My husband and I spent two days in Fernandina Beach, Florida. We wanted to see the "American Beach" in the southeast part of Amelia Island as it is on the Florida Black Heritage trail.
It's easy to get to: turn towards the east from A1A (1st Coast Highway) onto Lewis Street and drive 8 or so blocks to the sandy entrance to the beach. We saw no cars parked and there is no designated parking lot. We parked along a side street. There were two families enjoying the beach and ocean; otherwise the beach was empty. There was a sign that said locals could drive on the beach but others had to get a permit. It is beyond me what the attraction is driving a car on a beach. At least during turtle nesting season the beach is roped off.
There are several permanent markers: one that explains the significance of the area with real old photos; one announces the attempt to prevent beach erosion; and one explains the ecological and historical works of the "Beach Lady", tells about the huge dune system, the largest one of which she named "nana.
Unfortunately, we saw no "No Tresspassing" signs in front of the sand dunes like you see in other places. There were damaging footprints leading all up and down the beautiful dunes, and there were many broken bottles with glass shards and large pices of glass everywhere. This is really deplorable, especially since beach goers reading the Nana marker might have bare feet. The sand needs to be carefully sifted.
There are several abandoned buildings surrounding the trail that leads to the beach. Maybe they have not been razed in order to possibily turn them into a museum(?). There's no other excuse for them. The buildings look haunted. The "Beach Lady" bought ten acres to be a national park which is probably the reason the land hasn't been snaped up by developers. On either side of the beach, there are some beautiful beach homes.
It is worth a drive to see the historic area and walk along the beach to pick up shells.
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