The two great things about Fernandina Beach are that it’s indeed a beach and it’s in Florida, which means great weather for most of the year. The requisite water sports are available for you and the family. If you’re here in the winter, take the kids out on a boat to watch the right whales, who arrive off the coast in winter to give birth. If you’re coming in May, attend the Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, which not only has an abundance of shrimp, but also features antiques, music, fireworks, arts and crafts, and the Miss Shrimp Festival Pageant. Whether you’re looking for a cottage, condo, or multi-bedroom apartment vacation rental, consider visiting one of these top 11 Fernandina Beach vacation rental locations.

1. Amelia City, Florida

This beautiful city is a little over six miles south of Fernandina Beach and bustles with activities, such as the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which showcases rare and exotic cars. There’s an abundance of golf on sun-splashed courses, many in view of the ocean. Of course, there’s always the beach and its endless pleasures.

2. St. Marys, Georgia

This lovely city on the St. Marys River is the entrance to the Cumberland National Seashore and right next to the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. Before you head to the wildlife reserve, check out the beautiful and historic antebellum buildings around the city, such as Orange Hall and the First Presbyterian Church.

3. Callahan, Florida

Your vacation rental in small and sleepy Callahan waits for you after a full day of fun in the sun and surf. But it’s not that sleepy. It’s the headquarters of the Northeast Florida Fair, which is held every year and features members of local 4H Clubs showing off their livestock, a rodeo, a petting zoo, and loads of food, games, and fun. If anyone in your family loves cars, you should make a point to attend Callahan Cruisers cruise night.

4. American Beach, Florida

American Beach is less crowded than other beaches in the area, and the shore is great for relaxing, shell collecting, or walking the dog. Make sure the kids visit NaNa dune, which was named after Lewis’ granddaughter, the philanthropist MaVynee Betsch. It is the largest beach dune in Florida. Afterward, enjoy some delicious American-style dining from Salt the Grill at the Ritz-Carlton, which is less than a mile away.

5. Franklintown, Florida

Found in the southern part of Amelia Island near the Amelia River, Franklintown is a place of peace and quiet. Wake up early to watch the sunrise from the yard of your vacation rental, and have a quiet breakfast with the husband and kids before venturing out for another day of fun in the sun. One place to visit is the 200-acre Amelia Island State Park, found at the southern tip of the town. It’s unusual in that it allows horseback riding and offers horseback tours on the beach. The fisherfolk in your family can surf fish on the beach, or fish from the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier.

6. Nassauville, Florida

Nassauville, a peaceful town on the Nassau River, is famous for being the home of the historic Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church. It’s a simple little clapboard church, which is still in use. Since it’s found at a bend in the Nassau River just before it empties into the Nassau Sound, it’s a lure for fishermen. Largemouth bass, bluegill, and black crappie are among the fish that are abundant around Nassauville. Charter a boat and take the kids for a sunset cruise along the waterway.

7. Yulee, Florida

Yulee, which is also near the Nassau River, is a nice sized city that has its two golf courses for the golfers in your group — the Nassau Wildlife Management Area and the Four Creeks State Forest. The kids will really be enthused about this place because it houses several species of exotic animals, including gerenuks, bongos, cassowaries, cheetahs, okapi, and three endangered species of rhino.

8. Evergreen, Florida

There’s only one paved road in Evergreen, and that would be Road 108. This is the perfect destination if you’re seeking a rustic, arboreal retreat. The town is found south of the St. Mary’s River and is surrounded by its many tributary creeks, so you can rent a kayak or canoe and explore the waterways. It’s also good to head to the banks of a creek or brook for a picnic or to just dabble your feet in the cold, running water.

9. Atlantic Beach, Florida

Atlantic Beach is about an hours drive from Fernandina Beach, and sort of belongs to Jacksonville. Besides its lovely, long stretch of beach, Atlantic Beach offers Shakespeare in the Park, Arts in the Park, and a Farmers Market held on Wednesdays from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

10. Kingsland, Georgia

The residents of this city found right over the border in Georgia have a great sense of fun. Kingsley is the mascot of the town that calls itself “The City of Royal Treatment,” however, the twist is that he’s a lion with a red mane and a crown. Kingslanders are serious about celebrating Flag Day and adore the Woodbine Opry on Camden Avenue. Go and hear bluegrass and gospel on Friday nights and amplified country on Saturday nights. Take a cruise on the Crooked River and don’t miss the famous catfish festival, which happens every year on Labor Day Weekend.

11. Woodbine, Georgia

The seat of Camden County, this town bears the common name for honeysuckle, and there is honeysuckle on its coat of arms. It’s a small city, but it has a historic district that’s worth visiting. There you’ll find the Camden County courthouse and the Foster Colson-Foster House. Shop for souvenirs to remember the trip at “Me and My Partner Antique Shop,” which is easy to spot as you’ll see a sign stating, “Dead Peoples Things for Sale.”