Fernandina Beach: Amelia Island’s Treasure
Fernandina Beach is home to a bustling waterfront on the Intracoastal Waterway
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The flip side of your Amelia Island Discovery Map offers a terrific overview of much of what Fernandina Beach has to offer. From its tree-lined streets in its historic downtown to its bustling waterfront on the Intracoastal Waterway (also known as the Amelia River), you can easily surmise the lay of the land of much of what is to see and do. Know, however, that these are just some of the highlights and if you venture out – especially on foot – you’ll discover even more on your own.
While in town, be sure to look above you to admire the fanciful Victorian architecture of Fernandina Beach’s historic homes. You’ll find lots of gingerbread on many of these prettily-painted late nineteenth-century gems as well as gabled roofs, verandas and many a widow’s walk. (Just think of all of those sea captains that never returned home either from having been lost at sea by a treacherous storm or from having fallen prey to a pirate attack.) You can trace the rich history of this enclave as well as that of all of Amelia Island and Nassau County at the Amelia Island Museum of History.
Housed in the old jail and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this little museum offers a treasure trove of exhibits and presentations that provide a storied look into the past. It’s also a great place for kids, who delight in their interactive children’s area. Check into their legendary ghost tours, which typically start at the St. Peter’s Episcopal Cemetery, too.
Stroll along Centre Street and Atlantic Avenue to admire some of the town’s most historic buildings, many of which now house terrific restaurants, bars, art galleries, boutiques and spas.
leave from this port. Even better, book a tour or an excursion ahead of time. Amelia Island Tourism and the Nassau County Chamber of Commerce websites provide great resources for that and much more. You can also stop into the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau, located right along Front Street.
It’s fun to take in the waterfront activity in this part of town and that may best be enjoyed from The Salty Pelican Bar & Grill, a convivial gathering place in a fantastic location. Established in 2012 by a couple of movers and shakers from the high-end hospitality business of the island and beyond, the food here rivals its location. (Note: Come for the dazzling harbor front vistas at sunset. And be sure to have a colorful cocktail in hand!) From spicy pelican wings AKA chicken wings to tuna tacos, their food is both tasty and reasonably priced.
Located at 1 South Front Street in Fernandina Beach, Brett’s Waterway Café also features nice views of the Fernandina Harbor and marina on the Amelia River. Here, too, you can dine indoors or outdoors and bask in the golden glow of a setting Floridian sun.
All this and more makes Fernandina Beach and all of Amelia Island a most attractive place all year round.