Part of our in-depth series exploring Southern Early American Forts
2601 Atlantic Avenue
Fernandina Beach, FL
The site of Fort Clinch on Amelia Island at the entrance to the St. Marys River and Cumberland Sound has been occupied by various military troops since 1736. Construction of the existing fort was begun in 1847 as part of the Third American System building program, which also included Fort Pulaski further up the coast in Georgia. A pentagonal brick fort with both inner and outer walls, Fort Clinch was a safe haven for blockade runners during the Civil War. Briefly occupied by Confederate forces, its recapture by Federal troops in early 1862 gave the Union control of the adjacent Georgia and Florida coasts. The fort was used in 1898 during the Spanish-American War, but was abandoned until the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC) restored it in the 1930s. A Florida State Park, Fort Clinch is interpreted as the base of Union operations in the area throughout the Civil War.
8 a.m. till sunset, seven days a week
In Fernandina Beach, Off A1A
No public transportation
Fees, Costs, Rates
$3.25 per vehicle, up to eight people per vehicle. Camping-$12.00-$17.00 (seasonal)
Facilities and Opportunities
Major pre-Civil War fort; coastal hammock; dunes; salt water marsh; beach; camping; fishing pier and restroom building.
Nature trails, beach and dune walks
Living history programs and reenactments/encampments; campfire programs/guided walks
Lodging and Camping
62 campsites near the Amelia River.
Outside park gate and nearby in Fernandina.
Recommended Activities/Park Use
See the fort-talk to civil war reenactors. Beach access.
Some campsites by reservation
Basic Visit Recommendations
One of Florida's oldest, most charming state parks. Go prepared to spend at least one full day in the area.
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