The popular Fort Clinch State Park is located near the northernmost point of Amelia Island. The park on the side of Amelia River is spread across 1100 acres. The area includes 19th century Fort Clinch, estuarine, sand dunes, plains, a maritime hammock, and tidal marsh. The park and fort are on the northeastern side of popular Fernandina Beach (which is north of Jacksonville Florida), close to the entry point of Cumberland Sound.
The brick fortress Fort Clinch was built in 1847 after the end of the Second Seminole War. The amazing outdoor space is named to honor an important General of the first and second Seminole wars – Duncan Lamont Clinch. After the Union forces withdrew from Florida in 1861, Confederate troops occupied the fort that was still under construction. The Confederate troops withdrew after one year once they realized their services are needed more at other places. The region came under the control of Union forces without firing a single shot. The construction of the fort was started immediately by the Union forces. The construction continued until the end of the war.
Florida State in 1935 acquired 256 acres of land here. The land included this fort and the surrounding area. The fort and park were opened in 1938 to the public. Visitors coming to Fort Clinch State Park have various recreational activity options. You can go for wildlife viewing, pier fishing, sunbathing, boating, hiking, surfcasting, birding, hiking, shelling, bicycle riding, beachcombing, swimming, picnicking, and many others. Several prominent wildlife species can be seen in the park. Some of them include unique bird species, white-tailed deer, dolphins, manatees, rare purple sandpiper, and alligators.
The park offers several amenities to visitors. These features include changing rooms, restrooms, a cold shower at a 0.5-mile pier, several miles of clean beaches, an information center for guests, paved roads stretching 3.3 miles (5.3 km), and a hiking trail spread across 6 miles (10 km). There are two campgrounds in the park. The first one is located at Atlantic Beach while another is along the Amelia River. The campground on the riverside has a shower and restrooms with a hot water facility for 41 campsites in Oak Hammock. One campsite located on Atlantic Beach comes with one hot water shower amenity for 21 campsites. All of them feature a ramp boardwalk. You will enjoy both primitive and youth camping at the park.
Military re-encampments are another popular feature at this State Park. Every month's first weekend sees some thrilling performance by costumed interpreters who re-enact the life of a soldier during the Civil War in 1864 at Fort Clinch. During this time, you will enjoy activities like military drills. You get to work at the fort's kitchen, infirmary, laundry, barracks, quartermaster, carpenter shop, and US Sanitary Commission.
Another interesting park in the Jacksonville area is Huguenot Park.