Fort Clinch State Park

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We were lucky enough to snag a cancellation for the MLK long weekend at Fort Clinch State Park at the beach on Amelia Island. The January temperature was perfect though a bit chilly at times for our beagle.

Fort Clinch State Park has two campgrounds – Β one on the oceanside and the other on the riverside. Our site was on the beach with a walkway a few sites down that led directly to the ocean and these hammocks. We were close enough to be lulled to sleep each night by ocean spray and rumbling tides.

Each morning we went for a walk on the private beach (no dogs allowed).

We walked down to the pier that is currently closed from hurricane Matthew.Β 

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and on Sunday I even got up early enough to see the sunrise over the ocean. Heavenly!

Here’s the view coming back from the beach. There are a few sites (#7 – 10 shown here) that have a slight view of the ocean. The rest are closely nestled in the dunes or sand scrub. Warning, there are sand spurs in the grassy area around the sites. We had to pull a few out of Penny’s paws and chose to keep her on the pavement when out walking.

Each day we rode our bikes around the park.

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img_4833-1On the road to the riverside campground, I spotted mushrooms as big as dinner plates. Upon further investigation I learned these are known as Jack O’Lantern mushrooms. Fun fact – they are bioluminescent! They contain the same enzyme as fireflies! Who knew? Had I known, I would have gone back to see them in the dark. They are also poisonous, so don’t eat them.

The riverside sites are are few steps away from more spectacular views. Though, none of the sites are on the water or have actual water views, they are shaded which the beach sites are not.Β 

And then there’s the fort!

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There are also mountain bike trails and gorgeous hiking paths between hidden waterways to explore as well as the towns of Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach.

Reservations for the park can be made at Reserve America, and you will probably see that most days are full. But, if you check back in regularly you will see cancellations, especially the week before you are looking to camp. It’s worth the trip, Fort Clinch is our favorite Florida campground so far!

 

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Camping the Florida Keys

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The kids have great memories of our camping trip at Long Key State Park where we spent the weekend on an oceanfront site in the Florida Keys.

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We took two cars, and a lot more stuff than we actually needed. Like this screen room. The bugs thankfully weren’t as bad as we thought they might be. We have been in the keys before when the night air was thick with swarming Mosquitos. Better safe than sorry I guess. We gladly chose to sit fireside.

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20130403-193253.jpgWe decided to camp on a weekend when the moon was full so we would have better visibility at night. The full moon reflecting off the water cast a magical glow across the shoreline offering up an enchanting evening view.We stayed up late then crawled into our big blue tent. You can tell the girls were just exhausted. ; ) Then it rained! Jeff and I looked at each other simultaneously as the cloud unloaded on us. I considered a mad dash to the van, but fortunately, our tent stayed dry. Phew.

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Good morning sunshine!

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When morning came, Jeff cooked breakfast on the grill and then we ventured out for a day on the ocean.

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Tara found some sea creatures while Val, our bookworm, enjoyed some time reading Lord of the Rings.

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A horseshoe crab washed ashore.

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Mikey flung his cast net in the shallows looking for some bait fish.

 

Mikey didn’t get much sleep in his tent either. So, he grabbed some shut eye while waiting for dinner to cook.

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I love this marshmallow picture.

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We stayed two nights. I dreamt I was trapped in a large crinkly WalMart bag. Sleepless night #2 for me, didn’t phase the kids one bit.

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Our final day was spent hiking the camp trails and exploring beyond the beach. I would have liked to kayak, but we didn’t get the chance on this trip.

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That afternoon, the time had arrived to pack up our gear.

The kids grabbed the walkie-talkies and got settled in the cars for the long ride home.

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