Beach visitors should be aware of an important beach ordinance that applies to all Amelia Island beaches in the county of Nassau in northeast Florida.
“Carry On, Carry Off”
Nothing should be left unattended on the beach after 8 pm. Any beach gear left overnight will be removed and discarded. Please follow the “carry on, carry off” rule when visiting Amelia Island’s beachfront.
Help Keep The Beaches Clean
The beach ordinance aims to keep the beaches 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 sea turtles that nest along the beachfront every summer and gopher tortoises of the dunes.
The wording of the Nassau County beach ordinance follows:
“Nassau County Ordinance No. 2016-06 prohibits and regulates personal property left unattended on Atlantic Beach oceans within the unincorporated areas of Amelia Island. Personal items left unattended on the unincorporated area of the County beach from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. will be declared a public nuisance and will be removed and destroyed. Personal property includes but is not limited to: tents (including tent frames), cabanas, umbrellas and other shading devices, beach chairs, and other furniture such as picnic tables, tiki huts, volleyball nets, hammocks, floats, sailboards, surfboards, kites, jet skis, sailboats, water cycles, and other watercraft, beach toys, grills, nets, coolers, canoes, kayaks, and general items for beach recreation.”
For Nature’s Sake
Be aware that another beach ordinance requires dogs be kept leashed AT ALL TIMES at the beach (and picking up after your dog). Note that NO DOGS ARE ALLOWED on the beachfront at Amelia Island’s Florida State Parks — Fort Clinch on the northend and Amelia Island State Park on southend. Besides the nesting sea turtles and gopher tortoises, shore and sea birds also visit and nest on beaches. Even “resting birds” on the beach (a coastal habitat relied upon for survival), are disturbed/dispersed by dogs and humans using the beach. Please respect all wildlife at the coast and keep your distance whenever possible.
Beach Etiquette: Tips To Help Coastal Critters
1. Refrain from bringing dogs to the beach, especially in spring/summer nesting season.
2. While not all birds on the beach are nesting, don’t disturb RESTING birds either. Although it’s a fun childhood impulse to run into a flock of birds to send them soaring, please teach children not to disturb birds on the beach. Keep as wide a distance as possible from birds. If you send them up in flight, you’ve encroached their space.
3. As noted above, follow the “carry on carry off rule” of all beach gear.
4. Fill in holes and trenches dug in the sand and flatten sand castles before leaving the beach.
5. If you happen upon a nesting sea turtle at night on the beach, stay back in the distance, don’t shine flashlights or use flash photography, she may abandon the nest.
6. Property owners and guests at oceanfront lodging are advised to turn off outdoor lights facing the beach and keep curtains and blinds closed at night during sea turtle nesting season (May 1 – Oct. 31) as artificial light can disorient nesting sea turtles and hatchlings.
Find out more about “sharing the shore with wildlife” and watch Florida Audubon video tips. Also see be a “Beach Hero” brochure and more tips at the city of Fernandina Beach website.