Courtesy of Visit Jacksonville
Amelia Island, Jacksonville’s neighbor to the north, is a short drive away yet a world away. The 13-mile-long barrier island boasts beautiful beaches, magnificent homes and two glorious resorts — Amelia Island Plantation and The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Steeped in history, the island includes Fernandina Beach and American Beach. Home of the modern shrimping industry, Fernandina is known for its 50-block historic district. American Beach was established in the 1930s as a vacation destination for African Americans in the days before desegregation. It has hosted everyone from Ray Charles to Louis Armstrong. Hurricane Dora dealt the community a significant blow in 1964 when many of the homes and businesses were destroyed. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.