This city is only about 25 miles from the south tip of Amelia Island by taking Hwy A1A and the ferry over at Mayport across St. John's River. A lot of residents go there for shopping and cultural and weekend events, and to see the big city.
I always like to search out maps to know where I am going and what to see and where when you read to comments. I hope you enjoy them and find helpful. All down Fletcher that follows along the coast are beach homes and motels/hotels, for about 8 miles
I used to come here every 2 months over 2+ years to sell the foreclosed property when I worked for a bank. Now they will not even let me in to see the old layout. Times change after 30 years. It is still a prestige resort, like so many others at the south end of the island, and it has hundreds of exclusive high end rentals, and some homes built by members. Omni Resorts has now taken over management and it has a conference center and spa complex at the main entrance.
In the state park is one of the most preserved forts from the mid 1800 period. The reason is that after it was built, no one ever attacked the fort. It has five bastions to cover the cross fire of any potential attackers. The fort defenses of some sort had existed since early 1700's. In 1847, it was fortified more, and the cannon were to be increased in number. The Civil War broke out and the Confederates lost the fort and area to Union troops in 1862. The defense by troops was 500, but few actually lived in the fort; they lived in tents nearby. After the war, the fort was abandoned and eventually it incurred decay. The Civil Conservation Corp in 1930 renovated the fort and relaid much brick work and overgrowth of vegetation. This fort was even used in defense during Spanish American War of 1898, and again in WWII, with batteries guarding the harbor
The fort is open to park visitors and a vehicle entry fee is $6, An additional fee to see the fort is $2. The tour is self guided, but you can sometimes have docents describe fort activities. The tour takes may 1 hour. There is a small museum in the visitor center having some artifacts. It is open daily from 9-5
Driving tour and/or walking tour of historic homes is the main attraction in the old downtown area. The historic district is a very large 2500 acres. It may a bit too much for history to take it all in. The core downtown area has old buildings mostly from late 1800's and early 1900's, because due to fires in 1873, and 1885. The rebuilding of the retail buildings in downtown then was contracted mostly of brick and tabby shells. There are about 500 homes in the district, and also the old retail structures in downtown. None are open for tours.
In bygone days the Fernandina Beach area was home to pirates and was the seat of lawlessness upon the high seas. However, it turned into a commercial hub after the Civil War and became the center of commercial shrimp operations. A chandler is someone who provides supplies and provisions for ships and I would guess that the Chandlery Building must have outfitted some of the original shrimping boats.
in 1842 the U.S. government bought a tract of land on amelia island at the florida-georgia border. in 1847 construction began on a fort to protect shipping on the st. mary's river and the port of fernandina. fort clinch was named after general duncan lamont clinch who was an officer who fought in the second seminole war. in 1861 fort clinch was not garrisoned by union troops and it was quickly taken over by the confederates. when union forces advanced through s. carolina and georgia in 1862 general robert e. lee CSA ordered the fort to be abandoned. after the civil war fort clinch was deactivated but was used again from 1869 to 1889 during the spanish-american war and again during WWII. a very historic and interesting place to visit when in fernandina beach.
pictured is the "tabby" house. the tabby house was designed by new york architech r.s. schuyler and built in 1885 for c.w. lewis. tabby is a type of concrete made with sand and oyster shells. tabby was a popular building material in the coastal south in the 1700 and 1800's. this home has a very interesting victorian porch.
the methodist church of fernandina was founded by the reverend elijah sinclair in 1822. the original methodist church was a wood frame building built in the mid 1800's. the current brick church was built in 1930. in the fore ground of the picture is an interesting celtic cross.
fernandina beach is known for it's numerous restored victorian homes. pictured is the bailey house built in 1895. the historic district is a nice area to drive around and view beautiful restored old florida homes.
center street is in the heart of fernandia beach. from center street most of the attractions of fernandia are within walking distance. you can visit the historic district, shop the center street boutiques and eat or drink at the numerous bars and restaurants in the historic district. a fun place to visit when in fernandia.
just a mile east of the town of fernandina on A1A is north fernandia beach. this beautiful atlantic beach is on the mouth of the st. marys river. there are several beach acesses to this unspoiled north florida beach. a great place to surf fish and enjoy the florida sun. a nice place to visit to enjoy florida beaches that are not crowded like the beaches in central and south florida.
In the heart of Historic Fernandina Beach is a great shopping district. Eclectic mix of something for everyone, from the Hot Sauce shop to the Irish imports. It's a great way to spend the day in Ferandina.
OK, like I say on the mainpage, Fernandina Beach is not partyville. This is a place where the beaches are not crowded, and on a good day, you may be nearly alone with the Atlantic Ocean. Drag yourself a beach chair, umbrella, and a good book onto the sands and just relax.
And every once in a while, wade into the pounding surf and cool off. (Do note my tip regarding the undertow/riptides on Florida's Atlantic Beaches)
Catch the Ferry at St. Mary's Dock and take a trip into the past by visiting Cumberland Island. Wild horses roam. Lots of beach to walk. Ruins of mansions to view. Birding. Tour is guided. No vehicles allowed (other than Park owned). Bicycles are rentable. Camping is allowed. Great day if you love the outdoors and things the way "they used to be."