Fernandina Beach Main Street is set on Amelia Island, which has been inhabited for centuries, starting with the Timucuan Indians who settled around 1000 AD. The island has been under eight different flags since 1562 – the only United States location to have done so. (They are: France, Spain, Great Britain, Spain (again), the Patriots of Amelia Island, the Green Cross of Florida, Mexico, the Confederate States of America, and the United States.)
Stories of the past beckon from every corner of Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach. This enchanting Victorian seaport village was once a stomping ground for pirates, Gilded Age millionaires, bootleggers, shrimpers, and other colorful characters. Today, the National Historic District spans over 50 blocks and is rich with eclectic shops, a diverse mix of restaurants, and lovingly preserved architecture. Tour in a horse-drawn carriage, book a room in one of the elegant B&Bs, or take a boat ride from the harbor to watch the sunset. Snap a picture in front of a statue of a pirate or one with David Yulee, known as the Father of the Florida Railroad who designed downtown to make it “the Manhattan of the South.” He sits in front of the historic Train Depot, now the Amelia Island Welcome Center where historic preservation meets 21st century technology, all enabled by friendly ambassadors.
The neighborhood regularly hosts special events, including the storied Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, commemorating Fernandina Beach’s role as the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry and drawing over 100,000 visitors every first weekend in May. The Concours d’Elegance draws classic automobile fans from around the globe, and Petanque America Open is held on the waterfront each year (free pickup games take place twice a week.) From April through October, free concerts take place once a month as a part of the Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach Association’s “Sounds on Centre” series. All year long, visitors and residents enjoy the wide range of restaurants and unique shops, many set in historic buildings. Buildings in the Downtown Historic District are striking examples of the most prominent architectural styles of the 19th and early 20th century. It has been recognized as one of “The Best Beach Towns in Florida” (HuffingtonPost.com, 2014) and “America’s Quirkiest Towns” and “America’s Most Romantic Towns” (Travel & Leisure, 2014)
Fernandina Beach Main Street is a partnership between the City of Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce and the Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau. Florida Main Street is a part of the National Main Street Center through the National Trust for Historic Preservation.