"Amelia Island & Fernandina Beach, Florida" Top 5 Page for this destination Amelia Island by noidiotsplease
Amelia Island Travel Guide: 74 reviews and 211 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. Much of the red brick architecture along Centre Street reflects the 1800s and early 1900s. Today, a number of interesting shops and restaurants add to the street's allure. Bed & Breakfasts are also plentiful in Fernandina Beach, occupying grand Victorian homes in the Historic District and a variety of cottages along the beach.
Fort Clinch in Fernandina Beach is a large, well preserved, red brick Civil War fort surrounded by beaches and nature trails. It sits at the very northernmost tip of Amelia Island, looking across the wide harbor that marks the state line.
Venture a little further down the shore from Fernandina and you'll find that 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.
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