City Profile: Amelia Island


Educate yourself on the Civil War era with a trip to pristine Amelia Island's historic district.

As the only piece of land in the U.S. to have been under eight flags of domination, Amelia Island offered a wide variety of attractions to its many visitors.

Victorian homes, century-old brick buildings, palmetto trees and a restored colonial post office building line Centre Street in Amelia Island's historic district, Fernandina Beach. Stroll a bit further and you'll encounter quaint bed and breakfast inns, restaurants, and a collection of shops selling antiques, collectibles, books, food, and clothing. Centre Street ends at an intracoastal waterway marina.

The view helps put the living colonial history of the city in the context of its timeless natural surroundings. The construction of Fort Clinch, Amelia Island's most famous historic site, began in 1847 and continued until 1867, after the Civil War. Confederate forces occupied the fort in 1861, but within a year they were ordered to withdraw as Robert E. Lee deemed it unworthy of defending. The Union forces re-occupied the site in 1862. The fort was utilized by the military in the Civil War, World War II and the Spanish-American War.

Today, Fort Clinch State Park is a scenic and educational adventure, offering a memorable excursion for history enthusiasts and nature-lovers. Fishing, hiking,and camping sites are scattered throughout the 1,427 acres, which includes parts of Little Tiger Island and Martins Island.

Beach access is available on the park's eastern side. The fort holds a garrison during the first full weekend of each month, 12 union and two confederate. Rangers in period dress and volunteers provide daily living history of life in the 1864 fort.  Amelia Island offers a wealth of recreational activities set in a historic and scenic landscape, perfect for a brief visit or a relaxing, extended exploration.

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