Pick Your Beach
The island is home to more than 30 beach access points and a number of public beach park areas, meaning there are lots of options for a great beach day of sun, sand, and swimming.
Main Beach Park (24h) is a popular choice close to downtown Fernandina Beach. It has picnic shelters, a playground for kids, volleyball courts, and restrooms.
Scenic Peter’s Point Beachfront Park (6 a.m. to 9 p.m.) midway down the island, is another quiet beach that offers a great view, picnic pavilions, lots of parking, and showers – for free.
At the southern tip of the island, Amelia Island State Park (24h) is a nature-lover’s paradise. There are plenty of shoreline activities, such as horseback riding, canoe and kayak rentals, and fishing, as well as tons of wildlife to see. You can get more details about the beach access points on the island here.
A great day at the beach is only as good as your preparation. Forgetting one small thing, like your bathing suit or sunscreen, your beach day could turn sour pretty quickly.
For those staying at waterfront vacation homes on Amelia Island, it may a little easier to run home and grab whatever you forgot, but for anyone coming from further away, planning ahead will avoid unnecessary disappointment. Come prepared to get the most out of your experience on Amelia Island beaches.
While this may seem obvious, before planning a beach day check the forecast. Here on Amelia Island the skies are often clear and sunny and average temperatures above 75 degrees more than half the year. But the occasional winter cold spell will make you glad you brought that extra blanket or sweatshirt.
From December to February, the average daily highs are 65 degrees and the water temperature a few degrees lower – not freezing, but also not bake-in-the-sun warm. In the spring, you get warm sunny days with showers in the afternoon.
What to Bring
You’ve probably seen lots of checklists of what to bring to the beach. But along with the standard must-brings like a swimsuit, towel, sunscreen, water toys, and a volleyball, there are a few less obvious things that often get missed or forgotten.
- The Right Beach Book: You’re going to need a book if you’re spending the day on the beach. But choosing the right book for the beach is equally important as having one. Don’t pick up a 700-page Dostoevsky and expect to get into it from page one. The beach can be a distracting place, especially if you’re traveling with family, so bring a lighter read.
- Shade: Whether it’s a pavilion, tent, umbrella, or tree, it’s a good idea to ensure you have access to shade when you’re all sunned out. Be sure that you can get out of the sun when you need a break so that you don’t burn, get dehydrated, or simply become too hot to enjoy the day.
- Water and Healthy Snacks: While the rule of thumb is that we’re supposed to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, when you’re in the sun you need even more. Healthy snacks are always a good idea as beach concession stands and some restaurants fdon’t get a five-star rating in the healthiness department. Take advantage of the spacious kitchens in the vacation homes on Amelia Island, and bring some snacks that will give you energy for beach activities.
Picnicking is a great way to go for a family-friendly beach day – it’s simple, inexpensive, and, best of all, you don’t have to cut your beach day short to get some grub. At many public beach areas, there are pavilions for groups, large and small, and the use of small outdoor grills is permitted.
If you didn’t pack a lunch, you might want to stake out a spot at Main Beach Park because of its proximity to downtown’s great restaurants. Some options include Timoti’s Seafood Shak, 29 South for southern eats, and Arte Pizza for Italian food. Brett’s Waterway Cafe, located on the Amelia River, is another spot with great views. After a day full of beach activities, winding down over a tasty dish might be in order.