Amelia Island Restaurant Week: Visiting Fort Clinch State Park

The main road inside Fort Clinch is a beautiful drive

The main road inside Fort Clinch is a beautiful drive

While we were in Fernandina Beach for Amelia Island Restaurant Week, we stopped in to explore Fort Clinch State Park. I did not get a picture of the entrance, but the main road inside the park is a beautiful road, and I stopped frequently to take pictures of the Spanish Moss hanging in the oak trees along the way.  I think I must have at least thirty pictures that look just like that one up there.

South Bastion of Fort Clinch

South Bastion of Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch, an actual working fort during the Civil War, was established in 1842, when the United States government purchased a tract of land on the northern end of Amelia Island at the Florida-Georgia border. The military installation was to be built on the property to guard the mouth of the St. Mary’s River, and protect the interior shipping.

Fabgrandpa entering the fort

Fabgrandpa entering the fort

Construction began on the fort in 1847 and progressed slowly. So slowly, in fact that by 1860 only two bastions and one third of the brick wall was completed. At the beginning of the Civil War in 1861, Confederate militia quietly took over the fort. However, with the Union Army advancing, General Robert E Lee authorized a withdrawal of the area. On March 3, 1862, Union troops took over control of the fort.

Barracls room in one of the buildings inside the fort.

Barracks room in one of the buildings inside the fort.

Fort Clinch was deactivated as a federal facility in 1867. The US Army maintained the property from 1869 until 1898, when the sinking of the USS Maine in the Havana Harbor brought the US into war with Spain, and brought Fort Clinch into action again.

The prison inside the fort.

The prison inside the fort.

That does not look like a comfortable place to be, in chains on dirty brick floor. The prison was in the same building as the barracks above.


Officers quarters

Officers quarters

I love these old buildings. This one reminds me of one of the older classroom buildings on the campus of the University of Alabama where my daughter went to school. I

Me next to one of the cannons

Me next to one of the cannons

Fort Clinch was called into service one last time during World War II, when the Coast Guard, the US Navy, and the US Army joined forces to maintain a surveillance system within the fort.

beautiful sky that day!

beautiful sky that day!

There is a fee of $2.00 per person to tour the fort, but it is well worth it! There is access to nearly all the building, and a volunteer in dressed in the 1848 style of uniform who will talk to you about the history, or give your group a tour.

fort clinch

Fabgrandpa on the trail by the big guns

In addition to the actual fort, there are many hiking trails, bicycle trails, rental bikes, geo cacheing, fishing, picnic areas, and camping areas. There is a pier as well. We didn’t go on the pier because it was a cold day.

Fort Clinch Map

Fort Clinch Map

We did take a drive through the Atlantic Campground, and took a few pictures. There are campsites available for most any size RV, tents, and group camping areas. I have no idea why we never came here with our RV–the campsites look amazing, and have immediate beach access just over the dunes.


RV's camped at Fort Clinch State Park

RV’s camped at Fort Clinch State Park

Fees at Fort Clinch are quite reasonable, with entry fee at $6.00 per car and camping $26 per night includes water and electricity.  For Reservations: Reservations may be made up to 11 months in advance through ReserveAmerica. Book Online or call (800) 326-3521 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) or TDD (888) 433-0287.

The Atlantic Campground. there is also a campground on the Amelia River

The Atlantic Campground. there is also a campground on the Amelia River

We enjoyed our tour of Fort Clinch, and can’t wait for an opportunity to go back when it’s warmer and get some fishing done on the pier.

About Karen

Karen Eidson is telling the world way too much about her, whether they want to know it or not. She writes about her life of living full time in an RV, eating a gluten free diet, things she does for fun, and things that are important to her. She makes you look at photos of her grandchildren, talk about her husband's survival of oral cancer, and shows you things she has made. You know you want to look.


  1. @SensiblySara says:

    History stuff is my thing! I would LOVE to visit this place!!

  2. That looks fabulous. Your pictures are great Karen.

  3. These photos look awesome and really makes me want to visit.

  4. You had wonderful weather! What beautiful pictures!! Sure makes me want to visit 🙂

  5. gabbyhomemaker says:

    Great pics! Your state park is way better than mine LOL Our’s seems so boring and plain now 😛

  6. How fascinating! I had no idea that anything like this was there.

    • My husband and I have always sought out the hidden places to see in every place we have been. You never know what juicy travel tidbit you will find when you just open your eyes and look.

  7. You can tell men were in charge of decorating the quarters. 🙂 – they look a lot like the concentration camps in Germany cells, except about 5 people would be on a bunk, esthetically the same though – depressing, functional…
    Great pics though, you really get a feel for the place!

    • Yes, I was thinking the whole time I was looking at those bunks that it must have been highly uncomfortable. I would have slept on the beach.

  8. Thank you for the photos and the mini history lesson. It is so fascinating.

  9. Looks like you are having an amazing time. Your pictures are telling a great story of your experience!

  10. First of all – ROLL TIDE! Those pictures make me want to go there – like yesterday. I love to visit historical sites.

  11. Looks like you had a beautiful day! The clouds look absolutely amazing.
    Glad you had a great time 🙂

  12. I love historical places like that! I think I’ll have to keep this in mind for when the kids are a little older.

    • Your children would love Amelia Island, I took mine every year for about 8 year. The ocean and beach are so quite there.

  13. Wow so much to learn, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  14. Thank you! I tried to get some good one.

  15. I have been waiting to see how your trip to Amelia Island went! Im so glad you got to visit Fort Clinch (its one of our favorite local places to visit). It looks like you guys really enjoyed it!

  16. I’ve got to put this on my list! Can’t believe I haven’t been there!

  17. This is awesomeness, exactly the kind of place Chris and I would have fun visiting! I love the photos, so pretty!

  18. Gorgeous pictures!

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