A quaint historic seaport on Amelia Island . . . the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry with a 50-block downtown district on the National Registry of Historic Places. Discovered by French explorer Jean Ribault, who set foot on where Fernandina Beach is located in 1562, encompasses seven square miles in the north-central portion of Amelia Island, bounded on the north by the St. Marys River; on the west by the Amelia River; on the south by the municipal airport and golf course; and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
Incorporated in 1951 when Fernandina and Fernandina Beach were consolidated.
Has a City Manager/City Commission form of government.
Population - 11,361.
A mix of residential and commercial late-Victorian architecture in downtown, reflecting city's great prosperity in the late 1880's. When the north-south railroad line bypassed the island in the early 1900s, tourism shifted south and shipping declined. Thus, old buildings were repaired rather than replaced, and the architectural heritage was preserved.
The heart of downtown is Centre Street, a charming eight-block corridor with pedestrian-friendly street-scaping leading to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Fernandina Harbor Marina, where shrimp boats unload catches and charter boats depart for sightseeing and fishing. Surrounding shops offer an array of art, antiques, apparel, books, candy, collectibles, dry goods, furnishings, gifts, jewelry, souvenirs, tobacco and toys. Cafes and restaurants provide a spectrum of cuisine. Bed and breakfast inns offer a selection of overnight accommodations.
Additional commercial districts with shops, restaurants and accommodations are located along 8th and 14th streets, Sadler Road, South Fletcher Avenue and Main Beach.