The historic downtown area of Fernandina beach is a major tourist attraction on Amelia Island and well worth a visit anytime you’re there. As one of the top things to do in Fernandina Beach, the historic downtown offers art galleries, an amazing array of restaurants, frequent community events and activities, a number of independent and interesting shops and stores, and hundreds of historic buildings to learn about and visit.
You can spend several days simply exploring the many destinations and attractions in downtown Fernandina Beach. Depending on the time of year that you visit, you will also find a wide range of different community events being held in the area such as farmer’s markets, area tours, cuisine events and more.
If you’re planning on making a move to Amelia Island, downtown Fernandina Beach is a top destination to consider for your next home with its frequent activities, friendly community, unique ocean scenery and plenty of things to do. Be sure to visit downtown Fernandina Beach at least once during your next trip to Amelia Island, and if you have any questions at all about activities, accommodations or purchasing real estate in the area, contact us today at (800)-741-4011.
A brief history of Fernandina beach
Fernandina Beach has a long history that dates back hundreds of years with Native Americans having a presence in the area since at least 1000 A.D. Although the English, Spanish and French all had a presence on Amelia Island during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the Spanish are the ones who established the Original Town of Fernandina in 1811. This area, also known as “Old Town”, is located directly north of the historic downtown and is notable for being the last Spanish city that was platted in the Western Hemisphere.
David Yulee was among the first U.S. Senators from Florida and established the first cross-state railroad which ran from Fernandina Beach to Cedar Key and was opened in March of 1861. After the railroad was established, the town of Fernandina was moved to a new location along Centre Street, while the former area transitioned into more of a residential neighborhood. Currently, visitors can see several historic sites in the Old Town that are still marked such as the Plaza San Carlos, the former site of the Spanish Fort Carlos among others.
Restaurants and bars in downtown Fernandina Beach
With the increasingly large number of tourists and visitors to downtown Fernandina, many restaurants have been launched in recent years to appeal to their diverse food preferences. Downtown Fernandina Beach is currently home to a high concentration of some of the best restaurants on Amelia Island along with a number of bars and pubs that feature Victorian-era architecture and unique menus. Visitors can choose from pub grub, American seafood, Italian, Cuban, French and Mexican food, bistros, sports bars, dessert shops and much more.
With a quick stroll along Centre Street, you’ll run into dozens of restaurants and bars, with many more being located on the side streets and on Ash Street. You’ll find options that range from the most casual of eateries up to formal dining in pleasant settings with attentive service. With a quick online search, you can pull up some of the highest rated restaurants in the area. You’ll find that it is easy to get around the downtown district once you’ve found parking to try out the different restaurants and bars.
Shops in downtown Fernandina Beach
The shops and stores in the historic downtown district of Fernandina Beach are just as varied and unique as the restaurant selection. In the Centre Street area, you’ll be able to shop at many different boutiques and stores including clothing stores, jewelry makers, gift and souvenir shops, fitness equipment stores, and others. Just take a quick walk down the street and stop at any stores that appeal to you to pick up the perfect gift for a family member, friend or yourself.
Stop at the Amelia Island Museum of History
To get a more detailed overview of the history of the area while checking out some unique exhibits, be sure to visit the Amelia Island Museum of History which is located in the old Nassau County Jailhouse. The museum offers a number of different tours of the area that are designed for every age level. Several exhibits are available in the museum that showcase the island’s nearly 4000-year history, including a rendition of a typical Timucuan village, artifacts from the Spanish Mission period, Civil War exhibits, and many others.
Events and other things to do
Along with the many historic sites, buildings, restaurants, pubs, shops, and museums, you’ll find frequent events occurring in downtown Fernandina Beach throughout the year. Amelia Island publishes a website with more information on upcoming events so that you can participate in any of them that appeal to you during your next trip. Options include holiday events and festivals, mixology tours, restaurant tours, weekly Farmers markets, art gallery tours, and more.
If you have any questions at all about destinations, attractions, upcoming events, or purchasing real estate in Fernandina Beach for a relocation or vacation home, please give us a call today at (800)-741-4011.