We were so happy to have a 70-degree day in NE Florida, about as Northeast as you can get actually, to go for what ended up being an 8-mile hike at Fort Clinch State Park. If you’ve never been to this state park let me sum it up for you… Spanish Moss, Live Oak Trees, River On One Side and Atlantic Ocean on the other side. In other words, it is literally a slice of heaven.
Here’s our VLOG for our 4-hour hike and tour of both campgrounds:
How We Roll –When we travel we usually have one jewel to visit at each anchor point of the trip. Our jewel for this anchor point was supposed to be Crooked River State Park in Georgia (<— watch the video here). After spending one day there we drove back across the bridge into Florida to try out another hike at Fort Clinch. We’d heard great things about it but thought the best of the trip was behind us. We were wrong. The best part of the trip and probably the best coastal hike we’ve ever taken was right there at Fort Clinch.
The Drive Into The Park – To be honest the drive into the park to get to the actual fort, which Lynn and I didn’t even get to visit this trip, was pretty enough to warrant the $6 per car entry fee. You drive under what many times appears to be a canopy of live oak trees and spanish moss, with low hanging limbs that are protected by warning signs. Take you time on the drive in and enjoy it.
The Parking Lot – The parking lot is right in front of the visitors center and the entrance to the fort. It closes around 4:30 so if you hike first, like we did, make sure you can make it back to visit the fort before it closes. Otherwise, visit it first and then do the hike… if you’re up for it.
The Hike – The hike is surprisingly hilly for a coastal trail. You walk in one direction and mountain bikes whiz my in the other direction. We had several close calls but managed to not cause anyone to fall or get creamed ourselves. Remember that road you drove on coming in? Well the trail hugs that road… all the way to the park entrance and then you cross the road and, you guessed it, hike back to the visitor center. The day we visited it was 66-70 degrees outside… perfect weather for the hike. We took water and crackers and snacks, as well as our camera equipment. If you hike this in the heat of summer make sure you take A LOT of water. There are no bathrooms or water on the trails so water and the “comfort” from a comfort station are waiting for you back at the visitors center. If at anytime you feel like you can’t make the entire loop just cross the road and you should be able to find the trail heading back. Trust me, you do not want to be 4-5 miles, that seems like 40-50 miles away from the visitor center when mother nature calls. If you find yourself in that predicament, like I did, you will find lots of privacy off the trail with trees for the easy relief and sticks to dig holes for the hard on your old knees relief.
Our Thoughts? Do It Again? Well, yes I think we would. In fact when we return through the area next month we plan to try to stay a few days at one of the sites in the 2 campgrounds. We drove through and documented both campgrounds in the video if you want to see for yourself, but it looks like being on the river or the ocean would be a great choice with lots of water activities.
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