Fernandina Beach, Jacksonville
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.
Centre Street, in the Downtown Fernandina Beach Historic District, is lined with restored brick buildings that reflect the architecture of the 1800's and early 1900's. Occupying the first floors of these buildings are a number of interesting shops and restaurants, particularly between 6th Street and the Intracoastal Waterway. Centre Street is an awesome place to take an afternoon stroll or engage in a small-business shopping adventure with the family, even if shopping is not normally one of your favorite activities. Here one can find two great independent bookstores, a year-round Christmas store, a fudge and ice cream shop, an Irish shop, and various places offering all kinds of wares from clothing and art to beachy accents and shark's teeth. Last Black Friday, we actually left the abundant shopping options of Jacksonville behind to instead patronize the small shops of Fernandina Beach, and we plan on doing it again next year. A visitor center located a block from the Intracoastal waterfront provides a variety of free maps and literature for detailed information on Amelia Island and the greater Jacksonville area.