Fernandina Beach lies on Amelia Island, located in the northeastern-most corner of Florida. Fernandina offers 13 miles of beautiful, sand dune filled beaches with clear, calm waters. In times past Amelia has been home to the Timucua Native American tribe, Spanish and French explorers, and even pirates! Today Amelia Island is a quaint and relaxed beach community, filled with all things leisure. You can browse boutique shops in Downtown Fernandina Beach, take in a spa day at one of the many ritzy resorts and spas, play a few rounds of golf, or take a tour of the historic sites.
At Fernandina Beach, soak up the wonderful Florida sun, take a scenic horseback riding tour, check out the island from a rented kayak, or do less work and charter a fishing boat to catch dinner. Want to combine the beautiful outdoors with a bit of history? Travel back in time to 1864 and see what life was like for Civil War soldiers at Fort Clinch where you can explore rooms, galleries, and even see reenactments of daily life. Even if living history doesn’t catch your fancy, Fort Clinch State Park is still worth a visit as it boasts a 3-mile shoreline and a half-mile long fishing pier, not to mention tons of campsites from which you can enjoy miles of bicycling and hiking (the park is spread over 1,200 acres). If you have a rainy day, find out more about the island’s diverse history by heading over to Amelia Island Museum of History. For the most up-to-date list of activities and times, be sure to stop at Amelia Island Welcome Center.
Just to the north of Amelia Island lies Cumberland Island, which features 6 miles of seashore, wild horses, and the historic Plum Orchard Mansion and Plantation. To get there, either drive and take a 30-minute ferry from the town of St. Marys, Georgia, or make arrangements to leave from Fernandina Harbor. If you would like to experience the excitement of a city, head over to Jacksonville, Florida, and visit the Zoological Park, Museum of Science and History, Alexander Brest Planetarium, or Jacksonville Art Museum (among others!). For the space fans out there, the Kennedy Space Center is a three-hour drive south on I-95 and you can catch walking or bus tours and enjoy an IMAX experience.
The National Historic District of downtown Fernandina Beach (northwest section of Amelia Island) is the ideal location if you want to be walking distance from the many artsy boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. If seclusion is what you’re after, South Fletcher Avenue runs north-south along the eastern coast of Amelia Island and offers plenty of spots along the beach. For those refusing to spend anytime indoors, camping is available in Fort Clinch State Park, which is the northernmost part of the island.
Jacksonville International Airport is 18 miles away and offers shuttles to Amelia Island (as well as many rental car options). If you’d prefer something closer, Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport is 1.7 miles away. Taxis are available on the island and unless you want to explore the entire island, a rental car isn’t completely necessary. Bike rentals are available and if you’re planning on just beaching it, a good pair of flip-flops is all you’ll need.
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