Amelia Island, Florida, USA

Living on Amelia Island

Iyna Bort Caruso

Florida’s Amelia Island has changed hands so frequently it’s called the Isle of Eight Flags owing to the flags of the eight separate powers that have flown over it since the 16th century. It is the only place in the United States to hold such a distinction.

The 13-mile long barrier island was named for Princess Amelia, a daughter of George II of England. Two bridges connect to the mainland. Jacksonville is 33 miles away.  The island is known for golf, beaches, boating, well-preserved beauty and an Old Florida vibe, among the many reasons why Amelia Island is regularly praised in travel publications.

Northeast Florida has some of the state’s top golf courses as well as the World Golf Hall of Fame and THE PLAYERS Championship. Amelia Island’s courses are included in the prestigious 75-mile stretch that makes the region a top golf destination. The island has courses for players at every level. Everything outdoors is an attraction: open-air art walks, fishing, beach sunrises and riverfront sunsets.  Its festivals, which include a popular Chamber Music Festival and Concours d’Elegance for car aficionados, draw locals and visitors alike.

The southern end of the island features resorts built into forested wilderness. On the northern side is Fernandina Beach, the biggest town on the island with hundreds of structures on the National Register of Historic Places in its walker-friendly downtown. The state’s oldest lighthouse (1838) and oldest hotel (1857) are here. The architecture reflects its golden past with restored Victorian residences, originally built by sea captains.

The island boasts many character-rich residences, from Queen Annes to Nantucket-style as well as homes in resort communities. Oceanfront parcels on the Atlantic are available, but rare. The coast, both the ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, offers townhouses, villas and condominium penthouses, many with expansive balconies and even private elevator access.

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