By enjoyFloridaBeaches.com Staff January 6, 2017
Located on Amelia Island near Jacksonville, Florida, sunny Fernandina Beach is a place where you can relax in a laid-back setting, or be invigorated with jam-packed activities steeped in culture and history.
Beaches & Activities
Fernandina Beach is a city offering sun, sand, and surf, with some of the best beaches and parks in the U.S.
At the southern end of the island, Amelia Island State Park has over 200 acres of beachfront in a pristine natural environment. This Florida State Park is open daily, and has limited access unless you have a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. And since the park is designated a Critical Wildlife Area, large areas are off limits to visitors during bird nesting season.
Peter’s Point Park is located on South Fletcher Avenue and features a large parking area, restrooms, outdoor showers, and picnic areas equipped with grills. The Amelia Island Trail starts at the park, which is a path for biking and hiking that’s a little over six miles long.
Fort Clinch State Park features a Civil-War era fort set on more than 1,400 acres. The park includes 8,400 feet of beautiful beachfront, a half-mile-long fishing pier, picnic area with playground equipment, hiking and biking trails, and a campground. Visitors can tour the fort to experience re-enactments depicting garrison life, and enjoy popular beach activities such as sunbathing, swimming, and fishing. Hikers and bicyclists can experience their own eco-adventure on a six-mile trail through the park, while also enjoying self-guided nature trails and learning about native plants and wildlife.
The 200-acre historic American Beach was founded in 1935 by the Afro-American Life Insurance Company, and is the only beach in Florida that welcomed black Americans and offered overnight accommodations during Jim Crow segregation. Today, American Beach is the first stop on the Florida Black Heritage Trail, with approximately 50 homes remaining from the 1940s and 1950s. Located at historic American Beach, Burney Park features a dune system called “Nana,” which is the tallest dune in the state of Florida.
Arts & Culture
Fernandina Beach’s numerous art galleries and several vibrant theaters provide a cultural vibe to this historic Amelia Island city.
Blue Door Artists features contemporary art by working studio artists, and the Art on Centre gallery features fine arts and collectibles. The Island Art Association Gallery also features a variety of art works, while serving educational purposes.
One of the most popular activities in Fernandina Beach is horseback riding, with miles of horseback trails as well as open beaches for riding. Several businesses on Amelia Island offer horseback riding adventures and carriage rides.
Museums in Fernandina Beach are also major attractions, such as the Amelia Island Museum of History, the Maritime Museum, and the Shrimping Museum. With these historic attractions, you can immerse yourself in the history of Fernandina Beach and its surrounding areas, while also engaging the kids in a fun learning experience.
Boating & Marinas
Boating is popular in Fernandina Beach. Take your own boat and stay at a local marina such as the Amelia Island Yacht Basin, or rent a boat from a local business such as Amelia Boat Club & Rentals. From one of the local marinas, you can set out for an adventure on the Amelia River or in the Atlantic Ocean.
Also, check out the dinner cruises for a relaxing time of food and fun, and fishing charters for a fun day of fishing. Then when you want to spend time in a smaller boat with an eco-tour, check out the kayak rentals and tours.
Dining & Shopping
Fernandina Beach’s is famous for its seafood, and has dining options for every budget and taste. Espana Restaurant & Tapas offers an elegant Spanish influenced dining experience, Timoti’s Seafood Shack specializes in marine dishes, and Le Clos serves delicious Provençal dishes with an emphasis on local fresh seafood.
The variety of shopping experiences offered in Fernandina Beach are perfect for pampering yourself at the spa, hunting your favorite foods at a farmer’s market, searching for a book in a historic setting, picking out your next piece of art, buying your special someone a unique piece of jewelry, and searching for the perfect gift. If you enjoy shopping, you will be pleased with Fernandina Beach’s shops, galleries, and eateries.
As with shopping and dining in Fernandina Beach, accommodations in this historic beach community are varied. Options include very upscale resorts like the The Ritz-Carlton, hotels at every price point, vacation home rentals with a wide range of amenities, bed & breakfasts ranging from historic and quaint to upscale, and camping at Fort Clinch State Park.
Weddings and Events
Fernandina Beach is an awesome place for weddings, vow renewals, and proposals. Propose while horseback riding on the beach, have a wedding while barefoot on the beach, or enjoy the amenities of a world-class resort for a grand wedding hosting family and friends.
Local wedding and event planners are available to help make your dreams come true with the perfect beach wedding, and numerous venues such as the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Amelia Hotel at the Beach, and The Ritz-Carlton are available to host your event.