Nassau County Beaches To Open May 1st, Fernandina’s City Beaches Open May 4, 2020
Nassau County’s beachfront from Peters Point to the border of Amelia Island State Park on the south end, will open on Friday, May 1, 2020. This is sooner than the May 6th date set previously last week. Nassau County commissioners decided to move the date earlier at the board’s meeting held Wednesday, April 29th.
Nassau County Beach Hours
Also note that when the beaches open, the hours have been expanded to be all day (6 a.m. to 9 p.m). Some beach activity restrictions have also been eliminated.
The Atlantic seashore within the County’s section of Amelia Island’s beachfront includes Peters Point and the nearby Summer Beach Resort area, the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton, historic American Beach, Omni Amelia Island Plantation, The Residence, and The Sanctuary.
Separately, the city of Fernandina’s section of beachfront further north on Amelia Island will be opening a few days later, on Monday, May 4th (see info about city at end of article).
Respect Social Distancing Guidelines
Reiterated by various Nassau County commissioners at the April 29, 2020 board meeting, was a message to the public about the importance of respecting CDC social distancing guidelines. Be sure to limit groups to 10 or less, and keep a minimum distance of six feet from other groups and other individuals on the beach.
Unlike the previous (more limited) plan devised for the May 6th opening (fewer hours and restricted to exercise/physical activities only), the public as of May 1st is free to enjoy Nassau County’s Atlantic seashore beaches all day for stationary activities as well (such as sitting and sunbathing).
So get ready to go watch a sunrise from the beach, take a walk, jog, bike or fish. Many may rather just lounge along the seashore and watch the kids play in the tidal pools that form with the ebb and flow of tides.
Penalties For Parking After Hours
Note that the owners of vehicles left at beach parking lots after 9:01 p.m. are subject to fines of $500 and/or 60 days in jail. The County’s beach parking lots are located at Peters Point, Burney Park at historic American Beach, Scott Road and the South End beach access. Another plan revision, Scott Road and the Southend Beach access parking lots will be opened to the public (not kept closed as initially planned per last week’s county meeting).
Prohibited at beach parking lots at this time are RVs and campers (no camping allowed on the beaches), and no vehicles larger than a pickup truck. Additionally, another change was made from the former May 6th plan, that would have restricted beach parking lots to Nassau County-registered vehicles only. This has been nixed for the revised May 1st plan, so parking is not limited to Nassau-registered vehicles only.
No Driving/Parking On Beach
Note that vehicular traffic will be prohibited on the beach (except for emergency vehicles, official service vehicles, Sea Turtle Patrol, etc.) Thus, when Nassau County’s beachfront parks initially reopen, the public will not be able to drive onto and park in the sand at the beach, at this time.
No Commercial Activities
No commercial activities are allowed at Nassau County, Florida beaches (including no horseback riding), with the reopening of the beaches. The county will reconsider the status of commercial activities every seven days going forward.
Fernandina’s Beaches Opens May 4, 2020
Full access to Fernandina’s beachfront for all activities, with social distancing, will start Monday, May 4, 2020 at 6 a.m. Fernandina’s largest beach access parks are Main Beach, Seaside Park and North Beach.
However, be aware that the Seaside Park beach access (pictured below) will temporarily be closed to vehicles at this time. There will be no parking in the sand on the beach.
Mayor of Fernandina Beach, Johnny Miller, made the announcement about city beaches around 10:30 a.m. on Wed., April 29, 2020 on Facebook as follows:
“City beaches WILL open Monday, May 4, at 6:00 AM for full access and activities with compliance with social distancing and gathering to be monitored. All parking areas will be open with the exception of on-beach parking at Seaside Park (Sadler Road)- due to the usual high-density of beach traffic and pedestrians at that site. It is the further intent to restore on-beach parking after observing appropriate compliance with social distancing restrictions.”
Other City Parks/Facilities Update
“For the time being, other Fernandina Beach recreational facilities (Atlantic Recreation Center; Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center; Peck Center; pickleball, tennis, and basketball courts; and skate park) will remain closed to the public,” according to another city statement on their Facebook page in the afternoon of April 29, 2020.
However, the reopening of the Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course is planned for Monday, May 4, 2020.