15 Pros and Cons of Living on Amelia Island in Florida

Is Moving To Amelia Island Home To Fernandina Beach A Good Idea?

If island living captures your imagination. Then you should consider the pros and cons of living in Amelia Island. In or near the city of Fernandina Beach.

We are talking about the 13-mile-long barrier island off the northeast coast of Florida. Just south of the Georgia state line.

It is a popular spot for families and retirement living. And comes with a year-round resort-like atmosphere.

But the Amelia Island lifestyle may not be for everyone. So, carefully consider these pros and cons…

Pros and Cons of Living in Amelia Island

  • Choice of different towns
  • Great weather
  • Lots of outdoor activities
  • Amazing beaches
  • Family-friendly
  • Proximity to Jacksonville
  • No state income taxes
  • High cost of living
  • Older housing stock
  • Limited new development
  • Risk of severe weather
  • Complaints of foul odors
  • Not much diversity
  • Lots of tourists and snowbirds
  • Bad traffic off the island
living on Amelia IslandPin

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Before we go any further. And just in case this brief preview of what’s to come has created some doubts.

Be sure to check out all of our…

Guideposts On Places To Live

Otherwise, stay with me now. As we dig into the top moving to Amelia Island pros and cons.

Let’s take them one at a time…

Choice Of Different Towns

Located in Florida’s Nassau County, Amelia Island includes several small towns.

First, you can choose to live in historic Fernandina Beach.

The largest and most well-known of the island’s towns. Where the downtown area is home to dozens of independently owned shops and restaurants.

Also, there is Amelia City. Then American Beach right on the Atlantic Ocean shores. Or, Franklintown to the south.

Great Weather

By relocating to this northern Florida coastal community, you will benefit from the excellent weather.

Yes. It does get warm in the summer.

With an average high temperature of 90 degrees. Great for spending time at the beach.

However, ocean breezes mean the real feel temperatures are much more comfortable. Versus more southern and inland regions of the state.

Furthermore, winters are a delight. As daytime temperatures routinely climb into the mid-60s.

While nighttime lows drop into the 40s. Perfect for anyone that needs a little winter chill to know the seasons are still changing.

Yet, without all of the seasonal hassles. That comes with snow, ice, and sub-freezing temperatures.

Furthermore, the climate makes a person want to get outside. Where there are plenty of things to do on Amelia Island…

Lots Of Outdoor Activities

Of course, there are water sports galore. Including kayaking, fishing, sailing, surfing, and boating.

You can explore the beautiful parks. Such as Fort Clinch State Park and Amelia Island State Park.

These places are great for hiking, biking, birding, and enjoying the water features too.

For golf lovers, you will find plenty of options. There are championship-level courses, private golf clubs, and public links.

Finally, if you like horses. This is a rare place where you can go horseback riding on the beach

Plus, some residential communities are built around some fine golf courses too.

And I had to save this next outdoor activity for its very own section. Because you will be living on an island in the Atlantic Ocean.

So, this may be the best thing about moving here…

Amazing Beaches

Since no matter where you choose to live on Amelia Island. You are going to be close to the beach here.

Because the land area is only 4 miles across at its widest point. Stretching from the Amelia River to the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

So from pretty much anywhere, you can stroll to the beach.

Some of the best local beaches include:

  • Burney Park
  • Main Beach Park
  • Peter’s Point
  • Seaside Park

You will also want to drive south, just off Amelia island to Little Talbot Island State Park. There you will find miles of pristine white sandy beaches.

So, far you might be thinking that Amelia Island is a popular place to vacation in Florida. And you wouldn’t be wrong about that.

But you can settle in and raise a family here too. With some of the other advantages Amelia Island living offers…

living in Fernandina BeachPin


What kid wouldn’t want to grow up living in a Florida beach town? To me, that would be amazing.

But kids can’t play in the sand all week long. So, when they head off to school, you can rest assured there are some good educational options here.

First, the Nassau public schools are considered very good. The district uses a “single feeder” model.  Allowing your children to build lasting friendships as they progress through grades and schools.

Ultimately to Fernandina Beach High School. The only high school on the island. Home to nearly 1,000 students.

There are also several private schools. They service primarily grades K-8.

Next, you won’t have to worry much about crime. Or fear for your family’s safety.

Since both property crime rates and violent crime rates are low. Versus the average rates in the United States and Florida.

Finally, there are plenty of good health care options around the area too. For when issues come up for you or the kids. As many excellent facilities are found in Jacksonville.

Speaking of…

Sometimes you just have to get away. No matter how much you love the Amelia Island lifestyle.

Thus, here is another one of the benefits of living here…

Proximity To Jacksonville

Because of the proximity to Jacksonville. The most populated city in the state of Florida.

There you will find a big-city vibe. Lots of urban amenities. Pro sporting events and plenty of fun things to do.

The heart of downtown Jacksonville is just a little over 30 miles from the island. Depending on exactly where you are coming from.

Also, this allows Amelia Island residents to access the robust Jacksonville job market.

Thus, providing the opportunity for big-city employment. While living on a relaxed resort-like Florida island.

Does this seem like the perfect combination for you?

Perhaps. Especially if you can pull off a job where you can work from home one or more days per week.

Next, let’s talk money…

No State Income Taxes

Because Florida is one of only a handful of states that does not charge residents an income tax. So, you can stretch your retirement income or your wages a little farther on Amelia Island.

Depending on what state you are moving from. And how much money you make. The tax savings can be quite substantial.

Next, while we are on the topic of money. It makes for the perfect transition into the disadvantages of living on Amelia Island.

I bet you knew it wasn’t perfect? And it’s not.

So, let’s balance this conversation out with the cons of living here

pros and cons of moving to Amelia IslandPin

High Cost Of Living

Using the Fernandina Beach cost of living as a guide, you will find this is an expensive place to live in Florida.

BestPlaces.net tallies up the average living cost as 22% higher than the average across the United States. Furthermore, the median house price is 50% higher than the U.S. average.

As a result, Island living on the Atlantic coast has its advantages. But saving money on your living expenses isn’t one of them.

Because just about everything here is more expensive. Starting with real estate. Versus other towns, cities, and regions in Florida.

Thus, the average Amelia Island resident is very affluent. Boasting incomes and assets in the upper levels of U.S. residents.

So, make sure you have your financial house in order before you move.

For this, I like the online tool from Personal Capital. It helps us pull all of our money-related activities together in one place.

To easily see our spending, budget, and investments.

Next, for those who like new construction and commercial development, this will be a downside to living on Amelia Island…

Older Housing Stock

When looking for a home. If your preference is for new construction. You aren’t going to find much of that here.

Since most of the homes for sale were built well before the year 2000.

Thus, for newer homes and subdivisions, you may prefer living off the island to the west. Closer to the town of Yulee.

Limited New Development

And the same goes for big box stores and chain restaurants. Because that type of mass commercial development hasn’t found its way to Amelia Island.

Depending on your perspective, that could be a good thing.

On the other hand, if you need a Home Depot and a Super Walmart around the corner in your neighborhood. You won’t find that here.

So, plan on jumping in the car. Crossing the Amelia River. And heading towards Yulee.

Risk Of Severe Weather

Living virtually anywhere in Florida means the risk of hurricanes.

And with this being a barrier island set off in the Atlantic Ocean. The risk of one of these severe storms here is a reality. Every year during hurricane season.

The good news is the area hasn’t taken many direct hits over recorded history.

However, collateral damage from rain, wind, and flooding is always a possibility. From storm activity up and down the eastern seaboard.

Complaints Of Foul Odors

Not far from the island, in the area of Amelia Concourse and route 200. Residents have complained of foul odors.

It was attributed to a sludge site from past manufacturing activity. There is also a paper factory along the Amelia River in Fernandina Beach.

It too can throw off some unusual smells.

So, just be aware when looking for a home.  That there is a history of manufacturing activity in and around the area.

Not Much Diversity

If you like to be surrounded by a diversity of people. You won’t find it when living on Amelia Island.

Because the population here is mainly older and affluent white folks.

Specifically, more than 80% of residents are classified as white. And the median age of those residents is about 55 years.

Lots Of Tourists And Snowbirds

Deciding to live within this island community means you are choosing one of Florida’s prime vacation destinations. In peak years, the area has attracted 700,000 overnight visitors.

Also, some residents live here part-time. During the winter months.

So, if transients and a fluctuating population aren’t your things. Then this island may or may not be for you.

Finally, one more possible detriment about moving to Amelia Island…

Bad Traffic Off The island

Head off the island especially in and around the Jacksonville metropolitan area. And you are going to be confronted with heavy traffic congestion here.

It is at its worst during the peak winter season. When the population swells with visitors and part-time residents.

The same goes for Fernandina Beach living. In and around downtown, especially during the holiday weekends. During those times you will find a lot of tourist traffic.

Okay. That’s all I have.

So allow me to wrap up with a few parting thoughts…

Living On Amelia Island Pros And Cons

Thanks for reading this article about living on Amelia Island including its largest town of Fernandina Beach.

For anyone asking this question: is Amelia Island a good place to live?

I hope you have found the pros and cons helpful.

From my perspective, it’s hard to find fault with family-friendly, relaxed beach-town living in a safe resort-like atmosphere. With abundant opportunities to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

Yet, like anywhere, the Amelia Island lifestyle won’t be for everyone. So be sure to consider the potential drawbacks before relocating here.

Finally, for anyone still searching for that perfect place to live.  Check out all of our…

State and City Living Guides

Conclusions about the Amelia Island lifestylePin
The conclusion is written on a whiteboard

Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

Living On Amelia Island Including Fernandina Beach Pros And Cons