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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.