a holder of an Annual Individual Entrance permit, members of organized groups ? Admission Fee $1.00

    Single Car Occupant - $3.00
    Motorcycle Fee (one or two persons) - $3.00

    Admission fee allows visitors admittance to the beaches, trails, pier, and picnic area.

    Fort Admission Fee - $2.00 per person. Fee paid at the gift shop.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • zrim's Profile Photo
    a perfect spot for quiet contemplation

    by zrim Written Apr 21, 2004

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    Solitude is only a few footsteps away when you set off on the trails. From this vantage point the Amelia River is about half a mile to the west, Cumberland Sound is a quarter mile to the north (and across the sound lies the state of Georgia). The Atlantic Ocean is only a mile to the east. But they might as well be a million miles away and civilization beyond that even. It doesn't take much to make me happy--just a couple hundred meters of thick vegetation to keep the riff raff at bay.

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    • Jungle and Rain Forest
    • Hiking and Walking

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Fort Clinch State Park Shopping

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    Bob entering the visitor's center 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Sep 20, 2010

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    They were doing construction on the Fort when we were there, and the electricity was off in the Visitor's Center which made it a bit dark and I don't think the cash registers worked. The Gift Shop is open from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm daily

    What to buy: The gift shop offers beverages and snacks and also souvenirs

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Fort Clinch State Park Warnings and Dangers

  • zrim's Profile Photo
    Gator Warning

    by zrim Written Apr 21, 2004

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    Alligators seem to have adapted to man. While panthers, turtles and wading birds are endangered by the ever increasing encroachment of their habitats by mankind--alligators are hardly phased. Want to build your house next to an alligator bog, just fine by the gator, he will view your schnauzer and tabby cat as delectable dining options.

    I did not see a gator on this hike, but I half expected to come across a hungry gator at every turn. In actuality, gators hardly ever attack people. But it is still wise to give them a wide berth.

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Fort Clinch State Park Sports & Outdoors

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    Atlantic beach from the fort 4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Fort Clinch is a Florida State Park which is ideally suited for a number of water sports. I've seen kayaking a couple of times in the St. Mary's River (second and fourth pictures), and of course there are white sand beaches for swimming, especially along the Atlantic.

    You can fish along the Amelia River (on the west side of the island- photo 2), along the Cumberland Sound (north side of the island) from finger jetties, or off the half-mile long fishing pier that divides the Cumberland Sound from the Atlantic Ocean. Surf fishing in the Atlantic Ocean is also quite popular.

    Equipment: The Florida Fisheries site will explain whether you need a fishing license and you will need to bring your gear.

    You can also get a $5 permit for night fishing which is only off the long fishing pier. The pier itself may be licensed in that case.

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    4 more images

    by grandmaR Updated Mar 30, 2007

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    I have not been biking in this park. This is information from the FL State Parks site.

    There is a trail system for hikers and off-road bicyclists which includes a 6.5 mile unpaved loop trail. The trail begins at the fort parking lot and is also accessible in several locations along the paved park drive. There are also several miles of beaches along Cumberland Sound with hard packed sand for riding and hiking during low tides.

    The 3.3 miles of paved road in the park offers riding suitable for touring bicycles.

    Another trail is the Willow Pond Hiking Trail which is located centrally along the park drive.

    Fee: Park Admission ($5.00 per vehicle up to 8 people or $1.00 per cyclist)

    Nearby Towns: Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island in Nassau County.

    Equipment: Notes:
    Traffic on the unpaved loop trail is one way for bikers and helmets are required. Hikers may travel in either direction.

    Parts of the trail are heavily forested and traverse ancient dunes that are very steep, offering a challenge to off-road bicyclists and hikers as well.

    Please walk bikes on boardwalks leading to beaches. Biking is not permitted on the pier. Florida laws require helmets to be worn by all children 16 and under when bicycling roads or trails. Children under 18 must be accompanied by parent or guardian while bicycling in the park.

    For more details, visit the park’s web page listed below.

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  • Fort Clinch State Park Hotels

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Fort Clinch State Park Favorites

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    by grandmaR Updated Apr 1, 2007

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    Favorite thing: When we first started to come to Florida by boat photo 2 was our first view coming in the inlet. I was calling the fort Fort Clink after the guy in Hogan's Heros TV show. We've never been able to stay at the marina closer to the fort, and apparently there is no access from the water for a boat our size. It is too far to walk or (for me) to bike to it. We finally got to the fort by land in 2007

    I looked up the history of the fort, which is below. In order to tour the fort, you have to pay a fee to enter the park (where you can hike the trails, fish the pier, camp, look for shells and sharks' teeth, swim in the ocean, and have a picnic, and then pay an additional $2.00 fee for admission to the fort itself.

    Fondest memory: Fort Clinch was named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch. General Clinch was involved in the Seminole War of the 1830s. In 1847 the federal government started construction, and construction continued up to and during the Civil War. Confederate forces occupied it when the war began in 1861, but a withdrawal was ordered by Gen. Robert E. Lee in 1862 amd ot was then occupied by federal troops.

    In the years following the Civil War the garrison was reduced, and eventually it was virtually abandoned until The fort was reactivated in 1898 for several months during the Spanish-American War.

    From the Florida Parks website:

    "In 1935, the state of Florida purchased 256 acres which included the abandoned fort. It was the beginning of a program to acquire adjacent lands and begin development of one of the first and finest state parks in Florida. .. It was formally opened to the public in 1938."

    A lot of the work was done by the CCC.

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    • Fishing
    • Hiking and Walking

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