Although construction commenced in 1847, rapid technological advancements rendered Fort Clinch's masonry walls obsolete by as early as 1861, when the fort was taken easily by Confederate militia in the Civil War and later evacuated. Federal troops again occupied the fort during WWII. Today, the park offers a variety of activities, serene beaches for shelling (of the non-military kind) and 6 miles of peaceful, unpaved trails for hiking and cycling.
Twice a year, spring and fall, authentically outfitted troops perform a reenactment of the Confederate evacuation that extends to cooking in the old kitchen's massive iron cauldron and sleeping on straw mats in the soldiers' barracks. They also do a living history re-enactment of the Union Garrison every first full weekend of the month, with 20 to 40 people in period dress acting as if they were in Civil War times. Candlelight tours ($3; May to September) are a treat.