Looking for an Amelia Island beach access with lots of amenities and a boardwalk to stroll?
Then head to Main Beach Park located at Atlantic and South Fletcher Avenue (free beach parking at large lot). Main Beach Park offers public restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables, barbecues, gazebos, volleyball courts, children’s playground, oceanfront restaurant/bar, mini-golf, outdoor skate park, and outdoor multi-purpose courts (basketball and inline hockey). Main Beach has four lifeguard towers manned daily Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Enjoyed by generations at Main Beach is Fernandina’s Putt-Putt. This mini-golf location oceanfront has been here for more than 60 years (open seasonally). The Sandbar and Kitchen is an oceanfront restaurant/bar at Main Beach. Another restaurant is under construction, Salt Life Food Shack, across from Putt Putt, with estimated opening perhaps before year end 2018.
ACCESSIBILITY: Wheelchairs, walkers and strollers can utilize a “Mobi-Mat,” semi-permanently installed at Main Beach.
The City of Fernandina Beach Parks & Recreation Department also offers three beach wheelchairs available for reservation (refundable deposit of $100 per chair required, paid via major credit card and driver’s license required). Call Atlantic Recreation Center at 904-310-3350.
More Beach Patrols
Amelia Island’s other biggest beach parks and amenities are listed further below. Nassau County’s growth — both population and Amelia Island tourism — means more crowds around the island and more people on the beaches. Fernandina Beach has implemented a new “Beach Ranger” program in 2018. Here’s a quick summary of some beach laws (but pay attention to signs at the beach):
Amelia Island is known for its dog-friendly beaches. However, not all dogs are friendly, and some people are afraid of them, so please be considerate.
Dog Leash Law
Dogs must be under a leash at all times in control of the owner. Owners not complying with Fernandina’s leash law, or not carrying a waste disposal bag or pooper scooper device while walking a dog on city beaches, can receive a $75 citation. However, penalty might double to $150 (being addressed at upcoming city commission meeting.) NO DOGS allowed on beach at Fort Clinch and Amelia Island State Park.
Possession of any open container holding an alcoholic beverage is prohibited. Violations are punishable by a fine and/or incarceration.
is allowed on Amelia Island’s beaches.
“Carry On, Carry Off” Rule
Per local beach ordinance, nothing should be left on the beachfront after 8 pm. Any beach gear left behind (chairs, umbrellas, tents, beach shelters, towels, buckets, boogie boards, etc.), can be picked up nightly by patrols and discarded. Please follow the “carry on, carry off” rule or risk losing your stuff. Each morning, it’s OK to place beach gear at the oceanfront starting at 6 am. Leaving “only your footprints” is especially important since the beach is busiest during warmer months coinciding with sea turtle nesting (May to October).
Please throw away trash properly in garbage cans! “It shall be unlawful and a violation for any person to throw, drop, discharge, deposit, or otherwise place trash, garbage, refuse, debris, or rubbish in or upon any park, playground, beach, or public recreational area.”
Peters Point Park
Peters Point, South Fletcher Avenue (Nassau County, Florida) offers large, free parking area, restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables and barbecues. This park’s beachfront has four lifeguard towers with Ocean Rescue personnel daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. For cyclists, the Amelia Island Trail, a 6.2 mile path for biking and hiking, is available from Peters Point.
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 public restrooms. Sliders located at Seaside Park is an oceanfront restaurant with outdoor tiki bar and often has live entertainment. Across the street near the roundabout is a beach bike and gear rental shop. Seaside Park has lifeguard towers with Ocean Rescue personnel daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Burney Park (beach access #109), is located south of Peters Point (in between Summer Beach and Omni Amelia Island Plantation). There is a large free parking lot, restrooms, outdoor showers, a gazebo, a few picnic tables and lifeguard towers manned daily from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Historic American Beach was a vacation spot for wealthy African Americans back when beaches in America were segregated. Today, American Beach is the first stop on the Florida Black Heritage Trail with approximately 50 homes remaining from the 1940s and 1950s. Also visit the American Beach Museum open Friday and Saturday 10 am to 2 pm and Sunday 1 to 5 pm, (904)-510-7036, located at 1600 Julia Street, not far from the beach.
Fort Clinch State Park offers over 1,400 acres, historic fort tours, picnic area with playground equipment, hiking and biking trails and campground. The entry fee is $4 for one driver, $6 per vehicle (2 to 8 people), and $2 per person if pedaling into the park on a bicycle. Tour the historic fort itself for an additional $2.50 per person. Fort Clinch State Park is open daily from 8 am until sunset. While Fort Clinch offers beautiful beachfront, note that there are NO LIFEGUARD TOWERS within this state park and dogs are not allowed on the beach. Many people fish from the shore at Fort Clinch and currents can be strong and dangerous. The half-mile-long fishing pier, damaged during Hurricane Matthew, has been removed. The Fort Clinch entrance is located at 2601 Atlantic Avenue (close to Main Beach Park in Fernandina Beach). For more info call Fort Clinch State Park at (904)277-7274.
Amelia Island State Park
Amelia Island State Park is favored for fishing, open daily (admission $2 per person). Located at the southern tip of the island (near the southend bridge off First Coast Highway/A1A). Realize there is limited access to much of this park without a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. The are no restrooms along the beachfront, dogs are not allowed on the beach here, there dangerous currents and NO LIFEGUARD TOWERS. Next to the park’s entrance is George Crady dedicated fishing bridge. Kelly Seashore Ranch at the park offers horseback riding on the beach.
Much of Amelia Island State Park is designated a “Critical Wildlife Area,” and is a nesting ground for shorebirds. Large areas of this park are off limits seasonally during bird nesting (closure dates March 1st to Sept. 1st), see more info and aerial map marking closed areas.
When at the beach, pay careful attention to signs and flags warning ocean conditions (i.e. red flag, yellow flag, purple flag). You will never see a green flag flying at the seashore, since the ocean is inherently dangerous.
Sometimes dangerous rip currents are present and people can drown, read “Rip Currents Take Lives in Northeast Florida.” According to U.S. Life Saving Association, 80% of lifeguard rescues are due to rip currents. See more info about rip currents at the city of Fernandina’s website.
Amelia Island’s beaches and dunes are critical habitat and nesting areas for shorebirds (Least Terns and Wilson Plovers), plus sea turtles and gopher tortoises. Please note signs posted and seasonally roped off areas. Respect boundaries and don’t disturb nesting or “resting” wildlife.
If you find a dead, sick, or injured sea turtle, gopher tortoise (or see anyone disturbing turtles or shorebirds), call the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission’s 24-hour Wildlife Alert number 1-888-404-FWCC (3922), call #FWC or *FWC on your cell phone, or text [email protected]