Towering sand dunes along pristine Florida beaches underscore Amelia Island’s blend of Victorian charm, beguiling history, and blissful comforts. The tiny barrier island off the Sunshine State’s northeast coast leaves a monumental impression. Lavish lodgings, enticing eateries and boutiques, plus festive annual events are sure to draw you in. Yet the isle’s distinct charisma beckons, its spectacular 13-mile stretch bookended by stately Old-World structures and a beachside burg devised by the state’s first Black millionaire.
Named for Princess Amelia, the daughter of King George II of Great Britain and Ireland, this waterfront haven has long welcomed visitors from every walk of life. Carnegies and Rockefellers frequented it as often as wealthy Black guests seeking a hospitable getaway during the era of Jim Crow restrictions. That’s thanks in large part to Black insurance executive Abraham Lincoln Lewis, who established American Beach on the island’s southern end in 1935. The community is a distinguished stop on the Florida Black Heritage Trail.