The northern third of Amelia Island is dominated by the historic pirate town of Fernandina Beach, birthplace of the modern shrimping industry. Much of the red brick architecture along Centre Street in the town's historic district reflects the 1800s and early 1900s. Today, a number of interesting shops and restaurants add to the street's allure. The surrounding neighborhoods feature many fine examples of retored Victorian homes, some of which are bed and breakfasts.
Closer to the sea, Fort Clinch State Park includes a well-preserved brick and earth Civil War fort with lots of tunnels and chambers surrounded by acres of woods with hiking trails, camping facilities and the northernmost beach in Florida. Nearby, Main Beach is the town's most popular beacharea where small motels, whimsical vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts provide an alternative to the ritzy five-diamond oceanfront resorts that dominate the rest of Amelia Island
While Fernandina is normally a sleepy little town, each May thousands of visitors from around the Southeast crowd Centre Street for the annual Isle of 8 Flags Shrimp Festival. This three-day art and food festival is the city's most famous and celebrated event.
This is only 25 miles north of JAX, and you can take Hwy A1A over to the ferry at Mayport for a shortcut, or take A1A/Hwy 105 which is Herckscher Dr from 9A loop. There are some nice sites in the historic Fernandina town, and also a lot of resorts and beaches along Fletcher Dr for a stretch of 8-9 miles, but most are private to access.