Fernandina Beach, Florida

Fernandina Beach is the major city on Amelia Island which is situated on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, north of Jacksonville by about 30 miles. Amelia island is the northernmost of Florida's Atlantic barrier islands and sits across Cumberland Sound, south of the Cumberland Islands in Georgia. Fernandina Beach's population as of the year 2000 census was 10,549 but the inflow of tourists during season increases the total significantly.

Fernandina Beach is the only city on Amelia Island but not the only attraction. It is one of Florida's deep water ports and has been coveted since the Spanish settled the area (See pictures of Fernandina Beach, Fort Clinch and other Amelia Island attractions.) Besides the great Atlantic beach for swimming, sunbathing and fishing, visitors can wander the historic downtown area, which is well preserved as is the "Old Town" district. 

Historic downtown Fernandina Beach is situated along the Amelia River, south of the port facilities, along the railroad tracks and across from the Fernandina Harbor Marina. The compact placement allows easy exploring of this city's best known features. However, this charming area is filled with small shops, restaurants and historic buildings and touring time seems to disappear as rapidly as the setting sun. Luckily, many downtown establishments keep evening hours and you can continue to bask in the ambiance of this quaint little town far into the night.

Up river from the downtown area is "Old Town", an original settlement area known as Fernandina. Now, an historic homes area, it was once an Indian encampment upon which the Spanish built the first fort - Fort San Carlos - in order to guard the sea entrance into the deep water port area. From the fort, built on the bluffs overlooking the river, it was easy to see into Cumberland Sound and the St. Mary's River, the inlet from the Atlantic. Today, while the fort is long gone, these same views, without the threat of battle, provide scenic pleasure for visitors to this peaceful area.

While there are plenty of historic sites and beach areas to visit in Fernandina Beach, don't overlook a ride into some of the residential neighborhoods. Broad Oaks and lush greenery both shade and trim some very pretty off-water homes. In these serene settings one can imagine bands of ancient Indians hunting and roaming in the hills and pirates plying the backwaters. In one such neighborhood you'll likely run across the Amelia Island Lighthouse. Though closed to the public (in 2004), lighthouse lovers must go by to see it.

The beaches of Fernandina Beach beckon to an older time. Housing is constructed well off the beach, behind the large sand dunes. Wood-planked "walkovers" are built along the contour of the dunes in order to provide access across the dunes to the beach without disturbing the dunes area. The dunes provide a natural barrier between the ocean and the man-made structures and vary from 6 to 12 feet in height and hundreds of feet deep. Deep coarse, white sand forms the basis of these Atlantic beaches, un-crowded and unspoiled.

Simply put, Fernandina Beach is one of the biggest little cities you'll ever find. It's a pleasure to drive around the city and discover its many secrets. Take a stroll through historic downtown; enjoy lunch or a sunset dinner at the marina; celebrate sunrises at the beach - take your pick. This is a city you'll fall in love with.

On Amelia Island's northern tip, guarding the pass into Cumberland Sound and the deep water port of Fernandina for over 150 years or so is Fort Clinch. Construction on the fort began in 1847 but was never completed. Work continued during and after the American Civil War, with each side occupying the fort for a time but developments in weaponry doomed this brick and earthen fort. Fort Clinch has seen service during the Civil War, Spanish-American War and the Second World War. It became one of Florida's first parks in 1937.

Visitors to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida can tour many local cities by car.  Jacksonville, Yulee, Mayport and the beach towns of Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach are all within a 30-45 minute ride. The historic city of St. Augustine is about an hour away and Daytona Beach about 90 minutes. This area can be accessed best by aircraft from the Jacksonville International Airport (30 minutes).

Directory of

Northeast Florida Area Cities

Nassau County

Amelia Island

Fernandina Beach



Duval County

Atlantic Beach
Jacksonville Beach
Neptune Beach


Flagler County

Beverly Beach
Flagler Beach
Palm Coast


St. Johns County

St. Augustine
St. Augustine Beach

Butler Beach
Crescent Beach
Fruit Cove
Palm Valley
Villano Beach




Walkover at Fernandina Beach

The beach at Fernandina Beach


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Downtown Fernandina Beach


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View from Fort San Carlos


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Marina and floating dock


More pictures from Fernandina Beach are available for your review.




Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce serving Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island.


Nearby cities to check for activities and attractions: Yulee, Jacksonville and Jacksonville Beach.


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