MAIN BEACH PARK, FERNANDINA BEACH, FLORIDA PHOTO GALLERY (Click on gallery below to flip through photos.)
PETER’S POINT PARK, AMELIA ISLAND, FLORIDA
Peter’s Point, on South Fletcher Avenue, is a free public beach park on Amelia Island (Nassau County, Florida) with very large parking area (including equestrian horse trailer parking), restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables and barbeques. Peter’s Point borders the Carlton Dunes (near the Ritz-Carlton). Those with children (and all the beach gear that goes with kids) and a 4 wheel drive vehicle will find beach driving here particularly convenient — not having to carry the beach chairs, boogie boards, beach toys, picnic lunches, etc. over to the beach from parking lot. See more further below about beach driving permits. Peter’s Point has three lifeguard towers with Ocean Rescue personnel daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend.
SEASIDE PARK, FERNANDINA BEACH, FLORIDA
In between Main Beach Park toward the north end of Amelia Island, and Peter’s Point toward the southend of the island, is Seaside Park near Sliders (at the roundabout of South Fletcher Avenue and Sadler Road). There is a smaller public parking lot at Seaside Park (free) with dune walkovers and a couple of picnic tables, and in April 2011, new public restrooms were added.
Limited beach driving is allowed at Seaside Park, so with a beach-worthy 4 wheel drive vehicle, it’s possible to drive onto the beach and park (during special events, however, beach driving is suspended). Beware, it’s tempting to drive onto the beach here (and this beach access in particular is a frequented location of tow trucks servicing the stuck). Sliders is an oceanfront restaurant/bar, a local landmark, with outdoor tiki bar and often has live entertainment. Also close by Seaside Park near the roundabout is a beach equipment rental shop and place to rent bicycles, for those who’d like to pedal around Amelia Island (bicycle riding at low tide right on the beach is a great Amelia Island experience.) Seaside Park has lifeguards during the summer season.
FERNANDINA BEACH’S “NORTH BEACH PARK”
North Beach Park, a smaller beach access point within Fernandina Beach with some parking, a wooden dune walkover with two pavilions, provides beach access on Amelia Island’s northern end from North Fletcher Avenue. There is one lifeguard station at this beach area, but no restrooms.
BEWARE OCEAN RIP CURRENTS
When at the beach, pay attention to signs and flags warning ocean conditions (i.e. red flag, yellow flag, green flag, purple flag). Sometimes dangerous rip currents are present and swimmers can drown. Information about rip currents are posted at the beaches, also see more at the city of Fernandina’s website.
BEACH RULES — IT’S NOT BYOB
Don’t bring alcohol to Amelia Island’s beaches. There’s no littering and no glass allowed on Amelia Island’s beaches. It’s unlawful for any person to consume or drink beer, wine, or alcoholic beverage at any County-owned or controlled recreation area. Possession of any open container holding an alcoholic beverage is prohibited. Violations are punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 and/or ten days incarceration.
DOGS LEASH LAW
Dogs must be under a leash at all times at the beach and littering is prohibited. Bring doggie bags and pick after pets immediately. Pet owners not complying can be the recipient of an expensive ticket.
DRIVING ON AMELIA ISLAND BEACHES
Don’t drive on the beach unless you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Only drive in the limited designated areas where signs are posted (Seaside Park in the city, county beaches Peter’s Point, Scott Road, Burney Park) and also Amelia Island State Park at southern tip of the island. Plenty of tourists get stuck in the sand and require a tow truck, a common sight next to Sliders at Seaside Park. Non-Nassau County residents are required to obtain a permit to drive or park on county beaches. Permits can be obtained at the Nassau County Historic Courthouse on Centre Street in Fernandina (904-491-6430) or at Hall’s Beach Store (904-310-6124) located near Sliders at corner of Sadler Rd. and South Fletcher Ave. in Fernandina Beach. (No permit required for vehicle owners who are handicapped or disabled.)
FORT CLINCH, ONE OF FLORIDA’S BEAUTIFUL, NATURAL STATE PARKS ON AMELIA ISLAND’S NORTH TIP
Apart from the free beach access parks noted above, if you want to see the one of the most natural areas of Amelia Island, pay a small fee to enter Fort Clinch State Park. It’s a great deal and beautiful spot to spend the day on Amelia Island. Fort Clinch State Park has lovely, uncrowded beachfront on both the Atlantic and Cumberland Sound. The Atlantic Ocean beachfront at Fort Clinch is accessible by wooden walkways over what is probably the island’s largest remaining area of undisturbed natural dunes.
Fort Clinch is a must-see attraction on Amelia Island,with over 1,200 acres, a half-mile long fishing pier, historic fort tours, picnic area with playground equipment, hiking and biking trails. (Tip: bring bug spray if you plan to go to the picnic/playground area near the fort or hike/bike in the wooded areas of the park.) The entry fee for Fort Clinch State Park is $6.00 per vehicle, 2 to 8 passengers. Fort Clinch State Park is open daily from 8 am until sunset. Tour the historic fort itself for an additional $2 per person. Like sleeping under the stars? A camping adventure awaits you at Fort Clinch State Park, with some campsites just steps away from the riverfront and great fishing spots.
The Fort Clinch entrance is located at 2601 Atlantic Avenue, near the Fletcher Avenue intersection, close to Main Beach in Fernandina Beach. Construction of the fort began in 1847, but it was never 100% completed. During the later years of the civil war, the fort was occupied by both Confederate and Union troops. Pedal through the park by bike, a great place to take a bike ride on Amelia Island. It’s a 3-mile bike ride into the park from the entrance at Atlantic Avenue to the fort in the rear of the park, perched above the Cumberland Sound. There are also wooded bike riding trails within the park for mountain bikes. For more information call Fort Clinch State Park at (904)277-7274. Note that there are no lifeguard towers in this state park.
A FLORIDA STATE PARK, “AMELIA ISLAND STATE PARK” ON AMELIA’S SOUTHERN TIP
In addition to Fort Clinch State Park on the northend of Amelia Island, at the opposite tip of the island is the Amelia Island State Park. Kelly Seahorse Ranch operates horseback riding tours from this state park, where riders can experience horseback riding right on the beach. (There aren’t many places on the east coast of the US where people can ride horses on the shoreline.)(Also see Amelia Island’s BEACH ORDINANCES page…)
Amelia Island State Recreation Area (State Road A1A just before the bridge that takes you off Amelia’s south-end), contains over 200 acres of untouched land, beaches, salt marsh, and forest — a wonderful natural environment. It is open all year long, with a bargain admission price of only $2. (This area of Amelia Island is a favorite spot of local fishermen who cast from the shore.) Driving on the beach is allowed (with permit for non-county residents) in Amelia Island State Park. Only drive on the beach here around low tide, since the beach gets narrow at high tide along the entry/exit area of the park. Note that there are no lifeguard towers in this state park. For further information call (904)251-2320.
TIDAL POOLS FOR THE KIDS AT LOW TIDE ON AMELIA ISLAND
Low tide sometimes offers wonderful tidal pools on Amelia Island’s beachfront, ideal playgrounds for the little ones. So, if you have young children, a wonderful time to visit Amelia Island beaches is around low tide. You will often find tidal puddles that will bring glee to the young as they play in shallow water and chase darting minnows that often get trapped in the pools. Parents will be able to relax a wee bit more, with diminished stress watching children in the less-threatening tidal pools (as compared to supervising children in the ocean waves with potentially strong currents).
THE BEACHES ARE NOT JUST A SUMMERTIME PLACE
During the cooler months, many find beachcombing in both late fall and mild winter days, a very peaceful and gratifying experience on Amelia Island. “Off-peak” beach season (November thru March), there may only be a handful of people for miles on Amelia Island’s beaches — you can really experience some solitude at the beach. The season for swimming at Amelia Island beaches is usually from around mid-April to late April, right through September (with the average high air temperature 87°), and sometimes into October (average high air temp is 80°).
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