Explore the Past in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach

For many of us, visiting a coastal resort isn’t only about sipping a drink on the beach and watching people go by. Especially if you love historic places and Southern hospitality, Amelia Island is a great place to visit.

You can enjoy our Amelia Island vacation rentals located just around the corner from great sightseeing, dining, and even shopping.

While there are several enjoyable things to do on Amelia Island, one of the best options for history buffs and romantics is visiting the historic downtown in Fernandina Beach.

About the Fernandina Beach Historic District

The city of Fernandina Beach is the heart of Amelia Island and the last city founded by the Spanish before Florida became part of the United States. For this reason, the historic downtown in Fernandina Beach has a lot of old buildings. These feature classic Spanish architecture, although their purpose may have changed over the years.

Some notable parts of the Amelia Island historic district are Florida’s oldest operating bar and lighthouse. You can see the tradition of Southern hospitality that dates back to the Spanish colonial period. Both of these buildings are still being used for their original purposes. A step into these historic venues is a window back into time. Show your kids how life used to be, or take in the history yourself.

downtown fernandina beach
Photo From Shutterstock

Where to Eat

With so much to see, you’re sure to work up an appetite while exploring Amelia Island’s historic downtown. Fortunately, whether you want to try a historic tavern or just want some pizza, there’s food for everyone. Restaurants include the España Restaurant, where you can enjoy traditional Spanish paella, tapas, and other famous dishes. It’s family-friendly and highly rated by the locals.

Another option to tap into Amelia Island tradition is seafood. For example, Timoti’s Seafood Shack serves up fried seafood, including shrimp and fish. You can also get lobster rolls or fish tacos. If you want something especially traditional, get the shrimp. Amelia Island is at the heart of America’s shrimp fishing industry.

For an adult crowd, we recommend the historic Palace Saloon. This is the oldest drinking establishment in Florida, dating from before Prohibition. They offer live music, lively cocktails, and the famous Pirate’s punch. Have some bar food there, or join the party after dinner. Either way, you’ll love the embossed ceilings and carved wooden bar area that brings you back to the island’s heyday as a shipping hub.

While you’re enjoying all the great food on Amelia Island, don’t forget to try something traditionally Southern. For this, the Outer Banks Boil Company delivers. Their menu centers around traditional Southern coastal food, including potatoes, corn, sausage, and lots of seafood. Customize your order for something special. They also do catering if you’d like to have a big family dinner at your Amelia Island beachfront rentals.

Of course, there are many other options to suit your taste. For instance, you can find Cuban, Japanese, Italian, French, and Mexican cuisine. There’s something for everyone, from the older generations to young families on a budget. You’ll have to check out a bit of everything.

Photo From Shutterstock

Where to Shop

While you’re enjoying the Amelia Island vacation rentals, you may want to go shopping. Amelia Island has many unique shops and boutiques that sell almost anything you can imagine. For example, some art galleries feature local artists along with timeless classics. Several traditional curio shops sell nautical art that will remind you of Amelia Island’s seafaring past. And a country store sells ice cream, local knick-knacks, and the incidentals you forgot to pack.

People who want to relax even more can enjoy a spa treatment in one of Amelia Island’s several spas. Or, nurture your creativity at a real art studio that’s open to the public. 

Finally, if you love water sports, several shops are devoted to them. Buy a new surfboard, enhance your fishing tackle box, or buy your child their first fishing pole. While sightseeing is great, most of us also want some time enjoying the water and family time.

Things to Do

No matter your interests, there are many things to do on Amelia Island. People who visit the historic downtown in Fernandina Beach can tour the old buildings, explore the island’s seafaring past, or visit a museum.

One of the best options if you’re a history buff and want to see old buildings is to take a guided walking tour. This will show you around the historic downtown in Fernandina beach, including old houses, bars, and Colonial buildings. The downtown area is a national historic site, so there’s plenty to see.

If you don’t want to walk, try a carriage or trolley tour. These take you to many of the same places, but they also use vintage forms of transportation. Carriage tours run primarily in the mid-afternoon and evening, while trolley tours are mid-day. The trolleys also offer a haunted Fernandina tour some evenings.

Plan Your Visit To Amelia Island

If exploring historic downtown Fernandina Beach sounds like a fun time to you, this would be the perfect time to plan your Amelia Island vacation. Book a stay at one of our Amelia Island rentals today!

Another great attraction is the Fernandina Beach lighthouse. This is one of the few Colonial-era lighthouses still in use. You can tour the lower levels of the lighthouse on weekdays. On the grounds, you can look out over the Atlantic Ocean and imagine old ships coming into the harbor.

On a rainy day, check out the Amelia Island Museum of History. This is housed in one of the old jails, and the interior still has cell bars. You can get a look into how the island once held its prisoners and administered justice. The museum also covers other historical topics and has a kid’s area. A great way to have fun as a family without watching TV in your Amelia Island beachfront rentals.

Where to Stay

Speaking of beachfront rentals, even the most active tourist needs somewhere to stay after a long day taking in the sights. Perfect for couples and groups, our rentals are a luxurious experience that’s perfect for relaxing after spending hours shopping, sightseeing, and touring our dreamy city. 

For the perfect way to enjoy the Amelia Island historic district, be sure to book a stay with us. Here at Fernandina Beach Realty, we have many vacation homes to choose from. Many of them are right on the beach, which is especially nice if you want to get some sand between your toes. Or, choose one of our properties with a pool, where you can relax after spending all day on your feet. With fully equipped kitchens, beautifully appointed furnishings, and luxurious sleeping and living areas, there’s no better way to relax than with us! 

Best of all, we have properties for large families and places for small ones. You can even rent homes large enough for a modest-sized family reunion. Most condos have community amenities, and all give you access to vacation essentials like laundry and a sofa to crash on. You’ll love unwinding in our spacious rentals!

Ultimately, our Amelia Island rentals are the best choice when it comes to rentals of any size. You get more privacy, a great view, and the flexibility of home without all the stress. Call us today or check out our home offerings here. We look forward to meeting you.