Fort Clinch State Park in Amelia Island, Florida is a great spot to take your kids during your beach vacation. Mix history with gorgeous beaches and biking trails for a day of fun.
When you spend an entire week at the beach for a family vacation, it is nice to break things up with little local adventures. We always scout out the local State parks and historical landmarks to add a little more depth to the trip.
During our visit to Amelia Island, my husband discovered there was a Civil War Era army fort in a beautiful state park not far from where we were staying.
We saved our visit to Fort Clinch State Park for a day that was a bit overcast and we didn't feel like swimming. The weather was dramatic but perfect for our tour!
It was definitely a highlight of our week and good weather or not, I'd strongly encourage you to save a day from your trip to Fernandina Beach or Amelia Island for spending time at Fort Clinch.
Looking for more things to add to your itinerary? Don't miss our favorite things to do in Amelia Island with kids.
Know Before You Go
Fort Clinch State Park is open 8 am to sunset, 365 days a year.
The Fort itself is only open from 9 am to 5 pm daily.
The Visitor Center is open 9 am to 4:30 am daily.
$6 per vehicle hosting 2 - 8 people in one car, $4 for a single-occupant vehicle
$2 fee if you arrive on foot or by bicycle or for additional passengers in a car beyond 8 people
$2.50 per person entrance fee to see the Fort itself
2601 Atlantic Ave.
Fernandina Beach FL 32034
History of Fort Clinch
Fort Clinch was built in 1847 by civilians and the US Army Corp of Engineers. This particular detail was of great interest to my husband since he served in the Corp of Engineers during his time with the army years ago.
This Civil War era fort was one of Florida's first state parks, established in 1935.
Visitors to the Fort can tour historical bastions, guard rooms, a prison, barracks, hospital, kitchens, and a blacksmith's shop, furnished just as they would have been during Union occupation.
Read more about the history of Fort Clinch here.
Things to Do in Fort Clinch State Park
Whether you're a history buff or not, there are so many wonderful things to do during a visit to Fort Clinch State Park:
1. Visit Fort Clinch
Obviously this is a main draw over other state parks in the area.
It's an additional fee to gain admission to the Fort but definitely worth the additional cost just for the views from the top of the bastion walls.
2. Hike or Bike on the Trails
The park has several long and easy trails that would make for a beautiful place for riding your bikes as a family.
You can find a map of the biking trails here.
3. Scenic Drive Thru
I absolutely love the charming Spanish moss that dangles from the live oak trees all over the South.
The road that passes from the entrance of the State Park to the historical Fort Clinch is long and covered with arching trees simply covered in moss.
I made my husband stop the car several times because I couldn't resist taking pictures. It was such a pretty drive!
4. Hunt for Shark Teeth on the Beach
My kiddos were on a mission to find their very own shark teeth during this visit.
When we stopped at the Visitor's Center on our first day, they suggested that the beach at Fort Clinch is one of the top places to find shark teeth in Amelia Island.
The beach wasn't very crowded during our visit, but that may have been partly because of the weather that day.
That said, people all around us kept finding shark teeth and one passers by finally gave my kids some tips on how to spot them. We left with our very first shark teeth from the beach ever. Such fun!