Looking for an Amelia Island beach access with lots of amenities and a boardwalk to stroll? Then head to Fernandina’s Main Beach Park located at Atlantic Avenue and South Fletcher.
Fernandina’s Main Beach Park
Main Beach Park offers public restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables, barbecues, gazebos, volleyball courts, children’s playground, two ocean view restaurants, mini-golf, outdoor skate park, and outdoor multi-purpose courts (basketball and inline hockey). Main Beach has lifeguard towers manned Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
ACCESSIBILITY: Wheelchairs, walkers and strollers can utilize a “Mobi-Mat,” installed at Main Beach.
The City of Fernandina Beach Parks & Recreation Department also offers beach wheelchairs available for reservation (refundable deposit required, paid via major credit card and driver’s license required). Call Atlantic Recreation Center at 904-310-3350.
Main Beach Restaurants & Mini Golf
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). Casual beach dining and coastal cocktails are available at Fernandina’s Salt Life Food Shack, with roof top bar/lounge offering elevated view looking across Main Beach Park to the sea. The Sandbar and Kitchen restaurant and bar is also located at Main Beach, oceanfront right on the beach.
Take A Moment To Learn Beach Laws
Amelia Island’s other biggest beach parks and amenities are listed further below, but first take a moment to learn beach laws. Nassau County’s growth — both population and Amelia Island tourism growth — means more crowds around the island and more people on the beaches.
Beaches Are Patrolled
Fernandina Beach has implemented a “Beach Ranger” program and Nassau County Sheriffs patrol the county beaches as well.
Important beach ordinances (also read signs when entering the beach):
Dog Leash Law
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. 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 an expensive citation. NO DOGS are allowed on beach at Fort Clinch and Amelia Island State Park.
NO GLASS is allowed on Amelia Island’s beaches, and NO LITTERING!
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.”
NO ALCOHOL — Possession of any open container holding an alcoholic beverage is prohibited. Violations are punishable by a fine and/or incarceration.
“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 on the beach starting at 6 am. Leaving “only your footprints” is especially important since the beach is busiest in summer during sea turtle nesting time (May to October).
Seaside Park/Sadler Rd. Beach Access
Seaside Park at Sadler Road is the city of Fernandina’s only beach access allowing vehicles to park in the sand right on the beach. Be warned, only venture onto the beach with a 4WD. Seaside Park is a hot spot for people getting vehicles stuck in the sand, requiring a tow to get out. Besides limited parking on the beach, there’s a small public parking lot adjacent to Seaside Park with dune walkovers and public restrooms. Seaside Park has lifeguard towers with Ocean Rescue personnel from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Sliders Seaside Grill is located oceanfront at this beach access with tiki bar by the dunes.
Peters Point Park, Nassau County
Peters Point, located off South Fletcher Ave. offers large parking area, restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables and barbecues.
Peters Point On Amelia Island
For cyclists, the Amelia Island Trail, a 6.2 mile path for biking (and hiking), is available from Peters Point. This park’s beachfront has four lifeguard towers with Ocean Rescue personnel from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Beach driving and parking in the sand is reserved for Nassau County, FL residents. Tourists/day trippers can no longer drive onto the beach at Nassau County’s Atlantic seashore (with a few exceptions — military members and the disabled, read more).
American Beach, Nassau County
Burney Park at American Beach is located in between Summer Beach and Omni Amelia Island Plantation. There is a large parking lot, restrooms, outdoor shower, one gazebo, a few picnic tables and lifeguard towers manned from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Note: Beach driving ordinance changes impact American Beach/Burney Park in Nassau County, read related article.
Fort Clinch State Park
Fort Clinch State Park offers over 1,400 acres, historic fort tours, picnic areas, hiking and biking trails and campgrounds. Dogs are not allowed on the beach at Fort Clinch State Park.
The Fort Clinch State Park 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 sundown.
Fort Clinch is an excellent place to ride bicycles.
Be sure to tour the historic fortress with spectacular views.
While Fort Clinch offers beautiful beachfront, note there are no lifeguard towers within this state park (warning signs say “swim at your own risk.” )
Fishing At Fort Clinch
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 in October 2016 was removed. (Unfortunately, a replacement pier has not been built).
The Fort Clinch State Park entrance is located at 2601 Atlantic Avenue (close to Main Beach Park in Fernandina Beach). For more info, see in-depth page about Fort Clinch State Park or call (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 south end bridge off First Coast Highway/A1A). Beware dangerous currents, and there are no lifeguard towers within the State Park. The are no restrooms along the park’s beachfront, and dogs are not allowed on the beach.
Those with a 4-wheel-drive vehicle can drive onto the Amelia Island State Park beachfront, but on busy days visitation is capped and the gate closes. The Nassau Sound area of this state park is closest to parking lot, and the shoreline along the sound typically used by fishermen.
George Crady Fishing Bridge
Near Amelia Island State Park’s entrance is the George Crady dedicated fishing bridge (restrooms are located here).
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.
Amelia Island’s beaches and dunes are critical habitat for 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.
Kelly Seashore Ranch is also located at Amelia Island State Park offering horseback riding right on the beach.
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 drown, while many others have to be rescued. According to U.S. Life Saving Association, 80% of lifeguard rescues are due to rip currents.
Learn more about dangerous rip currents:
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].