Your Guide to Staying in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach

July 7, 2021
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Stories beckon from every corner along the quaint streets of downtown Fernandina Beach. Just imagine what life was like in this Victorian seaport village that was once a stomping ground for pirates, Gilded Age millionaires, bootleggers, shrimpers, and other colorful characters. With eclectic shops and restaurants, breweries and museums, it's where the past walks right alongside the present. Welcome to downtown Fernandina Beach - AKA The Historic Zone!

For an up close and personal history lesson, treat yourself to a stay in one of our charming Bed & Breakfast Inn's scattered around the heart of the downtown area. Each one of these historic homes/hotel has a unique story to tell whether it housed a secret room used for the underground railroad (The Williams House) or entertained glittering guests including silent film stars of the time and a U.S. President (The Florida House Inn), these homes are steeped in Florida history.  The Amelia Schoolhouse Inn, also listed as a National Historic structure, was built in 1886 as the local school for Amelia Island. Completely renovated in 2018, the 17-room boutique hotel combines top-of-the-line modern amenities with professional restoration of much of the original building. Imagine being glad of being sent to The Pricinpal's Office Bar where a tasty cocktail awaits. For a more familiar "home away from home", The Hampton Inn & Suites Amelia Island Historic Harborfront is a nice option for travelers with families that want a little more room with the option of a kitchenette, 24-hour front desk, gift shop, pool and free breakfast - all while overlooking the beautiful Amelia River.

There's never a dull moment in downtown Fernandina Beach, also popularly described as "tropical Mayberry". Immerse yourself in the history of Amelia Island by visiting one of three downtown museums: Amelia Island Museum of History, Marine Welcome Center and Shrimping Museum, and the Maritime Museum. Tours are available for a variety of interests and age levels. If you'd like some history time on the water, take an Amelia River Cruise for a glimpse at the wild horses on Cumberland Island and a river-view look at Fort Clinch. For a unique way to explore nature and marine life on the water, rent a hydro bike from Amelia River Cycle and pedal your way around the river. What says summer better than a friendly game of putt putt? Lucky for you, Gregor MacGregor's Mini Links and Drinks is up for the challenge. Shop til you drop in the 50-block historic district full of eclectic, independent shops stretching from the harborfront down and around Centre Street. Lovers of vintage won't want to miss the antique shops where stall of discoveries await. Pick up a treasure to always remind you of your time spent on Amelia Island.  

Amelia Island is home to an eclectic and authentic mix of cuisine, ranging from the freshest seafood to Italian, French, and Spanish - and guess what? Most of it is downtown! Yep, no matter where you stroll in the historic district, there will be some sort of cafe, bar, restaurant or ice cream shop sprinkled in. Start your morning right with a bagel from ALOHA BAGEL & DELI or a breakfast sandwich from Amelia Island Coffee. Both will fill you up for a day of exploring. For a casual lunch with seafood in mind, hit up Timotis Seafood Shak and let the kiddos play on the outdoor pirate ship while you dine on a fried shrimp basket. Or, flock to the Salty Pelican for their signature Tuna Nachos and a gorgeous view of the river. If Mexican food is your favorite, Pepper'sPablo's or La Surena has you covered while Hola Cuban Cafe serves up the best succulent slow roasted meats that are cooked in-house, Cuban style. Dinners are delicious at Joe's 2nd Street Bistro where local seafood and certified angus beef are served in a restored 1900's home. Or, don't just dream of Paris, baguettes and red wine, enjoy them now at Le Clos serving delicious French dishes by candlelight in a quaint 1906 cottage. There's so much to choose from in downtown Fernandina!

Check out ALL that our island has to offer everywhere by visiting Then, pack your bags and come see us!

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Located just off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island is easy to reach, but hard to forget. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island has long been a beloved destination for visitors and residents alike.