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“Florida's Black Heritage”
Review of American Beach

American Beach
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: One of nine sites along the African-American Heritage Trail, this area founded in 1935 was Florida's first African-American beach.
Reviewed 13 June 2013

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.

6  Thank Vista_Sultans
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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47 - 51 of 68 reviews

Reviewed 10 March 2013

My family and I took a drive down the coast from Amelia Island yesterday and wanted to see this very historical sight - we were very creeped out by how abandoned this neighborhood is. There was no one outside, no noise, a truck drove by and gave us a very suspicious look for even being there. Just odd all around. The markers are very clear and the story they tell is wonderful but I would not go there again.

8  Thank Nicole V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2013

Myvnee Betsch was the lady who ensured this historical place was kept and built for generations to come. She and her family along with many from Jacksonville and all over the world know the place in Black history American Beach holds. Read every word on the markers, in the museum, and walk on the beach to see Nana, she saves this high sand dune from development - that is her legacy as are the butterflies she funded to ensure their flight.

4  Thank joanelle m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 December 2012

We went to Amelia Island this weekend for a family event. Was interested in the history of America Beach. As with some of the other reviews given, the beach is beautiful(as are all the beaches at Amelia Island) What I found sad and can't believe no one else wrote about is the deplorable condition of the neighborhood. It has many, many abandoned homes and buildings.
The neighborhood has been allowed to deteriorate and to know that the first Black insurance owner in the 1800's built this neighborhood for blacks is so sad. If he were alive today, he could not be proud of the condition of the America Beach neighborhood.
I hope one day, this neighborhood will shine again, especially considering the historical significance of it.

12  Thank LorrieKinard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 November 2012

A little abandoned but you cannot beat the rush of the ocean. Very nice; just off the coast of Amelia Island

2  Thank Cocolizza1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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