Amelia Island & Fernandina Beach
Enjoy an Island escape just a short drive from Downtown Jacksonville.
Only a 45-minute drive north from Downtown Jacksonville, this tiny barrier Island is relaxation central -- a golf and spa haven for leisure and business travelers! The Island’s only city, Fernandina Beach, is a charming historic town known for its artwork, antiques, boutiques, and the world famous Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival every spring. Some must see attractions on Amelia Island are Fort Clinch State Park, which served as a military post during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War II. Tour the Amelia Island Lighthouse, which began operating in 1839 and still operates today and visit American Beach, which was founded in 1935 by A.L. Lewis, Florida's first African-American millionaire. It served as the only beach opened to African-Americans until the late 1960s.
Getting Here from Downtown: Take I-95 north to A1A and follow the signs to Amelia Island.
4 Not-To-Be Missed Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach Attractions
1. Horseback Riding on the Beach
Located at Amelia Island State Park, Kelly Seahorse Ranch offers guided horseback tours on the beautiful white, sandy beaches of southern Amelia Island -- one of the few places in Florida where horseback riding on the beach is allowed.
2. Fort Clinch State Park
A military post during the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War II, is one of the most-well preserved 19th century forts in the nation. Daily tours are offered. There are camping facilities as well as a 6-mile hike and bike trail.
3. Amelia River Cruises & Charters
This guided boat tour offers visitors views of Fernandina’s historic waterfront, a close look at wild horses on Cumberland Island and the history of Amelia Island. It is a unique coastal experience with several tours offered, including an eco-tour, sunset tour and a history/nature tour. Dolphins, manatees, wild horses and local birds can be seen during the tours.
4. American Beach
Established in 1935, this historic beach town was Florida’s first vacation haven for African-American visitors before desegregation. The weekend getaway and resort community is now on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Blogs by First Coast Magazine
March 30, 2015 1:49 pm EDT
Take a leisurely stroll down St. Johns Avenue in Avondale, and you’re bound to find yourself peeking through the plate glass of Biscottis.
March 16, 2015 3:00 pm EDT
While growing up in Chicago, Chef DeJuan Roy knew what he wanted to do with his life. He spent his teens working in the kitchens of various restaurants, and joined the Army as a cook.
March 12, 2015 2:22 pm EDT
Local speakeasy features old-school spirits and sounds.
January 22, 2015 10:05 am EST
Scott Meyer operates the nation’s smallest rice farm. It’s the only one in Jacksonville. And he’s fairly certain it’s the only one in Florida.
July 21, 2014 9:32 pm EDT
Almost 100 years ago in a community rich with potato farming tradition, but light on technology, Danny Johns’ great-grandfather pioneered the first horseless farm in Hastings.
Blogs by Katie
November 01, 2013 4:13 pm EDT
Get Hooked on Fishing at Mayport! There’s no better way to see the beauty of Jacksonville’s beaches than to fish its waters – and no lack of opportunities to do it, either.
March 15, 2013 5:48 pm EDT
Has anyone ever said to you “What’s there to do in Jacksonville?” or “What makes Jax so special?”. Here's an easy answer...
November 20, 2012 4:43 pm EST
The Light Boat Parade is a uniquely Jacksonville experience and there's fireworks! Be sure to make plans to watch.
August 24, 2012 12:39 pm EDT
I love trying new things - why not clay shooting?
August 06, 2012 1:57 pm EDT
Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary, a big cat rescue here in Jacksonville, is a great unique attraction, the likes of which I've never seen before. Read more.
Blogs by Becky
August 01, 2015 9:18 am EDT
Need one last trip to finish out your summer? Not ready to send the kids back to school yet? Well Summer is going strong in Jacksonville, and August is the perfect time for one last hurrah!
July 05, 2015 1:44 pm EDT
Apex predators, misunderstood sea creatures, oversized fish – the shark gets called a lot of things these days, but one thing is for sure, people are fascinated by them.
June 28, 2015 10:32 am EDT
Fireworks, fishing, festivals and fun abound this July in Jacksonville.
June 04, 2015 2:53 pm EDT
June in Jax is action packed. With the heartpumping speeds of powerboats zipping along the mighty St. Johns at the P1 Jacksonville Grand Prix and the aerial acrobatics performed by daring skateboarders in honor of Go Skate Day, there’s plenty of excitement to go around.
May 01, 2015 8:43 am EDT
There are plenty of reasons to visit Jacksonville in May. The weather is warm, the ocean is inviting, the flowers are in bloom, and the farm-to-table restaurants are getting ready to change their seasonal menus from Spring to Summer.
Blogs by Captain Dave Sipler
April 21, 2015 11:44 am EDT
I hear it all the time. "We're coming to Jacksonville, staying at the beach, at a nice hotel with a fancy swimming pool, because the kids are out of school and wondered what else can we do with our kids?"
August 05, 2014 1:58 pm EDT
July was, and August will be too..... Teeth Month, aboard Capt Dave's Jettywolf. From Barracuda's to Sharks, it's all about "Sport Fishing" for the BIG ONES!
July 10, 2014 3:31 pm EDT
Hello Anglers! Summer has been here for quit a while in N.E. Florida. Most of you don't really care what month the calendar says. As a fisherman, I call it summer when the Spanish Mackerel show up at the inlet. And that happened back in May!
May 29, 2014 5:01 pm EDT
Hello Folks, Captain Dave Sipler here.....I'm going to tell you all about Jacksonville's fishing opportunities every month for the next six months.
Blogs by Kacie Couch
July 30, 2014 5:02 pm EDT
When you think of a pink bird, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? For most people, it would be a flamingo. The flamingo is a very beautiful (and very pink) bird, but it is not a local species to say the least. Lucky for us, we have our own species of pink bird wading in our North Florida waters!
May 29, 2014 4:56 pm EDT
“What a strange looking bird!” exclaimed the bearded man as we looked up at the helicopter flying overhead. It was a beautiful day in July and we were standing outside. I was wearing a sundress that came down to my knees and he was decked out in a woolen long-sleeved uniform. In JULY… In Florida. This was right after he called me a “jezebel,” no less.