American Beach is a beach community with a nice uncrowded beach and a historic district including a museum, many old buildings, and some abandoned houses dating back to the earlier years.
A trip here can be not only relaxing but also educational since you can learn a lot about the history of this place and the life of past generations. Founded in 1935 by Florida’s first black millionaire, this was the first African-American beach in Florida. In 2002, American Beach Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Location and Access
American Beach is located north of Jacksonville on Amelia Island. Parking is free and ample. There is a large parking lot at the intersection of Burney Boulevard and Gregg Street. You can also drive your vehicle directly onto the beach provided that you have a permit or park across the street on the grass.
There are clean restrooms and a shower facility near the main parking lot. It’s better to bring your own food and drinks since there aren’t any restaurants or bars on site. Nevertheless, sometimes you can get some freshly cooked barbecue in the parking lot. If you need to hide from the sun for a while, there is a covered gazebo.
The beach is flat, wide, and spacious. The sand is fine and dark in color. Overall, the area is very clean and the water is clear and beautiful. However, there are no lifeguards so you should be careful if you decide to swim.
The beach is a great place to watch sunrises. It’s also good for those who are interested in wildlife – there are various seabirds and you’ll have good chances to spot sea turtles. In the sand, you can also find protected turtle nests during the turtle season. Another good option to entertain yourself is looking for shells. You can even find some shark teeth!
American Beach was founded in 1935 for African Americans to have a place to relax and recreate. The area had restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, some businesses, and homes.
Now it’s a historic district of about 40 acres, which includes Ocean Boulevard and Lewis, Gregg, Main, James, and Leonard Streets. There are 67 buildings and one structure here. This district was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in January 2002.
The beach is dog-friendly so you can take your furry friend with you.
- 45 minutes from Jacksonville, FL
- 1 hour 10 minutes from Brunswick, GA
- 2 hours 40 minutes from Orlando, FL
Additionally, there's a number of beaches near American Beach which you can visit: