I returned to Amelia Island and the beach. There is just so much to see and do and even after all the time I spent there, I’ve hardly done anything but be at the beach. I did go to the Harris Teeter. This is probably my favorite grocery store chain and if a town has one, so far, I’ve found I really like that town.
At some point I noticed a pirate themed parade vehicle driving around. I wondered why… somehow I ended up looking online for events and the big Shrimp Festival was happening that weekend. At the beach, it was life as usual. In the downtown, it was a huge festival with several vendors and blocks of stuff happening. It was a Friday night and I decided I would check it out. I had missed the parade and would make it for the fireworks that evening.
I wanted to park close, in the downtown, so I could easily walk. They had parking farther and buses to bring you back and forth. There were also a bunch of places offering parking for $5-20 a spot. So I passed all that, knowing that I wanted to be closer to it. I found a public lot right on a street near a live band playing at a club and a bunch of vendors closed up for the night. It was full and just then, some folks came back to their car and pulled out. Perfect!
With a great spot, I headed out into the still fairly crowded streets. There were some food vendors still open, some shops, too, and farther downtown by the water, there was a booth selling pirate related products. I really had no idea pirates were such a big thing in Florida until I moved down there. Even with numerous visits prior, I just had no idea. I watched some of the fireworks, admired this idea for eating and trash combined(basically a round wooden board around a trash can so people stood to eat and then threw whatever away right there), and then began to walk around some more. What I decided was that I didn’t need to come back. It felt like being in NYC. I’m not dissing either, it just wasn’t what I was wanting at the time. I did find it cool to learn that you could find shark teeth on the beach. I saw a booth that would buy or trade them.
So… the next day I decided I would spend a night at Fort Clinch State Park. As I checked in, the rangers mentioned the Shrimp Festival. I said I went for the fireworks the night before and would rather be in the woods. One ranger leaned in and said, “So would I!” So I checked in and got a nice site very close to the water and some hammocks, which I enjoyed. This was a Saturday night. I would make note that it was VERY BUSY with so many campers. I am not a camper, I live full-time in my RV. The “roughing it” they are doing is luxury for me. I contemplated asking if I could switch to the next night, however, it was hot and I ran the AC through the night so the noise was muted. Also, so many people left very early Sunday morning. My cat loved the AC and was happy there. She got to come outside in her tent some, too.
The next day I needed to leave my site by 1pm, and was told I could stay at the park and spend the day. I walked the beach, looked for shark teeth, and had a fun new experience with some cactus plants. By that I mean, I thought I was on a trail of sorts and probably was not. Something went into my leg and I tried to get it off then stopped, realizing it was a cactus stuck in me. Intrigued, I pulled it out and examined it. What a fascinating defense mechanism! I also stepped on some and they were going up through my flip flops and into my feet. I also discovered tiny pieces still stuck in my foot… and long story short, it didn’t hurt and was an interesting experience. And I am still sometimes finding a piece has come through my flip flop and is poking my foot. Some I pulled out, mostly I just got it so they were in the shoe low enough to not be in my foot…
I was wanting to hike on a trail and went into the visitor’s center at the fort itself to ask for a map. The woman said she was about to open the doors to the fort for the last half hour and I was welcome to go in without paying the additional fee. (Camping includes the site and park, the fort is a couple dollars extra.) Awesome! This fort was so lovely, I could imagine living there.
Overall this was a nice park and I would consider going back. They save some sites for walk-ins, too. I was also fortunate to get the last $10 of quarters from the ranger. He said he was looking to get rid of them and I had used mine up paying for parking at St. Augustine. Perfect! I did laundry there, too.
The second day there was more enjoyable, calmer, and quieter.
After this, I simply went back to the beach.