Located on Amelia Island--the northernmost barrier island in Florida--is the 1,400-acre state park, Fort Clinch. This park is not only an excellent place to go to enjoy coastal waters, hiking adventures, and abundant wildlife, but it’s also popular for its historical significance. This fort played an important role during the Civil War, serving as the place where soldiers stayed, lived, and trained. Watch reenactments and learn what life was like for the soldiers back in 1864 and completely immerse yourself in that time period--what better way is there to learn about our nation’s history? The best part is you can go any time you want, as the Fort remains open 365 days a year.
When you visit in an RV, you’ll also get to experience all the nature and wildlife that this park has to offer. And, with Florida’s warm and sunny climate, this is the perfect place for any beach lover. In fact, there are three miles of beautiful Florida shoreline, all made available to you. You’ll also have access to different kinds of off-road and multi-use trails. There are lots of recreational activities to choose from and plenty to discover when you bring your RV for a camping trip to Fort Clinch State Park.
Getting around the park is easy--you likely won’t have to worry about getting yourself in trouble navigating with your RV. You may find it more convenient though to get your RV settled at a campsite first and take your personal vehicle anywhere else that you choose to go. This way, you won’t have to worry about lugging that giant rig around. Located on Fernandina Beach, the park is hard to miss. You can get easy directions there using a GPS system.
There are plenty of parking options throughout the park. Atlantic Beach parking has 250 parking spots, the Visitor Center has about 150, and near the Visitor Center at the East and West parking inlets, there are even more parking options available. Each parking lot provides access to popular areas of the park, but if there’s not enough room for your RV at one parking lot, there are plenty of others that will.
Amelia River Campground is located along St. Mary’s River on the northern side of the park, giving each campsite a great view of the river. There are 42 sites to choose from here. Some of them are for tent camping only, while others are available for RVs. You can check for the specifics and requirements online and make reservations up to 11 months out from your trip. You’ll also have many of the same amenities that Atlantic Beach Campground offers, such as access to a dump station, laundry facilities, and air-conditioned bathrooms in the warmer months. The oak trees at this campground even offer some shade from the heat, making it a great place to spend the summer. With Florida’s warm, tropical climate, you could even visit during the off-season and still get the full enjoyment of it all.
Atlantic Beach Campground has 21 RV sites for you to choose from. Located on the northeastern edge of the park, you’ll have complete access to the shoreline and coastal waters while also being surrounded by dramatic sand dunes. This is a great place to bathe in the warm sunshine, and you’ll also have access to everything you could need during your stay here. You’ll find 30 and 50 amp hookups for your RV, along with a fire ring, a picnic table, and potable water at each RV site. You’ll even be close to a dump station, laundry facilities, and brand new accessible heated showers and bathrooms. With this kind of camping quality, you can be sure that the 21 RV spots will fill up quickly. That’s why you can make reservations up to 11 months in advance. You can reserve specific campsites online so that you can be sure to get the perfect one. This park has so much to offer, and RV camping here is a great way to experience it all.
There are currently no first-come, first-serve camping options available inside Fort Clinch State Park.
If you don’t happen to find everything you need and want at either Atlantic Beach Campground or Amelia River Campground, you can find some other options around as long as you’re willing to head outside of town to get there. Once you leave Fernandina, you’ll be able to find privately owned RV parks and campgrounds that are sure to suit your keeping you close enough to enjoy all that Fort Clinch State Park has to offer.
If you choose to visit the beach during the off-season, there will be fewer crowds so it can feel like you have the beach all to yourself. You can expect the weather to be a bit cooler, but never too cold with Florida being close to the equator. You’ll still get to enjoy many of the usual beach activities, without having to deal with all the people.
Every Saturday evening from November through April, the park rangers host these campfire programs at the Amelia River Amphitheater. This can be a really fun way to spend the evening and is entertaining for all ages. Topics can vary widely and range from animals and wildlife to camping tips and life in Florida.
The Fort Clinch Museum is located near the Visitor Center and is free for all of those who wish to check it out. It’s also where you’ll find the entrance to the fort itself. Available year-round, the museum is a great part of the park to visit any time. Here you’ll see various historical displays of weapons used, uniforms and gear that was worn, letters from the soldiers, and many other important and interesting artifacts.
The six-mile long trail located at the park is also available to cyclists. Park at the Visitor Center, unload, and ride off from there. Just be sure to watch out for hikers, as you’ll be sharing the path with them. This is a great way to exercise and enjoy the fresh air. Stay safe by wearing a helmet, as the trail can be challenging.
There is a six-mile long trail available to those who are looking for a hiking challenge. You can also check out the Willow Pond Hiking Trail that takes you around a series of pretty freshwater ponds. You might even get to see alligators, deer, and birds here. If you’re looking for something shorter, there is a quarter mile long trail that can be accessed from the west inlet parking area. The beach is also always available for a stroll.
Let your kids roam free for a bit by letting them loose at the playground. You can relax while your kids get to release some wild energy. During the peak season, they might even get to make a few friends, and what better way to spend a summer is there than with new friends?
Bring some great food and great company for a good time at one of the picnic areas in the park. The picnic area at the Visitor Center even has a playground that the kids can play at and has grills for you to cook on. Enjoy a nice meal under the shade of the oak trees here and look out at the sand dunes and maritime hammock areas. There’s a picnic area near the main boardwalk as well.
When you combine technology with nature, you get loads of fun with this new take on the traditional scavenger hunting game. You’ll use GPS tracking and coordinates and your own exploration skills to find all the caches you’ll be looking for. This is a great way to get those who seem glued to their phones out in nature without actually having to put their phones down.
Florida’s tropical climate, marshes, and beaches make this state park abundant in different kinds of wildlife. Many people come here to go bird watching, but you’ll also get to see a lot just by looking down at your feet when standing in the sand. You might even get to see sea turtles and dolphins out in the ocean if you’re lucky.
Fort Clinch is packed with history. Take a day to look around and you’ll find five bastions, enlisted men’s barracks, a prison, guard rooms, storehouses, bakery, kitchens, blacksmith’s shop, lumber sheds, the hospital, and galleries. You can truly get to see what it was like to be a soldier stationed here.