In 1562, the French claimed this land, attempting to establish a colony along the St. Johns River to the south. By 1565, the Spanish were running the show. British loyalists, pirates, and Confederates all had their turn for rule over the centuries.
Fringed by estuary and beaches, it’s a popular getaway with lodgings spanning the spectrum from camping to upscale resorts. The eating is good, too, as Fernandina Beach retains its shrimping fleet.
Timucuan National Preserve protects American Beach, an important part of Florida’s African-American history and home to the largest dune on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Amelia Island is part of the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, a National Historic Area which stretches north to Wilmington, North Carolina.