American Beach is located on the southern end of the Atlantic Ocean side of Amelia Island, just north of the Amelia Island Plantation complex.  The American Beach community was started by Abraham Lincoln Lewis, the president of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company based in Jacksonville in 1935.  Since this was the time of segregation, blacks were not allowed to use the other beaches in the area.  Mr. Lewis bought the property to serve as a gathering place for blacks in the Jacksonville area.  Mr. Lewis sold property in the community so employees could build vacation homes in the area.  Businesses including the famous Evan's Rendevouz nightclub that saw performances by Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Billie Daniels and other great black musicians and actors.

Hurricane Dora in 1964 hit Amelia Island hard and many of the homes and other structures in the community were destroyed.  With the passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1963 and creation of integrated beaches lessened the draw of American Beach to some degree; although it remains a historical area with existing and newly constructued homes; a newly built community center (that is eventually to house a small museum highlighting the history of the community; and a county oceanfront park complete with picnic pavillions and a bathouse with showers and changing rooms.  One can actually drive on the beach through the access located at the end of Lewis Street, although it is recommended only for 4WD vehicles since the sand can be soft.

A famous resident of American Beach was MaVynee Betsch, also know as the Beach Lady, and great grand-daughter of Mr. Lewis.  MaVynne was an accomplished opera singer performing in her early years all across Europe.  She returned to the U.S. and gave most of her inherited and earned wealth to environmental causes.  She became a champion of American Beach extolling its importance to the area, both from an environmental standpoint as well as a historical one.  She could often be seen guiding visitors through the area providing the history.  MaVynne died after a valiant battle with cancer in September 2005.  In keeping with her desires, her final moments were sitting on the beach surrounded by family and friends.

A favorite spot of the Beach Lady's was a pair of the largest sand dunes in Florida which she named NaNa.  Prior to her death, the Amelia Island Plantation company deeded the property containing this dune system to the National Park Service who maintains it as part of the Timucan Ecological & Historical Preserve.  A roadside monument honoring MaVynee as well as some informational plaques about Nana can be found in front of the dune accessed on Ocean Blvd. between Burney Road and Lewis Street.