Keep The Beaches Clean!
Please respect the beaches and coastal wildlife! It’s good for all to keep the beaches and waterways of this northeast Florida barrier island clean of beach debris and safe for locals, visitors and wildlife. The goal is to ensure safety of all beachgoers, including visiting sea turtles, sea and shore birds.
Be Aware of Beach Ordinances
Amelia Island visitors should be aware of local beach ordinances, especially the newest one, very important for the summer beach season coinciding with nesting period for sea turtles who visit this northeast Florida beachfront at night.
“Carry On, Carry Off”
Nothing should be left on the beach after 8 pm. Any beach gear left behind (chairs, umbrellas, tents, beach shelters, towels, buckets, boogie boards, etc.), will be picked up nightly by patrols and destroyed. Please follow the “carry on, carry off” rule or you’ll lose your stuff. Each morning, it’s OK to place beach gear at the oceanfront starting at 6 am. Items left on the beach overnight become an obstacle course, interfering with sea turtle nesting season (May 1 – October 31). Fill in holes dug at the beach before departing, they can be dangerous at night and also potentially interfere with nesting sea turtles.
Fernandina Beach Balloon Ban
Released balloons (that eventually end up in the ocean) are dangerous to sea turtles and marine life. “Fernandina Beach became the twelfth [Florida] municipality to adopt Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s balloon ban. When deflated, balloons end up in the ocean, they often resemble jellyfish, a common prey item for sea turtles.”
NO GLASS ALLOWED ON THE BEACH. LITTERING IS PROHIBITED — All the beach parks on Amelia Island are free to the public. Please be considerate! Put trash in garbage cans (or risk getting a ticket).
NO BOOZE ON BEACH– Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on the beach.
BEACH BARBECUES — No grills are allowed on the beach. However, Main Beach Park and Peter’s Point have BBQs near the picnic tables just off the beach.
DOGS ON THE BEACH — Dogs are allowed on Nassau County’s Atlantic coast beaches, but must be on a leash at all times. Pet owners are responsible for immediate clean up. Fernandina’s Main Beach Park has a doggie trash bag dispenser near the public restrooms (but bring your own bags since they can run out). Pet owners not following rules can be ticketed. Dogs are NOT ALLOWED on the beachfront in state parks (Fort Clinch and Amelia Island State Park).
PARKING AT THE BEACH — The two largest public beach access parking lots (offering free parking, restroom/outdoor showers, picnic tables and BBQs) and the most lifeguard stands are located at Main Beach Park and Peter’s Point. See also AMELIA ISLAND BEACHES in Travel Guide section for photos and details of the island’s largest public beach parks with free parking and amenities at each beach access.
PUBLIC RESTROOMS AT THE BEACH — Public restrooms are also located at Seaside Park (near Sliders at Sadler Road) and Burney Park at American Beach on the island’s southend. Lifeguard stations are also located at these beach access points during summer season (two at Seaside Park, one at Burney Park) full time daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend (weekdays 11 am to 5 pm and weekends 10 am to 5 pm).
Handicap Beach Access
Handicap accessible areas of the beachfront are located at North Beach Park (off North Fletcher Avenue), Main Beach (Atlantic and South Fletcher) Seaside Park (Sadler Rd. and South Fletcher), and Peter’s Point (South Fletcher toward the Ritz-Carlton). However, the easiest access to the beach for wheelchairs, strollers and walkers is from the Main Beach Park boardwalk where a “Mobi-Mat” was installed in 2016 providing a long mat to cross the softest sand for closest ocean access.
BEACH WHEELCHAIRS: The City of Fernandina Beach Parks & Recreation Department has two (2) beach wheelchairs available for reservation. According to their website, “a refundable deposit of $50 per chair and a copy/imprint of a major credit card and driver’s license are required.” For more info, making a reservation, call Atlantic Recreation Center at 904-310-3350.
SEA OATS & DUNES — Please stay off the dunes, they are are environmentally sensitive areas and the sea oats within them protected by Florida state law, see statute. Sea oats and dune vegetation help stabilize the dunes, please use designated beach access points and dune walkovers. Learn more about helping to protect the beach and coastal wildlife habitat, see “How To Be A Beach Hero” brochure at city of Fernandina Beach website.
AMELIA ISLAND BEACH DRIVING — 4 wheel drive vehicles can access the beach in limited areas at Seaside Park, Scott Road, Peter’s Point, Burney Park, and Amelia Island State Park. However, all non-county residents are required to have a beach driving permit. “Vehicular traffic is prohibited on the dunes or native stabilizing vegetation of the dune system,” see Florida statute. According to Nassau County’s website, beach driving permits can be obtained at: Flash Foods 904-261-3113 (5518 South Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina Beach, FL), the Nassau County Historic Courthouse 904-491-6430 (416 Centre Street, Fernandina Beach), Judicial Annex 904-548-4500 (76347 Veterans Way, Yulee, FL) and the A1A Express Discount 904-310-6163 (3331 South Fletcher Avenue, Fernandina Beach).
Beware Rip Currents
Upon entering the beach, take note of signs explaining the threat of rip currents and water condition warning flags. According to U.S. Life Saving Association, 80% of lifeguard rescues are due to rip currents. People drown every year in Florida when caught in rip currents, see article “Rip Currents Take Lives in Northeast Florida.” Lifeguards are on duty at Amelia Island’s main beach parks during the summer season, enter water near lifeguard stations (see lifeguard hours at the beach and more about rip currents).
MORE ABOUT SEA TURTLE SEASON: Sea turtle nesting season is May 1 – October 31st. Leave nests and baby turtle hatchlings undisturbed. Properties along the beach should restrict lighting that shines on the beach. See more about Fernandina Beach lighting code. Find out more about sea turtle nesting season at Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch website.