Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

The Beach at Fort Clinch

October 28-November 2, 2017                                                         Most Recent Posts:
Fort Clinch State Park                                                                      Last Days with Our Girls
Fernandina Beach Florida                                                                  October in Virginia

When we return to Virginia in the fall, we try to make it in October so we can see the beautiful colors on the Blue Ridge.  But this year was a very late fall and by the end of October the color had barely started.   This is really all the color we saw and that was on I 64 on our way south.  We couldn’t stay until the color decided to reach its peak since if you want to be in Florida in the winter you have to have the dreaded reservations.  We are on a schedule.


We did what is now customary for us when we are driving straight from one point to another.  Rather than just wandering around, stopping here and there, which is my preference,  we stop at Walmart in North Carolina and Walmart in  South Carolina on our way to Florida. for the winter.   At both stops I was amazed at the number of RVs.  I wonder how long Walmart will be willing to continue to have a large section of their parking lot taken over by RVs from 5pm to 7am.


Driving through Georgia we decided to give Blue Beacon Truck Wash in Brunswick Georgia a try after a recommendation for the company from Paul Dahl of R Sanity RV Adventures.  Here’s what washing a rig looks like if you aren’t doing it.


Winnona looks shiny clean although I was sorry to hear that this location didn’t do under carriage as I really wanted whatever salt was there to be rinsed off.


Fort Clinch map
We pull into Fort Clinch State Park on October 31st.  The campground nearest the water is called Atlantic Campground though it isn’t really on the Atlantic, but it is on the water. As the map shows, the campground faces the mouth of the St. Mary’s River which is the dividing line between Florida and Georgia.  We’re just over the  line and opposite Cumberland Island , There is a second campground further west nearer to the actual fort.  It is more wooded and called the River Campground.

The Atlantic campground is a wonderfully small loop of 21 sites located equally close to the center bath house and behind the dunes.  At one end of the oval loop is a wooden walkway out to the beach.   Our site has lovely sand dune view.   We pulled in to have the dune out our front window rather than the bathhouse in the center of the loop.   We really appreciate that the park is flexible about which way you pull in.  You do have to have extra hose and electrical extension cords to do this.


Some singers were in the bushes and greeted us with song.



First thing of course is to check out the beach.


Sunshine sparkeling on the water always makes me smile.


This may be the biggest ghost crab I’ve ever seen.  He just stopped and sat.


Being so near the water makes it easier for me to catch the sunrise.   I’m usually up at dawn when the color just begins.




We spent 8 nights here and mostly just chilled by the water.  Having been here before, we’ve toured the fort and nearby Fernandina Beach.  We kept thinking we’d do both again but somehow we just never got around to it.

We did get around to lots of walks on the beach though.


I thought this coquina stone that had washed up looked really beautiful as the waves washed over it.  Coquina is limestone formed almost entirely of fossil debris and most commonly of coarse shells and shell fragments.   It’s fairly common on the east coast of Florida and was used often as a building material in previous centuries.  I find it very beautiful.


I collect shell pictures, rather than the shells themselves.  The color of this knobbed whelk caught my eye against the sand.

One day I decided to walk as far north on the beach as I could.  The beach here is so broad and at least at this time of year there are very few people on it.  You can just see the edge of Cumberland Island National Seashore on the horizon on the right.  


Fort Clinch is right on the water.


Canons trained on the beach.


And all along the exterior walls are these keyhole type windows for soldiers with guns to defend the fort.

Had there been an entrance to the fort from the water side, I probably would have gone in but of course there is not.  The only entrance is from the land side and it isn’t easily accessible from the beach as you would expect when designing a fort.  So I walk on by.  At this point there are several fishermen with poles and nets.   And even more when I come on around to the day use area with close parking.    I keep walking but when I round the point and am now facing the Amelia River, I see I’ve gone far enough. The view is not so lovely any more so I turn around and go back.



The fort of course looks somewhat different on the way back.  The  light is much better. 



I didn’t arrnage this, I just saw it on my way back from the fort and thought, how beautiful.
The largest shell in the middle is called a kitten’s paw.

All sunrises are different but they are all beautiful and I saw one every single day.  This one with its heavy cloud ceiling was quite subdued until the sun actually broke from the horizon.



An early glow on these early birds.

Walking the other way down the beach to the south and away from the fort we come to where the pier used to be before the hurricane destroyed it.  Now there is a stone breakwater that marks the mouth of the St Mary’s River as it flows into the Atlantic.   This is the beginning of the breakwater just after sunrise.


Walking along I find two different whelks each along on the shore with the breakwater in the background.




I hope no one will remove this beauty but allow others to enjoy it as I have.


Walking back to the campground for breakfast  I admire the beautiful curve of the shore line.  This early morning is such a lovely time of day.


Our first few days here were full of sunrises, beach walks and afternoons just relaxing by the shore.

On this day, we had two different ideas about how to spend the time.  I wanted to be up close to the water and read.  David wanted to sit in the pile of small shells that was some what back from the shore.   So that’s what we did.


While I read he looked to see how many different kinds of shells he could find.  I think he was a bit disappointed that at least here he mostly found scallop shells.


Fort Clinch has a beautiful expansive beach no matter which direction you are walking.





I could stay here for a long long time if they’d let me.  But this year I could only get 8 ngihts.


We do actually go beyond the campground once we’ve recuperated from our hectic month in Virginia.   That’s coming up next.


  1. Nothing better than a beach to help you unwind. It restores both the body and soul. :c)

    BTW, Winnona is looking all spiffy after your visit to the truck wash. They sure are handy when you don't have the time or the place to wash your RV yourself.

  2. Some gorgeous shots! The fort impresses me.

    It was a late fall in many places- we usually have the peak of colours here during Canadian Thanksgiving in the second weekend of October. That wasn't the case this year.

  3. We will miss the fishing pier at Fort Clinch, but have to say we like the way the beach looks without it. Your sunrise photos are beautiful!!!

  4. We stayed there for a couple of days last year (no reservations) and I really liked it.

    I have not been a big time reservation person but I guess if I want to be at a beach in Florida in the winter I'd better learn!

  5. Ah, back at the beach!! Gorgeous pictures from sunrises to shells. Height of the leaves in MD this year was the last week of October/first week of November, I'd say. Late!!

  6. That beach is gorgeous! We would love to stay at Ft. Clinch....but apparently I need to plan far ahead. I'm trying to get reservations there for the end of March for a few days. Your sunrise photos are fantastic. I'd get up for that, too. :-))

  7. As Paul said, the pictures of the beach sunrise restores the soul :) We have the beautiful sunsets here on the Pacific. I forgot to post about our rig wash. We were going to do the Blue Beacon on our way back from PA, but in Bakersfield found a guy who washed and dryed the rig and truck for $100! Can't beat that.

  8. Wow, you really outdid yourself with these photos. They are amazing! I am thankful for this blog. Happy's Thanksgiving!

  9. It's so nice to see the beaches of the Atlantic coast I miss my beaches ...I have moved to Crystal River and I sorely miss my morning sunrise pictures... I certainly enjoyed yours welcome back to Florida

  10. Although I've stayed in, and don't particularly like, WalMarts I've never seen one that crowded. Must have been time for mass exodus south. Much better is your dune view. I carry extra utility length to park with a view. So nice you are back in your ocean/beach element. Especially for the sunrises. Which you have motivated me to get up for, sometimes. ;)

  11. That dune view from your site is heavenly - can't imagine anyone choosing a bathhouse instead. Every sunrise pic is stunning, I could never tire of that morning show! We've seen so few shells at our beach stops, thanks for leaving the ones you found. Clearly you have enough room here to choose your own piece of sand :-)))

  12. What a great place to rest and relax at after a month of going. Beautiful sunrise and beach pictures. Finally getting some spectacular sunsets here in AZ.

  13. I am looking forward at all your sunrise pictures, it is food for the soul. And of course I m looking forward to all your beach photos, for I missed the ocean, I missed the beach and the shorebirds! I know you will fix me with those as you winter in Florida.


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