As we said in our last post, we just didn’t have enough time on Amelia Island. After viewing two other forts (Fort Frederica at St. Simons and Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine), we knew we couldn’t leave without seeing Fort Clinch.
Fort Clinch, located within Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach, Florida, had the potential for being “just another fort.” But it wasn’t. Billed as “a historic fort surrounded by alluring beaches,” Fort Clinch deserves a higher billing since “soldiers” make the difference. That’s right. Soldiers. As in people who dress up and perform everyday operations on Fort Garrison Weekends when we, quite by accident, arrived. (See post on the soldier who locked Bert up in “prison”!)
The people made the difference. As they strolled the grounds, chatted with visitors, and explained the functions of various rooms, history came to life.
Named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, Fort Clinch began in 1847, one of a series of masonry forts known as the Third System Fortifications. Its purpose: to protect Fernandina’s natural deep-water port. Although it was never completed, Fort Clinch served as a military post during the Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War II.
But what we liked doing (other than being amused by the tales told to us by the “soldiers”) was just walking the battlements, looking at the architecture and cannons and openings, and pointing out wildlife in the fort’s park-like setting.
The folks at Fort Clinch make it easy for tourists to travel back in time: Hours are 8 AM until sunset, 365 days a year. But if you want to talk to a “soldier” (who may never get out of character) and relive the Civil War experience, be sure to go on a reenactment weekend. It’s a trip!
For more information:
Fort Clinch State Park, 2601 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach, Florida; 904-277-7274; www.floridastateparks.org/park/Fort-Clinch
For more posts in our Coasting series, click here. We hope you enjoy the Georgia and Florida coastal attractions as much as we did!