I moved to Fernandina Beach, FL in August, and it is the absolute perfect place for me. After two years of moving around the country, I am so happy that this is the town I’m staying in. I have tons left to discover on this little island beach town of mine. But, here are my top 5 reasons why you should visit Fernandina Beach (so far, anyways):
1. Quaint Small Town Charm
You’ll learn pretty quickly around here that I’m a huge fan of “Gilmore Girls”, and I have always wanted to live in a town like Stars Hollow. So imagine Stars Hollow on an island rather than snowy Connecticut, and you have downtown Fernandina Beach! It’s also known as the Isle of 8 Flags due to 8 different nations flags being flown on the island since 1562. Cute one-of-kind boutiques, an ice cream and fudge shop, a year round Christmas store, a home-y bookstore, and of course, a cozy coffee shop line Centre Street. I told you…it’s basically a beach town Stars Hollow! Everyone I have met here have been very welcoming, and you’ll never meet a stranger.
Fernandina’s Post Office
The Harbor Marina
2. The Sunsets and Sunrises
Yes, I know this applies to pretty much anywhere that has great scenery. But, I still had to include it in this list. I am constantly amazed at the beauty of the sunrises and sunsets here. I could literally watch them every day and never grow tired of it.
Had to wake up pretty early to catch this one
Fernandina Harbor Marina
3. Uncrowded Beaches
I have never seen the beach crowded even during peak vacation time. My judgement of “crowded” is based on Destin and Panama City, FL too, so I promise I know what I’m talking about. Even at the beach access points (plenty of public ones), the most you would have to walk if you want no one near you is 100 yards (maybe). Also, there are designated areas where you can drive your car onto the beach (best if you have a 4 wheel drive car)!
4. Local Festivals and Events
Again, like Stars Hollow, this town knows how to do festivals and celebrations. The most popular one is the Isle Of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival that takes place the first weekend in May each year. Next year will mark their 55th Anniversary of the festival, complete with a pirate parade, contests, bands, and shrimp any way you want ’em! During the summer, a street is blocked off downtown for bands to play. Throughout the year there is a Jazz Festival, Book Festival, Film Festival, and many Food Tours and Restaurant Events. However, the one I’m looking forward to attending the most is the Charles Dickens Festival in December. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday, and from what I’ve heard from the locals, it is a great weekend to be here!
No travel list would be complete without something relating to food. Granted, I will be posting much more about the restaurants and food around Fernandina Beach and Jacksonville in the future, but I had to make a quick mention of a few places. If you want some fresh, basic seafood while chillin’ at a picnic table, then you must go to Timoti’s. I’d recommend the shrimp or oyster basket if it’s your first visit. Want to go fancier without breaking the bank? Joe’s on 2nd Street Bistro is your go to. Also, some of the best tacos can be found Cantina Louie’s. I haven’t had the chance to go out to brunch many times yet, but most restaurants serve that as well on weekends.
Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro’s Seafood Bouillabaise
The Patio Place’s Smoked Alaskan Salmon Benedict Crepe (gluten free available here)
Cantina Louie’s Tacos
If you’re out towards Jacksonville or just need a quiet beach getaway, Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach is your place!