Nassau County’s well-preserved natural areas give visitors a glimpse of the original, untouched Floridian landscape.
Fort Clinch State Park located on the northern tip of Amelia Island features a six-mile hiking and biking trail under a canopy of trees, a half-mile pier and guided nature tours.
The Egans Creek Greenway is a 300-acre preserve in the heart of Fernandina Beach offering opportunities to view and photograph a host of wildlife from its winding trails.
Amelia Island State Park[#friends of Talbot islands State Parks listing] on the south end offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, Nassau Sound, salt marshes and coastal forests. It is one of the few locations on the east coast that offers horseback riding on the beach and riding tours[#tours & activities] along the shoreline.
Located just south of Amelia Island, the Talbot Islands feature dynamic coastal habitats, hiking and biking trails, and plenty of undisturbed flora and fauna to enjoy. To the north lies Cumberland Island in Georgia, home to pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wild horses.
The Ralph E. Simmons Memorial State Forest near Hilliard FL is a gateway to the scenic beauty of the blackwater St. Marys River. The forest’s natural communities serve as an important refuge for a number of rare and endangered plants as well as many species of wildlife.
One of Florida’s original state forests, Cary State Forest in Bryceville FL offers a haven to the eastern indigo snake, gopher tortoise, Sherman's fox squirrel, and the Florida black bear. Four miles east of Callahan FL on SR 200/A1A is Four Creeks State Preserve, a 13,000 acre wildlife park that provides areas for hiking, biking and canoeing and wildlife watching.
Nassau County FL is home to five stops on the Great Florida Birding Trail; four are located on Amelia Island FL. With distinct, undisturbed habitats, a variety of native and migrating birds can be seen here. Because of Nassau’s abundance of untouched natural areas, it is also a haven for several endangered species.
Manatees are not an uncommon sight in the waters of the Amelia River. These beautiful, docile creatures enjoy the warm refuge of the waters around the Fernandina Beach marina. Boaters are advised to take extra caution so as not to harm this threatened species.
Sea turtles find a favorite nesting site on Amelia Island’s beaches. From May through October, turtles lay their eggs on the beach and hatchlings make their way to the ocean. Because the hatchlings use the moonlight to find their way, residents and guests staying on the beach are expected to keep their exterior lights off at night during hatching season.
North Atlantic right whales travel from Canada each winter to give birth in the warm waters off Amelia Island. There are less than 400 of these huge mammals left, so to see one is truly an unforgettable experience.