George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park
Address: 9000 Heckscher Drive, Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, FL 32034
Hours and Fees: The Park is open 24 hours, 365 days a year. The fee is $2 per person.
Photography: The bridge offers views of open water, the adjacent sandy beaches, and some large birds that often fly at eye-level. Some sunsets here can be amazing.
Policies: Well-behaved pets on a leash at all times are welcome. People are expected to pick their garbage after using the bridge, particularly for fishing.
Bird-Watching Bicycling Fishing Walking and Running Wildlife Observation
Fishing Pier A Broad Pedestrian-Only Road
Restroom Facilities Shower Station Parking Lots
These are the most characteristic birds at George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park. Approximately 213 species of birds have been recorded at the bridge and adjacent State Parks. However, bird included as top birds are those more likely to be seen from the bridge and at the adjacent sandy beaches below the bridge. Click on a photo.
While visiting this park, keep a close lookout for Atlantic or Common Bottlenose dolphin and West Indian Manatees. These marine mammals can be found in this area throughout the year.
Open water attracts a variety of gulls, terns, and pelicans that scan the water in search of fish and invertebrates. As birds forage for food over the water they fly by the bridge often at close distance and at eye level. Some even perch on the old bridge and allow for photo opportunities. Dolphin spotting is also possible from the bridge. Manatees have been observed from the bridge as well.
Salt Marshes are wetlands located along the coast. They are flat and are flooded and drained by daily tides. The vegetation is uniform. A variety of birds forage on the mudflats exposed by the low tide. The soil is generally composed of deep mud and peat. Peat is made of decomposing plant matter that is often several feet thick. Peat is waterlogged, root-filled, and very spongy.
The George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park is a one-mile long, pedestrian-only fishing bridge that spans over the Nassau Sound located in Jacksonville. This bridge is considered one of the best fishing spots in Northeast Florida. The bridge was kept after completing an adjacent new bridge. Some regard this bridge as Amelia Island’s own little version of the New York “High Line Park”, which is a strip of elevated highway that was kept as a pedestrian park above the NYC streets. This bridge is a gathering point for serious fishing and is also great for birding, sightseeing, hiking, and biking. Dolphin and manatees are often spotted from the bridge. State Park’s parking lots make the bridge accessible from either end.
- Plan your Trip: Most visitors come for a day visit or longer visits that include adjacent State Parks. The park offers a mile-long of fishing spots. While fishermen are largely restricted to the sides of the bridge, pedestrian and bikers use the middle of the pier.
- The best time to visit: In general fall and spring are the best seasons to go fishing, walking, and camping if your visit includes the adjacent State Parks. It’s not too hot or too cold. The tradeoff is that the water in the adjacent beaches will be a bit chilly. The hot and humid summer months are great for visits that involve spending most of your time in or near the water.
- What to do there: Fishing, walking, birding, and photography are among the most popular activities. Walk the pier observing birds that fly over the water. Some birds perch close to the fishermen waiting for handouts and let you approach within close proximity. If you angle your shot for a nice background, you may be able to get great close up shots of these birds. Some birds fly at eye level and provide nice photo opportunities of birds in the air. Some visitors came here to experience the sunset while others explore the sandy beaches adjacent to the bridge on both sides.
- Where to look for birds:
Fishing Pier. The pier is a vantage point to see birds. Birds that forage in the water or fly over the water can be easily observed. Other bird perch on the bridge and are habituated to people. Possibilities from the bridge include Red-breasted Merganser, Laughing, Ring-billed, Herring, and Bonaparte’s Gull, Least, Forster’s, and Royal Terns, Double-crested Cormorant, American White, and Brown Pelicans, and Ospreys and Bald Eagles.
Sandy Beaches and Sand Bars: This habitat type attracts shorebirds such as Wilson’s Plover, Killdeer, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Least Sandpiper, and Greater Yellowlegs.
- Where to look for Mammals: Mammals such as the Bottle-nosed Dolphin and Manatees can be spotted from the bridge. Although sightings appear to be sporadic.
- What to wear and bring. Despite being warm for most of the year, afternoons and nights during the winter can be chilly in North Florida. This site is open without any chances of shade. Sun lotion and appropriate sun protection gear is recommended.
- Warning: Mosquitoes and ticks are not a problem along the bridge.
Map: George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park
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