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American Beach

Cincinnati
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14 posts
5 reviews
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American Beach

Can anyone tell me anything about this beach? Availability for lodging, safety, clean beaches, etc? Thanks

atallxmaui

Maineville, Ohio
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1 post
4 reviews
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1. Re: American Beach

Hey Atallxmaui, were headed that way from Cincinnati in August. I've got no info for you, I hope it's a nice beach.

Vero Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Vero Beach
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149 reviews
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2. Re: American Beach

American Beach was historically an African-American enclave, with summer homes and such for some of Jacksonville's affluent families. It's been affected by rising real estate values and desegregation. There's at least two books. Query Google Books for "American Beach".

American Beach itself is tiny. There's quite a bit of lodging along the beach, up to Fernandina Beach. The ocean tends to be a bit murky in color because you're in the Sea Islands region, with substantial rivers and extensive salt marshes, combined with a large tidal range that moves a lot of water in and out of the marshes.

It's an attractive and historic area. Be sure to visit the Timucuan Preserve, http://www.nps.gov/timu/index.htm

...and the fort at Fernandina. The town was once the Atlantic terminus of a railroad that crossed the peninsula to Cedar Key via Gainesville.

Fernandina Beach FL
Destination Expert
for Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach
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1,670 posts
209 reviews
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3. Re: American Beach

BlueRusso gave good information about the background on American Beach. Area was developed by Mr. Abraham Lincoln Lewis as a beach destination during the days of segregation for his employees (Afro-American Life Insurance Company) and other blacks in the Jacksonville area. Sunday afternoons would see large gatherings from the area and a local nightclub, Evan's Rendevouz, saw performances from Ray Charles, Cab Callaway and many others.

Mr. Lewis' great-granddaughter, MaVynne Betsch, was the champion of preserving the American Beach community, especially the large sanddunes between Burney Road and Lewis Street. She was quite a character with an interesting life and was locally known as the "Beach Lady" . Sadly, MaVynne died from cancer several years ago but her final moments were spent down on the beach she loved so dearly.

This small area is located north of the Amelia Island Plantation property and south of Summer Beach area. There is an oceanfront county park there (Burney Park) and you can drive on the beach (4-wheel drive needed due to soft sand) at the access at the end of Lewis Street. The area itself is pretty non-descript. County just recently completed a community center where the community hopes to develop part of the space into a museum documenting the history of the area.

There is no lodging at the section of the beach itself as it is all private homes/apartments in the community. Beach in front of Burney Park is patrolled by lifeguard during the day and is well maintained in terms of cleanliness. Area is as safe as other beach areas on the island. I often park down at Burney at night for my beach walks to the south tip of the Island and have never had a problem.

Vero Beach, Florida
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for Vero Beach
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149 reviews
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4. Re: American Beach

dlwinger,

Thanks for the update. I've been away from the Jacksonville area long enough to have lost some of the important details, and too hurried to check the 1998 history.

Cincinnati
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14 posts
5 reviews
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5. Re: American Beach

Thanks so much for the wonderful information. I am looking forward to seeing this piece of history. Your input was phenomenal!! Take care.

Cincinnati
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14 posts
5 reviews
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6. Re: American Beach

Great information both both you and dlwinger. I appreciate the history and will probably find the book to read while on the beach. Thanks!

Cincinnati
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14 posts
5 reviews
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7. Re: American Beach

I hope you enjoy yourselves! Be safe!

8. Re: American Beach

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