Featured on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park represented a strategic military location in Civil War times.
Situated at the picturesque mouth of the mighty St. Johns River, it provided troops with inland access to the entire east coast of Florida.
While there was never a bona fide fort built in the area, it did have a fortified encampment which was protected by large guns. When construction began in 1862 it was occupied by over 250 Union and Confederate troop encampments.
If you are into Civil War history you should find this site, and in particular the earthwork fortification, fascinating. Not least because it boasts a stone monument and replica cannons which act as a legacy to the troops that served here.
Set upon a small hillside that looks out to the St. Johns River and the city of Jacksonville, the small park provides a place for quiet contemplation and reflection about the war.
There is also a lovely nature trail you can explore. While an authentic troop encampment serves as a lovely spot for a picnic.
To personify its past, this Florida state park runs a living history demonstration every year. It unfortunately does not have any camping options, but what it does do is chronicle one of the most important periods in the country’s history.
For this reason alone it is worth visiting.
How to get there
The park is situated just a 15 minute drive from downtown Jacksonville.
You will find it on New Berlin Road in the city’s Northside area. It is close to the St John’s River delta, just south of State Road 105.
To get there you can type in these GPS coordinates into your satellite navigation system – 30°23′58″N 81°33′22″W.
Once you arrive, there is a small parking area at the northeast corner of this public recreational space where you can leave your vehicle.
The park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and you do not have to pay an entrance fee to visit it.
Here are some of the things you can do whilst you are at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park.
Hiking at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park
The state park has a scenic trail that allows you to find out more about the encampment.
As you walk along it you will be able to see several species of native plant life as well as appreciate the earthwork fort’s contours. This will give you a good idea of what life was like as a soldier there.
Picnicking at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the Civil War ambience of the park is to partake in a picnic lunch whilst you are there.
Should you decide to do this there is an authentic Union and Confederate troop encampment you can use.
All up there are two picnic tables you can dine at whilst taking in the sights and sounds of this tranquil setting.
If you didn’t bring any food with you to the park there is a local bakery where you can grab yourself some tasty treats. You probably can also get food delivered there too.
Just be sure to dispose of your trash appropriately, as per the park’s regulations.
Special events at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park
Every year, the park runs a special event where it showcases the area’s cultural and historical significance.
It does this primarily through living history demonstrations and illustrated presentations. On this day the park is very busy, so it is worth getting there early to secure a parking spot.
Birding at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park
As this state park is just a short distance from Jacksonville CBD you could spot a range of different birds during your time there.
Some of these species reside at the park permanently while others visit during the spring and winter migrations.
Depending on the time of year you visit you may see the likes of pileated woodpeckers, swallow-tailed kites and Nelson’s sparrows. So it is definitely worth bringing your binoculars with you.
Pets at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park
Dogs are welcome to join you at the pavilions, in the parking lots and on both the paved parked roads and multi-use trails at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park.
At all times your dog will need to be well-behaved and kept on a hand held leash of no more than six feet in length at all times. They will also need to be cleaned up after they have made a mess and may not be left unattended for more than 30 minutes.
Some other restrictions may also apply so for full details of the park’s pet policy please contact the main office for clarification.
Camping at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park
Unfortunately, the park does not offer any camping accommodation.
However, as it is just a 15 minute drive from downtown Jacksonville it is within easy reach of hundreds of hotels, motels and accommodation options like Vrbo and Air bnb.
If you are specifically looking for an RV campground there are a couple not too far away from the park. This includes the Little Talbot Island campgrounds and Huguenot Memorial Park. Both of which offer cabins and sites for RVs and tent campers.
You can book accommodation for up to 11 months in advance at these campgrounds. Depending on which one you visit, amenities could include flush toilets and hot showers, a dump station and a children’s playground.
Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park
New Berlin Rd
Jacksonville, FL 32226
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park: