Amelia Island Florida Beaches and Real Estate
The quaint historic seaport on Amelia Island, known as the home of the modern shrimping industry, was discovered by French explorer Jean Ribault in 1562, who set foot on the ground that is now known as Fernandina Beach. Fernandina Beach encompasses seven square miles in the north-central portion of Amelia Island.
Named by Oglethorpe in honor of Princess Amelia, the daughter of English King George II, Amelia Island is located in Nassau County in the northernmost corner of Florida, 32 miles northeast of Jacksonville and across the St. Marys River from Georgia.
Only 20-25 feet above mean sea level, the 18.2 square mile area is bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Amelia River and the Intracoastal Waterway. The island’s width varies from a quarter mile to two miles.
The area is rich with history. Amelia Island is the only area in the United States to have been under eight flags since its founding. France, Spain Great Britain, Revolutionary America, the Green Cross of Florida, Mexico, The Confederate, and finally, the United States have all ruled the island over the last four centuries.
The city’s 50-block downtown district is on the National Registry of Historic Places and offers a mix of residential and commercial late-Victorian architecture, which reflects the city’s great prosperity in the late 1880’s. When north-south railroad line bypassed the island in the early 1900’s, tourism moved southward and shipping declined. Thus, old buildings were repaired rather than replaced, and the architectural heritage was preserved.
The heart of downtown is Centre Street, a charming eight-block corridor with a pedestrian-friendly streetscape that leads to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Fernandina Harbor Marina. There, shrimp boats unload catches and charter boats depart for sightseeing and fishing. Surrounding shops offer an array of art, antiques, apparel, books, candy, collectibles, dry goods, furnishings, gifts, jewelry, merchandise, souvenirs, tobacco and toys. Cafes and restaurants provide a spectrum of cuisine.
Additional commercial districts with shops, restaurants and accommodations are also located along Eighth and Fourteenth streets, Sadler Road, South Fletcher Avenue, and Main Beach.
Amelia Island is bounded on the north by the St. Marys River; on the west by the Amelia River, on the south by one of the areas largest municipal airports and golf course, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.