"Amelia Island & Fernandina Beach, Florida" Top 5 Page for this destination Amelia Island by noidiotsplease
Amelia Island Travel Guide: 76 reviews and 220 photos
A heavily wooded barrier island boasting broad beaches of white quartz sand, Amelia Island is a quaint blend of the very old, the very exclusive and the very natural. This northernmost island in all of Florida is often grouped with Jacksonville & its Beaches due to its close proximity, just across the Nassau River from the city's Talbot Islands State Parks.
The northern third of Amelia Island is dominated by the historic pirate town of Fernandina Beach, birthplace of the modern shrimping industry. This town, which boats a Historic District of red brick buildings and Victorian homes and a beachfront of interesting bed & breakfast accommodations, cottages, and small hotels, is one of the most charming towns in Florida. Much of the architecture along Centre Street, in the heart of downtown, reflects the 1800's and early 1900's. An occasional horse-drawn carriage also adds to the quaint, historic ambiance. Today, a number of interesting shops and restaurants make the blocks between 6th Street and the Intracoastal Waterway a wonderful place to take an afternoon stroll or small-business shopping adventure with the family. Included in this stretch are two great independent bookstores, a year-round Christmas store, a fudge and ice cream shop, an Irish shop, and various places offering all kinds of wares from clothing and art to beachy accents and shark's teeth. A visitor center located a block from the Intracoastal waterfront provides a variety of free maps and literature for detailed information on Amelia Island and the greater Jacksonville area. The Isle of 8 Flags Shrimp Festival, which features blocks of artists and food vendors, draws crowds of visitors to Centre Street on the first weekend in May.In the blocks just off Centre Street, bed & breakfasts are plentiful, occupying a number of grand Victorian homes.
Heading toward the beach, Centre Street becomes Atlantic Avenue before ending at Fernandina's "Main Beach." The Elizabeth Pointe Lodge is a large New England-style oceanfront cottage in this area that also looks to be a very intriguing places for those seeking an oceanfront bead & breakfast. Fort Clinch State Park, just a couple blocks from the beach, is a large, well preserved Civil War fort surrounded by protected beaches and nature trails. It sits at the very northernmost tip of Amelia Island, looking across the wide harbor that marks the state line. Fernandina Beach also has a fishing pier that juts out into the Atlantic as well.
A little further down the shore from Fernandina, much of the island's mid-section is an exclusive playground of the rich lined with posh oceanfront resorts, high rise condos and well respected golf courses. Tiny American Beach was founded as a resort for blacks during the age of segregation in the early 1900's. Today, the tiny community that inspired the movie "Sunshine State" struggles to keep its identity while bookended by the luxury highrise developments of Omni Amelia Island Plantation and Summer Beach. (By the way, "Sunshine State" was actually filmed in both Amelia Island and Jacksonville).
Posh Summer Beach is also home to the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, one of the world's top rated hotels. Concours de Elegance, the largest antique, rare and celebrity-owned car show in the Eastern U.S., draws the rich and famous to the Ritz Carlton every year. Meanwhile, nearby Omni Amelia Island Plantation is a large resort area featuring shops, a spa, a golf course, and nature trails.
Although the island's mid-section does a good job of balancing upscale development with its naturally dense woods and marshlands, Amelia Island State Park, at the southernmost tip of the island facing Big Talbot and the ocean, is all about nature. Grouped with three neighboring state parks in Jacksonville as part of the Talbot Islands Geoparks, Amelia Island State Park stands out as one of the few places in Florida where visitors can ride horseback along the seashore thanks to the Kelly Seahorse Ranch.
(THE FIRST COAST)
Jacksonville | St. Augustine
JACKSONVILLE AREA BEACHES
Atlantic Beach | Neptune Beach | Jacksonville Beach
Ponte Vedra Beach | Amelia Island | Fernandina Beach
Hanna Park | Ft. George Island | Talbot Islands State Parks
Downtown | San Marco | Riverside-Avondale
Ft. Caroline | St. Johns Town Center | Mandarin | Mayport
ST. AUGUSTINE AREA BEACHES
St. Augustine Beach | Crescent Beach | Vilano Beach | Marineland
OTHER METRO CITIES
Orange Park | Fruit Cove-World Golf Village | Callahan | Yulee
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