Planning a Northeast Florida beach vacation? Waste no time working on your itinerary and include some of the best Amelia Island beaches. Located in Nassau County, Amelia Island is known as a timeless destination with a mix of history and natural beauty. Its pristine beaches aren’t overrun with travelers, so you can enjoy outdoor adventure away from Florida’s tourist buzz.
Facing out to the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll enjoy a variety of family-friendly and remote beaches. Find a balance between spots with easy beach access, gazebos & oceanfront restaurants, and uncrowded stretches of sand flooded with driftwood and the sounds of singing birds.
Ready to plan a perfect vacation to this Northeast Florida barrier island? Find your serenity at one of these favorite beaches on Amelia Island, FL.
Top-rated beaches on Amelia Island, Florida
Main Beach Park
With an array of attractions and activities to keep everyone busy, Main Beach Park is home to one of the finest beaches on Amelia Island. Main Beach separates Fort Clinch State Park from the sandy shores and rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s on the northeast end of the island, five minutes from Fernandina Beach.
Connecting the park to the lively stretch of shoreline is a new elevated boardwalk, running along the nearby desert-like dunes. When you’re done swimming or basking in the Florida sun, it’s a great place to enjoy a dune walkover.
Part of what makes this lively beach great for travelers is the amenities on offer. Main Beach Park comes with a large lawn, perfect for romantic picnics or family gatherings. You’ll also have access to the local skate park, volleyball courts, BBQs, picnic shelters, and public restrooms.
Stick around after your beach day for some friendly competition on the nearby mini-golf course. Or take in the balmy evening from one of the two oceanside restaurants.
Amelia Island State Park
With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Nassau River on the other, Amelia Island State Park offers a serene environment and a beach with activities galore for outdoor enthusiasts. Located on the southern tip of the island, the park will let you enjoy swimming, shelling, excellent fishing, and horseback riding.
Those with a 4-wheel-drive vehicle can reach the shoreline; other visitors will have to arrive on foot. Beware that strong currents are prevalent along the beachfront, with no lifeguard towers. Visitors with young kids may have to stick to building sandcastles and searching for shells and sharks’ teeth.
One of the best places to see on Amelia Island, Amelia Island State Park features a historic coastal maritime forest. The woodlands once extended all the way to southern Virginia and are now a critical wildlife area. Another fragile aspect of the park is the beachfront itself. Here, Wilson Plovers, gopher tortoises, and sea turtles hatch, providing inspiring scenes for onlookers.
Aside from shelling and beach driving, the other popular activity here is found within George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park. Along the fishing bridge, crossing Nassau Sound, anglers can hope to catch tarpon, drum, jack, and whiting.
Sick of parking your car away from the beach and trudging all your gear through the sand? Well, Seaside Park has answered your prayers. From Sadler Road, if you have a permit, you can drive onto the beach at Seaside Park. Once you’ve found a delightful spot, put the car in park and unload your beach gear and begin the day. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t end well for those not driving a 4WD; make sure your car can handle the terrain.
South of Main Beach Park, the sandy shores are a welcoming place to relax and enjoy the scenery with public bathrooms available. Stare out into the endless Atlantic Ocean with plenty of room to spread out and escape the crowds. If you go swimming at Seaside Park between Memorial and Labor Day, the lifeguard towers will also be manned.
After a day of sun and sand, enjoy the walking paths behind the sands, allowing you to wander across the dunes and appreciate the beautiful, yet fragile, local environment. As golden hour approaches, head to Sliders Seaside Grill for a sunset cocktail.
Peters Point Beachfront Park
With a large, and free, parking area, you don’t have to worry about beating the crowds to Peters Point Beach. Towards the southern end of Amelia Island, off of Peters Point Rd, visitors can get their daily dose of vitamin D or enjoy an invigorating walk along the Atlantic beach.
Peters Point Beach is also a popular day fishing spot. Anglers can bring along their rod, bait, and tackle and set up along the expansive beach. Cast your reel and hopefully land tonight’s dinner or today’s lunch if you want to make use of the BBQ facilities. Other amenities on-site include public restrooms, outdoor shower facilities, and picnic tables. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there are four manned lifeguards towers here.
If spending time fishing, swimming, or reading on the beach chair doesn’t pique your interest, then how about a local trail? From Peters Point, hikers and cyclists can embark on the Amelia Island Trail. The nature trail runs one way for 6.2 miles into Amelia Island State Park.
Fort Clinch State Park
Open daily from 8 am to sundown, Fort Clinch State Park swoops in with one of the top-rated Amelia Island beaches. The historic park is a hive of activity for a flurry of reasons. Fort Clinch is located at the north end of Amelia Island, with the serene beaches on both the Atlantic Coast and Amelia River.
The highlight of the park is the 19th-century Fort Clinch. You can take a tour of the historic fort for $2.50 per person, or simply admire the structure from the soft sand.
After crossing the sand dunes, you’ll find several hiking & cycling trails that’ll guide you through the park and between the campgrounds. There are two campgrounds available, on the east and west side, if you wanted to spend the night.
The main entrance to Fort Clinch State Park is on Highway A1A behind Main Beach Park. There’s a $6 entry fee per vehicle, which can hold between 2 and 8 passengers. (There’s a $4 fee for a single driver). For those entering the park on foot or cycling, the fee is reduced to $2.
In the American Beach Historic District, Burney Park provides beachgoers with a pristine shoreline and an epic dune system. After entering the park, you’ll appreciate the large, free parking lot. Residents and travelers with a permit, however, can park on the beach.
Burney Park comes with a great range of amenities to help you enjoy your day on the sand. Visitors can make the most of the several beachside picnic pavilions, public restrooms, and outdoor showers. Through the summer and fall, the lifeguards watch on from their towers.
The main highlight, however, is Nana Dune. The local dune system is the tallest in Florida. It’s considered a part of the American Beach community, once a haven for the African-American community because of segregation and Jim Crow. The impressive dunes are now protected thanks to the tireless efforts of MaVyanna “Beach Lady” Betsch, who named the dunes and eventually settled in the area.
Little Talbot Island State Park
20 minutes south of Amelia Island along the scenic Highway A1A, Little Talbot Island State Park is the perfect option for a quick day trip from Jacksonville. An undeveloped barrier island, enjoy a remote park with untouched beaches and plenty of native wildlife.
Little Talbot Island State Park features five miles of beach that feel worlds away from those lining the east coast of Amelia Island. While you’ll find dressing rooms, restrooms, and outdoor showers at the North and South Beach parking areas, it’s easy to find yourself in your own version of Castaway.
The park’s North Beach offers some of the best surfing in Northeast Florida. With consistent waves and ample space to spread out, you’ll be able to chase the stoke all day long.
One of the most popular activities here is shelling. A favorite pastime for visitors, the shelling opportunities at Little Talbot Island State Park are exceptional. Dig in and you’ll come across all sorts of different shells, from clams to periwinkle and shark teeth.
Big Talbot Island State Park
Just north of its little brother, Big Talbot Island State Park is home to the famous Boneyard Beach. Featuring the salt-washed remains of cedar and oak driftwood, the eerie environment is as spooky as it is spectacular. Such is the picturesque nature of Boneyard Beach that some choose to have an outdoor beach wedding in front of the natural “graveyard.”
A great way to explore both the beautiful beach and the rest of the park is to hike along the Shoreline Trail. Beginning at the Bluffs picnic area (with its pavilions, grills, and tables), enjoy views of Nassau Sound before ending among the driftwood.
After exploring the iconic beach, you’ll find plenty to do around Big Talbot Island State Park. Boating and kayaking are two common activities here, with the opportunity to venture into the tidal creeks, Nassau Sound, and local salt marsh. Take a break on the sandbars, try your hand at fishing, or simply kick back and enjoy the serenity.