Keep The Beaches Clean!
Browse this summary of Amelia Island beach regulations concerning dogs, alcohol, changes about beach driving, camping, and more.
It’s good for all to keep the beaches of Amelia Island clean and safe for residents, visitors and wildlife. With growth of local population and Amelia Island tourism, many more people are using the beaches. So please be considerate and familiarize yourself with Amelia Island beach ordinances. Be sure to read the signs when entering the beaches.
The Fernandina Beach Police Department patrol the city’s beachfront and implemented a “Beach Ranger” program to better enforce compliance of beach laws. The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office patrol the county beaches and have also increased beach monitoring in recent years. Below are some highlights of local beach laws. (See also links to government websites further below to review complete ordinance information.)
NO GLASS IS ALLOWED on any of Amelia Island’s beaches, NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES and ALL LITTERING IS PROHIBITED. See DOG RESTRICTIONS further below.
Sea Oats & Dunes
Please utilize public beach access points to cross through dunes, stay on wooden walkways or sandy paths (there are signs marking beach access). Sea oats are protected by Florida State Statute: “to protect the beaches and shores of the state from erosion by preserving natural vegetative cover to bind the sand.” Do not pick, disturb or drive on sea oats (potential Florida fine is $10,000).
City Vs. County Vs. State Park Beaches
Different jurisdictions control sections of Amelia Island’s beachfront. Both Fernandina city and Nassau County public beach access offers free beach parking. While much of Amelia Island beach regulations are similar, be aware that beach ordinances may vary depending on whether you’re at a city of Fernandina area of the beachfront or in Nassau County (such camping overnight and beach driving). Also note the Florida State Parks have their own rules (Fort Clinch and Amelia Island State Park).
“Carry On, Carry Off”
Nothing should be left anywhere on the beachfront 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 discarded. Be sure to 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. Items on the beach overnight become an obstacle course, interfering with sea turtle nesting (May 1 to Oct. 31).
Leash Law & Scoop Poop
Dogs are allowed on city and county beaches, but must be on a leash at all times. “It shall be the duty of any person while in direct control of a dog to have in his/her possession a bag or “pooper scooper” or other such device sufficient for use in removal of canine waste.” Fernandina Beach Sec. 90-45 Dog Control ordinance. Any person who violates this may receive a citation and penalty of at least $75. Dogs are NOT ALLOWED on the beach at Florida state parks (Fort Clinch and Amelia Island State Park).
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on city of Fernandina or Nassau County beaches. It’s unlawful for any person to consume or drink beer, wine or alcoholic beverage. Possession of any open container containing an alcoholic beverage is prohibited at all parks, beaches, and beach accesses. “Violations are punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 and/or ten days incarceration,” according to county ordinance.
Changes To Beach Driving
Since last year in late fall 2020, Amelia Island beach driving has become more restricted, read related article. Note that Nassau County, FL beach driving permits ARE NO LONGER VALID. ONLY NASSAU COUNTY, FLORIDA RESIDENTS, Nassau County property owners, active members of the military, and those with disabilities (all with proper identification), are allowed to drive on the beach in accordance with Nassau County Ordinance 2020-31.
Amelia Island Camping
Where is the best place to camp overnight on Amelia Island? It’s at the campground located within Fort Clinch State Park, featuring riverfront campsites and oceanfront campsites with electric, picnic tables, fire rings, laundry, shower and restroom facilities. Reservations are booked via Reserve America.
NO CAMPING ON FERNANDINA’S CITY BEACHES — There’s no overnight sleeping or camping (and NO FIRES) allowed on the beaches within the city of Fernandina beachfront (including, but not limited, to North Beach, Main Beach, Jasmine Street, and Seaside Park). These rules within the city limits have been in place for many years.
Beach campfires or bonfires “between sundown and sunup” are seasonally allowed in Winter/Spring only on Nassau County beaches, but not during sea turtle nesting season from May 1st to October 31. Fires must be extinguished prior to leaving the beach.
NO CAMPING ON NASSAU COUNTY BEACHES — Camping had previously been allowed under certain rules within Nassau County’s shoreline. However, camping on the beach has been banned for a year on Nassau County beaches between Nov. 1, 2020 through Oct. 31, 2021 (Ordinance 2020-31). This includes, but is not limited to, the popular Peters Point Park and American Beach. (Note: The issue of camping will be revisited/reviewed again by fall 2021.)
Beach Parking Lot Hours
Read signs at beach parking lots for the most current info about parking hours. Open/close times are posted at public beach access parking lots, and parking hours may vary from city beaches, to county to the State Parks on Amelia Island.
Swimming & Flotation Devices
According to Nassau County ordinance, “No swimming beyond 300 feet perpendicular to water’s edge. No person shall utilize any raft, float, “boogie-board”, belly board or other flotation device of any description, except for a boat, surfboard, wind surfboard, sail boat or jet ski, more than 300 feet from the water’s edge. Surfboards and/or boogie boards shall at all times while in the ocean be attached to the user by surf leash.”
More Info About Beach Ordinances
Always look at signage when entering the beaches. For complete details about beach ordinances, see further info at links below:
- Learn more info about Nassau County, FL beach ordinance 2020-31, with further, complete details.
- Learn more about city beach regulations at the city of Fernandina Beach website.
Also find out more about coastal wildlife at the beach, see “How To Be A Beach Hero” brochure at city of Fernandina Beach website.