Florida January 02, 2018
The Historic Small Town That Every Floridian Should Visit At Least Once
This island town, which has topped many lists over the years both for best places to live and visit, has a beautiful historic downtown, unspoiled beaches, and plenty to see and do. For a day trip or an extended stay, this island paradise is the perfect destination.
Fernandina Beach sits at the tippy-top of Florida's Atlantic coast, about 35 miles from Jacksonville. It occupies the northern end of Amelia Island, which is the last of a chain of barrier islands that begins near South Carolina. The island is 13 miles long, meaning it has plenty of coastline for beautiful, natural beaches.
The area has a long and fascinating history. It is one of the oldest towns in Florida, with European settlement dating back to 1562. It is known as the "Isle of 8 Flags" due to the fact that eight different nations have flown their flag over the town at some point, more than any other place in the United States.
The island's legacy is evident in its historic downtown, which features lots of shops and restaurants and impressively preserved architecture. History buffs will enjoy a guided tour of the Amelia Island Museum, which is housed in the old Nassau County Jail.
For an intriguing blend of natural beauty and historic significance, head over to Fort Clinch State Park. Tunnels of ancient oaks lead to a stunning unspoiled shoreline, complete with its own fishing pier.
Step back in time to 1864 with a tour of the (quite photogenic) brick fortress and learn about the soldiers' lives through reenactments (held on the first weekend of the month).
With all of this exploring, you're bound to work up an appetite. Check out the laid-back local favorite Timoti’s Seafood Shack, where everything from tacos to sandwiches to soups are made with only wild-caught seafood. If you're not a fan of seafood, no problem. There are many, many dining choices in town.
While you're perusing the shops and cafes downtown, make sure you stop by the Palace Saloon, which just so happens to be the oldest still-operating bar in Florida. If you're in the mood for more spirits, you're just steps away from local distillery Marlin & Barrel.
For a unique experience, plan an excursion to Georgia's Cumberland Island, which is just a short ferry ride from Fernandina Beach. Some of the sights here include lovely scenery, historic ruins, and wild horses.
Well, what do you think? Have we convinced you to visit this historic small town?