Historic Fernandina Beach
When it comes to coastal communities rich in American history, one of the very best-kept secrets in all the land may be Fernandina Beach.
Downtown Fernandina—and, in particular, historic Centre Street—has been preserved like a Victorian time capsule, providing a glimpse of small-town, yesteryear Florida. Downtown Fernandina features 400-plus historic structures that are proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can climb aboard a trolley for a riding tour of key attractions, gaze at historic homes like the Hoyt House (now a bed-and-breakfast inn), churches, and commercial buildings, or enjoy a narrated horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic district.
Representatives of the Smithsonian Institute have visited Fernandina Beach, describing local life here as “one of the best examples of small town living in the U.S.”
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has honored Fernandina Beach for its historic preservation. In fact, the Victorian-era seaport made the National Trust’s list of “12 top vacation destinations in the United States for historic preservation.”
A broad variety of architectural styles was fashionable during the Victorian era (1850-1910). You’ll marvel at some of the best-preserved Victorian architecture on the eastern seaboard. Wander down sidewalks off Centre Street to see enchanting, historic homes including gracious Queen Annes, shaded by ancient oaks draped in moss, charming Victorian cottages and bungalows, and sweeping verandahs.
And be sure to visit the or take guided tours of the historic district with museum docents (including a “Pub Crawl” to enjoy “Happy Hour History” with a drink at four historic pubs).
In this self-proclaimed isle of the pirates, you can also take a fanciful ghost tour to explore island haunts, or take a self-guided walking tour (just pick up a tour map at the Tourist Information Center near the Fernandina harbor at the Old Train Depot).
The Amelia Island Museum, antique shops, art galleries, fine dining options, casual eateries and pubs are all within walking distance of downtown Fernandina.