May 17, 2023 It was another beautiful day, but a bit warmer. We took advantage of the complimentary waffles for breakfast at the campground breakfast bar and made our plans for the day. We drove back over the border into Florida to Fernandina Beach. Our first stop was at Fort Clinch State Park.
Entering the park, we paid the $6 fee and took the beautiful 3-mile Canopy Park Drive formed by huge live oak trees that took us straight to the fort.
The Civil War-era fort is the main attraction in the park which also includes 2 campgrounds, overlooks, hiking trails, a nature walk, swimming, fishing, and bicycle trails.
Construction of the fort began in 1847 on the mouth of the St. Mary’s River. As we entered the Visitor’s Center, we spotted a baby gopher tortoise just hanging out on the sidewalk. He was about the size of a tennis ball.
We paid the modest $2.50 pp entrance fee and entered the museum and the grounds.
We took a slow walk around the fort exploring the different buildings and other vantage points within the fort.
We noticed that the fort was flying the 35-star Great Flag design (in the shape of a star) which was flown in 1863.
We walked up to the parapet to get a closer look at the canons which were never fired in battle, only in training.
From there, we could get a great view of the Cumberland Sound and the beach.
We stopped to look at both campgrounds within the park and visited Egan’s Creek Scenic View. From there, we got a glimpse of the top of the Amelia Island Lighthouse looking from across the salt marsh.
We decided to see if we could get closer to the lighthouse, even though it is located within a residential neighborhood. Bob noticed this small sign posted at the beginning of a short road just off of Lighthouse Dr. and turned in.
At the top of the short road, we found a small Coast Guard station and the Amelia Island Lighthouse.
It was built in 1839 and has a third order Fresnel Lens. It is the oldest, still operational lighthouse in Florida and the westernmost lighthouse on the east coast of the U.S. It is only open on Saturdays for tours, so we enjoyed the view, took a couple of pictures, and left.
We stopped at the Fernandina Harbor Marina where we stayed on our boat at the dock back in 2010. We stood on the dock and watched 2 boats come into the marina for dockage.
We were at low tide and we could see how certain areas of the marina become high and dry at low tide. In checking the tide chart today, the tide swing was 6.5 ft. That’s quite a swing! The area between land on the left and the first dock on the right was mostly dry. You can see the steep angle that the ramp takes when the tide is out.
The area around the marina has grown and many new shops on Center St. in this historic district were added. Many of the beautiful historic homes and buildings are still there.
We left there and got back to the campground around 2:00. We sat outside with Auggie enjoying a glass of wine while watching all the campers arrive. Around 3:30, we heard thunder to the south of us as we saw storms skirt by on the radar. The thunder and a few raindrops never phased Auggie as he searched for geckos and squirrels. The temperature dropped a little and a breeze developed as the storms moved south of us. Bob came to the aid of another camper with a motorhome who had just arrived and was having issues with his slides and outside storage compartments. They finally figured out that his older motorhome needed to be leveled to close the storage compartments, but the owner didn’t know what he was going to do about his slide. He could get the slide out, but it wouldn’t go back in. Bob tried to help him with finding a mobile RV repair guy. We eventually went inside as it started to rain harder around 4:00 and decided to prep for dinner. Strong storms producing a severe thunderstorm warning was issued around 5:00 for the areas to the south of us. It continued to rain lightly during dinner. I took Auggie for a messy walk after dinner when the rain stopped. On our walk, we noticed this very cool tent in the campground. We have never before seen one like it! We hung out watching some TV for the rest of the evening.