There are many unique attractions for guests of the Williams House to enjoy while visiting Amelia Island. One of the favorites is Fort Clinch State Park. It is named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, a prominent figure in the Second Seminole war that began in 1847. The fort was built at the mouth of the St. Mary’s river to protect the natural deep-water port of Fernandina Beach, the eastern most link in Florida’s cross state railroad that connected with Cedar Key on the western shore. It was one of many masonry forts built between 1816 and 1867 called the Third System Fortifications. It was never fully completed but served as a military post during the Civil War, Spanish- American War and World War II and became one of the earliest Florida state parks in 1935. The Civilian Conservation Corps started restorations and building of roads and campgrounds in 1936-1937.
Today, visitors see life as it might have been in 1864 via restored barracks, blacksmith shop, points of defense including cannon, headquarters and jail. Soldiers are present in uniform of the period and explain to visitors the rules of life in that time and the hardships and challenges before electricity and indoor plumbing. Reinactments occur monthly with troops overnighting at the fort.
Access to the beach, beautiful views of Cumberland Island, picnic and camping facilities, hiking trails, wildlife, visitors center and gift shop are all available through the fort site. Many of our guests that elect a picnic take it to Fort clinch and enjoy both a tasty meal and a fascinating look back into history. It is also a nice bike ride of about four miles from the Inn to the actual fort. Visitors also visit the beach in search of Sharks teeth from this northern point of the island.