Credited as the “Birthplace of the Modern Shrimping Industry,” this 13-mile-long and two-mile-wide island is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the Intra-coastal waterway, Nassau Sound and the Cumberland Sound, one of the East’s largest and deepest inlets.
Located near Jacksonville in northeastern Florida, roughly 10 percent of the island is set aside as park preserves. Fernandina Beach is the only city in the United States that has been under eight different national flags, making it known as the “Isle of Eight Flags.”
First time visitors to the island will want to spend some time in historic downtown Fernandina Beach. A stroll down picturesque Centre Street provides numerous choices for shopping and dining, not to mention photo opportunities.
Next, visitors should take in Fort Clinch, an extremely well-preserved 19th century fort. The structure dates to 1847, following the end of the Second Seminole War, though the area where the fort stands has been a military site since 1736.
During the Civil War, Confederate troops took control of Fort Clinch in early 1861; Union troops seized it about a year later and used Fort Clinch throughout the rest of the war. The fort was again used during the Spanish-American War, but has essentially been retired from active status since and was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1972.
One last site, the Amelia Island Museum of History, provides visitors with an overview of the island’s history, starting with its Native American occupants and continuing through modern times.
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