If you’re looking to see and be seen, the place to go is Main Beach Park (corner of Atlantic Ave. and Fletcher Ave.); situated at the beach area’s primary intersection, the park offers a large parking lot as well as bathroom and shower facilities. However, there is great public beach access all along Fletcher Avenue in Fernandina Beach , with metered parking lots.
Even at its most population-dense, there are relatively few houses along the road, meaning that most beaches are fairly empty. Giant dunes add to the seclusion, and the farther south you go, the quieter it becomes, especially the parking areas numbered 30–40.
The closer one gets to Amelia Island Plantation, the more difficult it becomes to find public beach access. Beyond the plantation is the historically African American beach town of American Beach, founded in 1935 by the owner of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company as a vacation spot. Today, Atlantic Beach isn’t much of a destination for anyone, but the expansive beach and relatively calm Atlantic make for a relaxing day.
Be advised that driving is allowed on the sand, and be mindful to not get stuck in the sand like I did. If you do get caught, don’t be embarrassed to call 904/773-3877 for help; a very nice gentleman has posted a sign on the beach and charges a reasonable $50 humiliation tax to bail you out.