Amelia Island is Florida's northernmost Atlantic Ocean barrier island, part of the Sea Islands barrier island chain, which stretches northward into South Carolina's waters. Visitors can explore scenic areas such as Fort Clinch State Park or sites connected to the East Coast Greenway, which spans more than 3,000 miles between Florida and Maine.
Fernandina Beach is the primary community on Amelia Island and one of the principal communities within the Greater Jacksonville region, home to a population of more than 11,400 residents. As the northernmost city along Florida's Atlantic Ocean coastline, the city is best known as the filming site for the 1988 feature film The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, which used its historic Captain Bell's House as the location for its title character's home. Throughout the city's history, it has been part of eight separate nations, earning Amelia Island the title of the "Isle of Eight Flags." Visitors can enjoy excellent shopping and dining choices in the city's 50-block historic downtown district or stretch out and swim and sunbathe along 40 public beach access areas, including the delightful Main Beach Park or the historic Fort Clinch State Park. Five top-rated golf courses are also open to the public, along with The Palace Saloon, Florida's oldest bar, opened in 1903. A number of kayaking, paddleboarding, and offroad Segway touring companies offer guided excursions of the region's undeveloped areas. Each May, the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival presents an annual Miss Shrimp Festival pageant, an antique vendor show, live music performances, and a fireworks display.
2.Fort Clinch State Park
Fort Clinch State Park is a spacious 1,100-acre Florida state park located along Amelia Island's northernmost peninsula, preserving the site of the 19th-century military fortress of the same name, which was named in honor of Seminole War figure General Duncan Lamont Clinch and constructed in 1847. The park, which opened to the public in 1938, protects significant sand dune, maritime hammock, plains, and estuarine tidal marsh habitats, located adjacent to Fernandina Beach and the Cumberland Sound. Park visitors can explore the remains of the former fort or enjoy a plethora of outdoor recreational activities, including fishing along the park's half-mile fishing pier. Several miles of beachfront are also offered, along with a six-mile hiking trail and opportunities for birding, shelling, surfcasting, cycling, and wildlife watching for native wildlife such as alligators, dolphins, manatees, and rare purple sandpipers. Overnight camping is offered at the Amelia River Campground, while military reenactments are presented at the fort the first weekend of each month.
2601 Atlantic Ave, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-277-7274
3.Fernandina Beach Historic District
Fernandina Beach Historic District preserves 1,500 acres throughout the Amelia Island town of Fernandina Beach, an area listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The district, which is bounded by South 5th and 8th Streets, North 9th Street, and Broome, Ash, and Date Streets, preserves historic buildings connected to the development of the region by United States senator and railroad entrepreneur David Levy Yulee in the mid-19th century. Prior to Yulee's development, Fernandina's town center had been located at the area that is now known as Old Town. Significant buildings preserved within the district include landmarks such as the Nassau County Courthouse, historic homes such as the Fairbanks, Waas, Bailey, and Tabby Houses, and structures such as the Amelia Island Lighthouse, as well as an historic post office building designed by United States Department of the Treasury architect James Knox Taylor. Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of shopping, dining, and bed and breakfast accommodation options within the district or visit attractions such as the Amelia Island Museum of History, which preserves the region's social and cultural history through locally-curated exhibits. Each May, the district hosts the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival.
4.Amelia Island Kayak Excursions
© Dudarev Mikhail/stock.adobe.com
Amelia Island Kayak Excursions is a family-owned kayaking tour and rental company operating out of Fernandina Beach, rated as the island's top guest-rated kayaking service. The company strives to cultivate memorable kayaking experiences for all of its tour participants, exploring the scenic inland waters of the Amelia Island area. Two, three, and five-hour guided tours are offered, along with overnight excursions offering stays at nearby tourist destinations. Class III personal flotation devices are provided for all tour participants, along with the safest and highest quality possible kayaks and paddles. Private boating tours are available for a maximum of six participants, showcasing sights such as the majestic Cumberland Island National Seashore, the riverfront town of St. Mary's, and the historic attractions of nearby Fort George and Jekyll Islands.
5.Backwater Cat Adventure
© Backwater Cat Adventure
Backwater Cat Adventure is one of Fernandina Beach's top boating adventure companies, originally opened on nearby Hilton Head Island in March of 2016. The company offers expeditions aboard a fleet of 11 Craigcat boats, which are available for guided tours or self-exploration of the region's waters. Tours are open to participants five years of age and older, with at least two participants required to travel aboard each boat tour. Tours last approximately two and a half hours, exploring the waters around Hilton Head, Cumberland, and Amelia Islands and viewing sites such as Fort Clinch State Park and the Historic Fernandina Harbor. Tour participants can view dolphins and seabirds and explore beautiful marshland and backwater areas around the islands. All safety equipment is offered for all tour participants, with bottled water provided for all guests.
3 South Front Street Deliver to Harbor Master, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-753-7631
6.Amelia Island State Recreation Area
Amelia Island State Recreation Area is a Florida state park located approximately eight miles south of the city of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, accessible from Little Talbot Island State Park along State Route A1A. The 200-acre recreation area is home to beautiful preserved salt marsh, coastal maritime forest, and beachfront areas along the Atlantic Ocean coastal plain. It serves as one of the American East Coast's few coastal horseback riding destinations, with horseback riding tours available by appointment from Kelly Seahorse Ranch. Park visitors can surf fish along the island's shoreline or on the mile-long George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier, which stretches across Nassau Sound. Other popular recreational activities include cycling, paddling, shelling, birding, and wildlife watching for threatened piping plovers and sea turtles in their native nesting habitats. Day-use picnic sites are also offered, along with ADA-accessible amenities and outdoor showers.
State Road A1A, Jacksonville, FL 32226, Phone: 904-251-2320
7.The Amelia Island Museum of History
© The Amelia Island Museum of History
The Amelia Island Museum of History strives to preserve and promote the history and culture of the Amelia Island region, showcasing exhibits within the National Register of Historic Places-listed former Nassau County Jail facility in Fernandina Beach's downtown district. Museum exhibits showcase the island's social and cultural history from its indigenous roots through the present day, educating visitors on the story of the "Isle of Eight Flags." Permanent exhibits include a recreation of a typical Timucuan indigenous village, showcasing the island's pre-Columbian culture dating back as far as 4,000 years ago. The region's Spanish Mission history is also detailed, along with the impact of the railroading industry as overseen by area entrepreneur David Yulee. A recreated jail cell brings the building's past to life, while an interactive children's discovery ship, the Margery, teaches young visitors to pilot their own ship and develop maritime skills such as knot-tying.
233 S 3rd St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-261-7378
8.Amelia Island Horseback Riding
Amelia Island Horseback Riding offers personalized equestrian expeditions for island visitors of all ages, owned and operated by horseback riding veteran Debbie Manser. All of the company's excursions embark from Peters Point Beachfront Park in Fernandina Beach, available for groups of two to three riders. Riders ages six and older can explore Amelia Island's beautiful beachfront areas on horseback, with step assistance provided for novice riders and those with mobility concerns. Sunrise and sunset rides offer opportunities for visitors to see the island's shoreline in beautiful lighting conditions. Private expeditions are also offered for events such as weddings, proposals, birthdays, and anniversaries, including complete wedding and date packages available for visitors looking for romantic equestrian expeditions. Protective helmets are required for riders under the age of 15, with helmets available upon request for riders of all ages.
4600 Peters Point Rd, Fernandina Beach, FL, 32034, Phone: 904-753-1701
9.The Fernandina Beach Pinball Museum
© The Fernandina Beach Pinball Museum
The Fernandina Beach Pinball Museum is dedicated to the preservation of pinball and arcade game history throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, spanning all the way back to the game's creation in the 1930s. The museum, which is open to the public throughout the afternoon and evening hours Wednesdays through Sundays, offers more than 20 preserved pinball machines from the 1950s through the present day, available for game play by visitors of all ages. Visitors can play games by the individual game price or purchase unlimited play daily admission passes for play throughout the museum's open hours. A try-it pass lets visitors play unlimited games for one hour for a reduced rate. Reduced rates are also available for children under 12.
2106 Sadler Rd, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-435-8424
10.Bosque Bello Cemetery
Bosque Bello Cemetery, also known as Beautiful Woods, is n historic cemetery in Fernandina Beach's Old Town district, believed to have been established in 1798 by the island's Spanish colonizers. Though many of the cemetery's earliest graves have disappeared due to rotting and theft, its earliest preserved gravestone dates back to 1813, more than a century before the property's most recent section was added by the City of Fernandina Beach. Notable area residents interred at the cemetery include Nathaniel Borden, Dr. Elisha Graham Johnson, Mike Salvador and Salvatore Versaggi, and Alice Youngblood. Burial sections also showcase fallen area soldiers from the Spanish-American and Vietnam Wars, as well as members of the Sisters of St. Joseph. VIsitors can embark on cemetery tours each Saturday morning between October and May with 24 hours advance reservation. Private cemetery tours are also available at a group reservation rate.
1320 N 14th St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-310-3356
11.Amelia Community Theatre
Amelia Community Theatre is a nationally-recognized community theater in Fernandina Beach, originally founded in 1981. The nonprofit community theater organization presents six mainstage productions each year, focusing on Broadway-style musicals, comedies, and dramas such as Guys and Dolls, Steel Magnolias, and Arsenic and Old Lace. Roles are open to all community members, with cast, crew, and musician members selected via a seasonal audition process. The company's Studio 209 series presents youth theatrical productions, while its ACTeen troupe offers theater instruction and troupe performances for teenage performers. Summer theatrical camps are offered in July for performers between the ages of seven and 12, along with a musical theater camp offered for participants ages eight to 17.
207 Cedar St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-261-6749
12.The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island
© The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island
The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island preserves the rich maritime history of Fernandina Beach and the Amelia Island region, housed within an historic former ice house building in the city's downtown district. Exhibits within the museum showcase the region's maritime culture underneath each of its eight national flags since the 16th century, showcasing artifacts such as United States Navy uniforms, Spanish pirate treasure, and Soviet-era diving suits. Maritime weaponry is also on display, along with artifacts recovered from shipwrecks sunk near the island's waters. Museum tour guides offer personally-guided tours for all visitors, recounting stories of regional divers, naval members, and fishers. All tours are family-friendly and appropriate for museum visitors of all ages.
115 S 2nd St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-548-7504
13.Fernandina Plaza Historic State Park
Fernandina Plaza Historic State Park is Florida's smallest state park, spanning a mere 0.8 acres throughout the northern end of Amelia Island on a blufftop overlooking the Amelia River. The park preserves the former plaza grounds of Fort San Carlos, which was constructed in 1816 and is largely protected as part of nearby Fort Clinch State Park. Historic markers at the park showcase the history and development of the plaza, with interpretive panels detailing its cultural uses. Park visitors can enjoy spectacular views of nearby Old Town Fernandina or enjoy picnic meals on the park's grassy lawn area. The park is also available for use for private special events, including weddings and community gatherings.
715 San Fernando St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
14.The Amelia Musical Playhouse
© The Amelia Musical Playhouse
The Amelia Musical Playhouse is a regional community theater playhouse that was originally founded in 2013 by Gregg and Jill Dillingham. The company, which is housed within a converted bar facility in Fernandina Beach's downtown district, has produced more than 90 theatrical productions since its inception, all backed by a full live orchestra of community musicians. A full lineup of Broadway-style musicals is presented throughout the year, with past seasons highlighting dramatic and comedic favorites such as South Pacific, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Les Miserables. Teen-focused productions highlight young performers from across Nassau County each year. The theater also partners with regional and national nonprofit organizations such as Take Stock in Children, the Amelia Island Museum, and the Council on Aging and provides community gathering space and live entertainment for a variety of community events.
1955 Island Walkway, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-277-3455
15.Blue Door Artists
© Blue Door Artists
Blue Door Artists is a gallery and art studio collective in Fernandina Beach, open to the public Mondays through Saturdays throughout the morning and afternoon hours. Eight individual art studios are open to regional artists renting work space and actively creating in a collaborative environment. Artists work in a variety of mediums, including sculpture, oil and watercolor painting, photography, jewelry, and mixed media. All visitors can meet and greet with artists as they work and learn the stories behind their creations. A selection of fine contemporary art is available for purchase, along with craft items such as handwoven baskets, cards, carved gourds, and home items. Workshops are offered periodically by some of the gallery's artists, open to participants of all ages and ability levels. Each second Saturday, the studio is open to the public during the evening hours, showcasing new works by featured artists.
205 Centre St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-491-7733
© Linda Harms/stock.adobe.com
American Beach is an historic beach community on Amelia Island, originally founded in 1935 by Florida's first African American millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, the founder of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company. The community was originally founded as a vacation community for company employees and their families, striving to serve as a place where African American residents could vacation without the humiliation of segregation or discrimination. During this period of the community's history, it played host to some of the region's most noted African American celebrities, including Ray Charles, Zora Neale Hurston, and Sherman Hemsley. Following desegregation in the 1960s after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the district's popularity as a vacation spot declined, though it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 for its significance in 20th century culture. Today, visitors can explore historic attractions such the Nana sand dune and historic park, which spans 8.5 acres throughout the community and is overseen by the National Park Service.
17.Egan's Creek Park
Egan's Creek Park is a 300-acre protected park and greenway in Fernandina Beach, spanning along Amelia Island's Egan's Greek. The park was originally developed as a passive recreational site and greenway in 2000, offering a labyrinth of grass-covered trails open to walkers and cyclists. Park visitors can observe regional wildlife such as alligators, bobcats, snakes, and native birds from the park's trails, with interpretive displays along the route offering information on the region's flora and fauna. Benches are also available throughout the park, along with an Explorer's Dome children's play apparatus. A day-use picnic pavilion offers picnic sites and public restrooms, while a kayak launch offers opportunities for paddlers to take to the waters surrounding the island. Other amenities include a quarter-mile fitness trail with outdoor fitness equipment areas.
2201 Atlantic Ave, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-310-3363
18.Fernandina Beach Market Place
Fernandina Beach Market Place is a weekly farmers' market hosted within Fernandina Beach's historic downtown district, located along North 7th Street. The market, which is open to the public each Saturday morning year-round rain or shine, is home to a wide variety of community farmers and vendors, including producers, bakers, and regional food vendors and carts. On the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, the adjacent Fernandina Beach Arts Market showcases the works of talented artists and craftsmen, all available for purchase by attendees. Well-behaved pets are permitted at the market, which also welcomes groups such as the Nassau Humane Society to provide information about pet adoption. Live music performances are showcased periodically, along with appearances by regional celebrities and entertainers.
N 7th St, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
19.George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park
© michael smith/stock.adobe.com
George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park is a Florida state park on Amelia Island, located at the border of Nassau and Duval Counties and accessible via State Route A1A. The park is named in honor of Florida State Representative George Crady, a major supporter of the Florida State Park system, and is open to the public each day between 8:00am and dusk for a nominal entrance fee. Visitors can make use of the park's mile-long ADA-accessible pedestrian fishing bridge, which stretches across Nassau Sound and provides some of northeastern Florida's best fishing conditions. Anglers can enjoy opportunities for catching tarpon, whiting, drum, and jack or try their luck at besting the 1983 world record flounder catch, which clocked in at over 20 pounds. Cyclists can also enjoy spectacular views of the Nassau Sound from the pier, with bicycle rentals available nearby at Kelly Seahorse Ranch.
9000 Heckscher Dr, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-251-2323
20.Marlin and Barrel Distillery
© Marlin and Barrel Distillery
Marlin and Barrel Distillery is a high-quality craft distillery in Fernandina Beach, owned and operated by Wyatt Griesmer since 2015. The distillery creates more than a dozen varieties of delicious liquors, emphasizing the use of locally-sourced citrus products such as oranges and grapefruit. Its signature vodka, Venture Vodka, is crafted from scratch with Florida molasses, known for its hints of sweetness. A standard vodka and a smoked pepper vodka variant is also available, the latter using peppers sourced from local company B&D Sauce Co. A wide variety of flavored and aged rums are sold, including Bearing 153, the state's highest-proof barrel-aged spirit. Other products include bourbon and American whiskeys, orangecello and grapefruitcello liqueurs, and the company's 2nd Street Gin, bottled with artwork designed by local artist Mico Fuentes. Tastings and tours are available at the company's public taproom, which also sells bottles of the company's liquors and branded merchandise.
115 S 2nd St a, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-556-3837
21.Amelia Island Lighthouse
Amelia Island Lighthouse is Florida's oldest preserved historic lighthouse, located along the northern end of Amelia Island at St. Mary's Entrance, which serves as an inlet entrance to the Cumberland Sound and St. Mary's River. The lighthouse was originally constructed in 1838 using materials recovered from Cumberland Island's former Little Cumberland Island Light, which was constructed in 1820. Its height was increased from 50 feet to 64 feet in 1881, while its reflector light size was increased to 15 inches in 1848. Today, the lighthouse is maintained by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. A third-order Barbier Benard Fresnel lens flashes white every 10 seconds, automated in 1970. Though the lighthouse itself has become a private residence today, visitors can embark on historic lighthouse tours with advance reservations, offered on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 10:00am.
215 O, Hagan Ln, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
22.Amelia River Cruises
Amelia River Cruises is a family-owned touring company in Fernandina Beach, operated by married duo Cecilia and Kevin McCarthy since 2000. The company offers a wide variety of excursion cruises and boating tours exploring the beautiful waterways of Amelia and Cumberland Islands, including a Cumberland Island tour showcasing Fernandina Beach's historic Old Town area, Fort Clinch State Park, and the wild horse populations of Cumberland Island. An afternoon Beach Creek Tour takes participants on an excursion to view the native salt marsh wildlife of Cumberland Island and the remains of the Dungeness Mansion, while a Shrimping Eco Tour details the practices and history of the region's shrimping industry. Other tour options include an Adult Twilight BYOB Cruise and a Family-Friendly Sunset Tour. Private boating charters can accommodate up to 80 passengers, with ADA accessible features and food and beverage services provided for participants.
1 N Front St Suite #3, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-261-9972
23.Fish Amelia Island
Fish Amelia Island is one of Fernandina Beach's premiere fishing charter guide companies, owned and operated by Captain Danny Flynn, a Jacksonville native and Pro Redfish Tour champion in 2010. The company operates chartered fishing tours aboard its 22-foot center console boat, known as the Fin Finder. Tours are available for participants of all ages and ability, levels, including professional anglers. Year-round fishing trips provide opportunities to catch a wide array of seasonal fish species, ranging from summer species such as trout, bull redfish, tarpon, and coba to autumn populations such as mangrove snapper, jacks, and a variety of shark species. Participants can also view populations of shorebirds and dolphins in the coastal waters around Amelia Island throughout the tour and bring cameras for wildlife watching and nature photography opportunities.
2103 Egret Ln, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-583-3131
24.Florida Adventure Sports
© James Steidl/stock.adobe.com
Florida Adventure Sports brings more than three decades of experience to all of its airborne Amelia Island tours, with 20, 40, and 60-minute tours available for participants of all ages. Licensed pilots take passengers aboard excursion flights on the company's Airborne XT-912 aircraft, one of the safest touring planes available today for private small excursions. Safety is a number-one goal for the company, which has logged more than 5,000 flight hours since its founding. Participants can catch bird's-eye glimpses of the beautiful scenery of the Sunshine State, including the gorgeous coastal maritime forest and salt marsh habitats of the Jacksonville and Nassau Sound region. Morning, evening, and twilight flights are available, along with motorized hang-gliding lessons and expeditions.
3990 Centurion Way #5202, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034, Phone: 904-430-3800
25.Amelia Island Downtown Tasting Tours
© Amelia Island Downtown Tasting Tours
Amelia Island Downtown Tasting Tours offer a fun and unique way to explore downtown Fernandina Beach and the Amelia Island region as part of group tasting tours sampling the island's delicious cuisine. Advance tickets are required for all tours, with early registration encouraged as tours frequently sell out well in advance of desired dates. Different area restaurants are explored on each tour to ensure variety for repeat tour participants, mixing and matching restaurants and cuisines to give participants a true taste of what the Fernandina Beach culinary scene has to offer. Tour packages include a Booze and Bites Tour, which lasts approximately two and a half hours and includes meet-and-greet sessions with chefs at two downtown eateries and mixologists at two downtown bars. The two-hour Amelia Island Downtown Cocktail Tour stops at four downtown bars, sampling the island's best cocktails and spirits. Private tour packages are available, including add-on package options for weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and birthday celebrations.
25 Best Things to Do on Amelia Island, Florida
- Fernandina Beach, Photo: gadzius/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Clinch State Park, Photo: steveottie/stock.adobe.com
- Fernandina Beach Historic District, Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com
- Amelia Island Kayak Excursions, Photo: Dudarev Mikhail/stock.adobe.com
- Backwater Cat Adventure, Photo: Backwater Cat Adventure
- Amelia Island State Recreation Area, Photo: John/stock.adobe.com
- The Amelia Island Museum of History, Photo: The Amelia Island Museum of History
- Amelia Island Horseback Riding, Photo: Image'in/stock.adobe.com
- The Fernandina Beach Pinball Museum, Photo: The Fernandina Beach Pinball Museum
- Bosque Bello Cemetery, Photo: EBFoto/stock.adobe.com
- Amelia Community Theatre, Photo: aerogondo/stock.adobe.com
- The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island, Photo: The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island
- Fernandina Plaza Historic State Park, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- The Amelia Musical Playhouse, Photo: The Amelia Musical Playhouse
- Blue Door Artists, Photo: Blue Door Artists
- American Beach, Photo: Linda Harms/stock.adobe.com
- Egan's Creek Park, Photo: Alicia/stock.adobe.com
- Fernandina Beach Market Place, Photo: Pete/stock.adobe.com
- George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park, Photo: michael smith/stock.adobe.com
- Marlin and Barrel Distillery, Photo: Marlin and Barrel Distillery
- Amelia Island Lighthouse, Photo: korionov/stock.adobe.com
- Amelia River Cruises, Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com
- Fish Amelia Island, Photo: kichigin19/stock.adobe.com
- Florida Adventure Sports, Photo: James Steidl/stock.adobe.com
- Amelia Island Downtown Tasting Tours, Photo: Amelia Island Downtown Tasting Tours
- Cover Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com