AMELIA ISLAND STATE PARK
An easy drive from Jacksonville, the park protects over 200 acres of unspoiled wilderness along the southern tip of Amelia Island. Beautiful beaches, salt marshes, and coastal maritime forests provide visitors a glimpse of the original Florida. Amelia Island State Park is the only state park in Florida to offer horseback riding on the beach; a 45-minute riding tour through the forest and along the Atlantic Coast beach. Although the view from the park is breath-taking in itself, most of our visitors come for the fantastic fishing opportunities. Fishermen can surf fish along the shoreline or they can wet their line from the mile-long George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier which spans Nassau Sound. Visitors can also stroll along the beach looking for seashells or relax and watch the numerous bird species that feed in the area. For horseback tour reservations, contact Kelly Seahorse Ranch at (904) 491-5166. Tours are given four times daily. Amelia Island State Park is located seven miles north of Little Talbot Island State Park on State Road A1A, or eight miles south of Fernandina Beach.
Amelia Island State Park is the perfect place for viewing shore birds. Black Skimmers, piping plovers, terns (including the threatened least tern), brown pelicans, and many other birds can be observed in the park. You may even catch a glimpse of a rare Right Whale or a Bald Eagle during the winter and early spring. Please obey posted signs that protect critical shore bird nesting areas!!!
Amelia Island State Park is one of the premier sites along the eastern section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. If you would like to know more about Florida's birding opportunities, visit Great Florida Birding Trail.
Amelia Island State Park encompasses approximately 230 acres along the south eastern tip of Amelia Island. The beaches, dunes, and adjacent upland communities have plant life typical of a barrier island. Railroad vine, morning glories, and the protected sea oat are some of the vegetation that have adapted to the harsh, high salt environment of the coast. Upland areas are forested with live oak, red cedar, and pine trees. The understory is dominated by yaupon holly, wax myrtle, and palmetto.Area Geography
Amelia Island is a sea island in a chain of barrier islands that stretches down the southeast coast of the US from South Carolina to northeast Florida. Sea islands are short, curved barrier islands separated from each other by inlets and waterways, and divided from the mainland by well developed marshes or estuaries. Sea islands consist of both a recent Holocene geologic component on the outer edges and an older, or Pleistocene, core at the center. The core of Amelia Island's Pleistocene sediments has distinct soil profiles consisting of fine sands with little shell material. Unsorted sand with silt and shell layers overlays this older material, creating patches of clay and silt.
Barrier islands are dynamic systems formed by the interaction of wave, wind, and tidal energies that erode, transport, and deposit sediments (Leatherman, 1982). These islands contain ecologically significant habitats that undergo continuous changes due to erosion and accretion (build up) of sediment.
The physical geography of the beach at Amelia Island is somewhat inconsistent with those of other barrier islands. This is due to the presence of erosion control structures that have been placed along the island, the periodic addition of beach fill material, and the development along the coastline north of Amelia Island State Park boundaries.Resources
The effect of wind and wave energy upon a barrier island is clearly illustrated at Amelia Island State Park. These dynamic forces continually alter the shape of the shoreline removing and depositing sand in an endless cycle. A beach walk observation in September can become a very different observation in April.
Amelia Island State Park offers over 200 acres of undeveloped sea island recreational opportunities. This beach is a perfect place to relax and unwind, search for seashells, surf fish, and possibly view some rare wildlife such as the right whale or piping plover.
Long Island Outfitters is Amelia Island State Park's canoe and kayak visitor service provider. Located on AIA between Little Talbot and Big Talbot Island about 6 miles south of Amelia Island State Park, Kayak Amelia offers everything from basic rentals to special focus guided trips. The facility provides local information including maps, safety information, and recommended routes for the experience you desire. Inside the concession you'll find snacks and drinks, restrooms, and souvenirs. Canoe and kayak rentals are available on-site or bring your own and utilize their hand launch ramp ($1.00 per person fee).
Kayak Amelia's guided paddles include birding paddles, tai-chi paddles, sunset and full-moon paddles, and special focus paddles. All guided trips include instruction, snack, and interpretation. Long Island Outfitters is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm throughout the year, but is closed on Wednesdays December through February. For additional information contact Kayak Amelia at 904-251-0016 or the Ranger Station at Little Talbot Island State Park (904-251-2320).
Nassau Sound is one of the best fishing areas in northeast Florida and home to the state record flounder. Fishing is popular from the shore of Amelia Island State Park as well as from the adjacent George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park that spans Nassau Sound. The fishing pier is closed to vehicle traffic and offers the bridge angler a mile of pier to wet their line in hopes of catching the next record fish or tonight's dinner. Many different species of fish, such as whiting, redfish, flounder, speckled sea trout, jacks, and tarpon can be caught.
Redfish and speckled sea trout are available throughout the year, but higher numbers are available in the spring and fall. Popular baits, including mullet and shrimp, and can be caught along the shoreline using a cast-net. Artificial baits are also very popular. Along the south end of the fishing bridge, several small grass flats hold a wide variety of fish. Tarpon follow the fall mullet run into Nassau Sound and gorge themselves before continuing their migration to more southern waters.
Nassau Sound Bait and Tackle is currently closed. Contact the Ranger Station at 904-251-2320 for more information.