Highlights of beaches, lifestyle, top annual Festivals & events. Seaside sights and coastal nature at the Florida-Georgia border. Historic district highlights around downtown Fernandina -- tours, pubs & more.

Fernandina One of “South’s Best Small Towns” 2017

Fernandina Beach Downtown, Amelia Island, Florida
Fernandina, One of “South’s Best Small Towns 2017”

Southern Living magazine has published 2017’s “South’s Best Small Towns,” with Fernandina Beach landing on the list.  The other nine towns located in various states are noted futher below (with Fernandina the only one in Florida).

So what’s the hook about small towns? According to Southern Living:

…”the great ones all have a few things in common: a thriving downtown with locally owned restaurants, shops, and galleries; a touch of the artsy; loads of character; friendly locals; and, of course, a beautiful location.”

And Fernandina Beach, in particular:

“This little sand-in-your-shoes town on Amelia Island has a colorful, lively downtown you can explore before you head back to those Atlantic waves.”

More About Fernandina

Representatives of the Smithsonian Institute previously described local life in Fernandina Beach as “one of the best examples of small town living in the U.S.”

Fernandina Victorian Courthouse
Fernandina’s Victorian-Era Courthouse, Centre Street
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has also honored Fernandina Beach for its historic preservation. In fact, the Victorian-era seaport has appeared on a National Trust list of “12 top vacation destinations in the United States for historic preservation.”

Featuring lovely Victorian-era architecture, step back in time to the simpler days of yesteryear by exploring Amelia Island, Florida’s riverfront city. Wander around this area dubbed “downtown,” that branches out from the riverfront with central business corridor of Centre Street.

With historic district of 50-plus blocks on the National Register of Historic Places, there’s plenty to discover downtown. Fernandina features 400-plus historic structures on the National Register of Historic Places. Gaze at historic homes, churches, and commercial buildings.

Lesesne House on Centre Street, Downtown Fernandina Historic District
Lesesne House on Centre Street, Circa 1860
A community of small businesses, downtown Fernandina features many locally-owned restaurants, pubs, shops, art galleries, antiques and consignment purveyors. Also the hub of tour departures, ride in a horse-drawn carriage or a trolley and learn about local history highlights. Or hop aboard a river cruise tour from the downtown docks at the harbor.  Feel Fernandina’s relaxed vibe while strolling the charming streetscape. Enjoy a meal, coastal cocktail or craft beer. Or satisfy a sweet tooth with some ice cream or Fernandina fudge downtown.

While in Fernandina, the best of Southern hospitality can be enjoyed at downtown’s historic bed & breakfast inns, a representation of grand homes of the Golden Age. Also learn more about historic downtown Fernandina Beach.

And those “Atlantic waves” are just two miles across the island from downtown Fernandina, with sidewalks all the way. Main Beach Park (pictured below) is a straight shot from historic Centre Street when heading west along Atlantic Avenue to Amelia Island’s beaches.

Fernandina's Main Beach Boardwalk Along Atlantic Ocean
Fernandina’s Main Beach Boardwalk Along Atlantic Ocean

“South’s Best Winners 2017”

According to Southern Living, this new annual list resulting in “The South’s Best Winners 2017” was compiled from over 22,000 reader surveys about their “best-loved places” in a variety of categories.

“South’s Best Small Towns 2017”

1. Beaufort, SC
2. Fredericksburg, TX
3. Charlottesville, VA
4. Dahlonega, GA
5. Beaufort, NC
6. Fernandina Beach, FL
7. Auburn, AL
8. Wrightsville Beach, NC
9. Florence, AL
10. Madison, GA

See more and browse the other “best” categories at Southern Living magazine’s “The South’s Best Winners 2017.”

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