Just a short drive north, (or for fun seekers take theriver ferry from Mayport) you can head to Amelia Island and Fort Clinch State Park. Fort Clinch has hiking trails, a nice beach, a playground and of course, the Fort itself; making it an easy way to spend a full day.
If you plan ahead, try to visit Fort Clinch State Park on the First Saturday of the month as the reenactors are there with their horses to tell you even more about life in the Fort. You can watch them shoot the cannon, put on a horseshoe or cook a meal in the old kitchen.
Our family likes to arrive early to do a short hike. Then grab a picnic lunch by the playground, which is nicer with a soft rubber landing under all the pieces so little ones can run a bit more freely. After lunch we head over to the museum and through to the Fort.
Even though there is a lot of history at the Fort and the views are beautiful, my girls love the “secret passages”, which aren’t so secret, but were passages that the soldiers used to get from place to place without being out in the open. Make sure to wear good shoes as you will walk a lot, and for older kids this is yet another opportunity to earn a badge or stamp as a Florida Junior Ranger.
After you tour the Fort, take a walk over to the beach to let your kiddos play in the sand, put their feet in the water, or hunt for some shark teeth. The water around the Fort is calm, but you can’t swim, so don’t pack a suit. If your family is still up for some adventure we recommend a stop by Blackrock Beach on the way back and see the driftwood or head into downtown to grab dinner at Timotti’s and the BIG pirate ship playground.
From hiking trails, fort exploration, a playground and the beach, Fort Clinch State Park has a little something everyone will enjoy.
Melody is a graduate of Jacksonville University, married a Jax Beach resident, moved away for 12 years, then returned to the area in 2016. Together they have two girls ages 9 & 11. Melody works as owner/photographer of Melody Coarsey Photography, she loves yoga, family, traveling, dining with a view and the ocean.
Aerial Fort Clinch photograph provided by Florida State Parks.