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From pirates to Spanish conquerors to a special role in U.S. civil rights, Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach have a long and illustrious history. 

Over the past 500 years, the region has been governed under eight different flags. It has also been a hub for several industries. During the Civil War, Amelia Island’s railroad and port made the area a major U.S. shipping point. After the war, paper mills took over as the main industry even as the tourism industry began to take root, including in historic American Beach. 

Today, Amelia Island is a popular vacation spot and retirement destination with a thriving dining and entertainment district, antique stores, and a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.

Given its colorful history and diverse residents through the years, it’s no wonder the region is the setting for many books — both nonfiction and fiction. 

We’ve compiled a list of 10 books that either provide background on the rich history of Amelia Island or use its beautiful beaches and quaint entertainment districts as a backdrop for romance or solving mysteries. 


Meet Me on Amelia Island

by Dickie Anderson

Part cookbook, part photographic journal of the region, this collectible book includes recipes for local foodie favorites as well as photos by award-winning Amelia Island photographer Stephen Leimberg. 

Legendary Locals of Amelia Island

by Rob Hicks

During its colorful 500-year history, Amelia Island has played host to many historic notables. Learn about how they all contributed to the personality of this quaint, creative beach town.

The Golden Age of Amelia Island

by Suzanne Davis Hardee and Kathleen Davis Hardee Arsenault 

This book provides a comprehensive history of the commercial growth of the Amelia Island region from the Civil War to the early 20th century.

An American Beach for African Americans

by Marsha Dean Phelts

This in-depth history of American Beach uses personal interviews, photos, newspaper articles, memoirs, maps, and official documents to provide a detailed study of this African-American beach community.

Fernandina — Growing Up on Amelia Island

by Gordon E. Hart

In this memoir of life on Amelia Island during the 1960s and ’70s, the author recalls what it was like growing up in a small beach town during this time of war, drugs, and muscle cars.

Images of America: Amelia Island

by Rob Hicks

Before Florida was a state, Amelia Island was a gateway between Spanish Florida and English colonists. Learn how Amelia Island transformed from one of the most important ports in the Western Hemisphere to a quaint resort community.


The “Goodbye Lie” Trilogy

by Jane Marie Malcolm

Described as the place “where ‘Little House on the Prairie’ meets ‘Gone with the Wind,’” “The Goodbye Lie” trilogy (“The Goodbye Lie,” “Amelia Island’s Velvet Undertow,” and “Amelia Island’s Mark of a Man”) is a mystery/romance series that takes place during the late 1800s on beautiful Amelia Island. 


Fernandina Beach Mysteries” Series

by Rodney Riesel

In this three-book series (“Maintenance Required,” “High Maintenance,” and “Serial Maintenance”),retirees Rex and Gayle Langley plan to spend their golden years relaxing in Fernandina Beach but end up solving mysteries.

Splitters: An Amelia Island Mystery

by E. Louise Jaques

Four women from very different backgrounds work together to solve the mystery of a murdered Amelia Island millionaire.

Flotsam and Jetsam: The Amelia Island Affair

by M.S. Spencer

When bodies start washing up on Amelia Island’s beaches, a pair of park rangers dive into solving the mystery and finding the killer.

All of these books are available for purchase on in various formats (paperback, hardcover, or Kindle editions). Some may also be available as e-books from your local library or through an audiobook provider like

Melissa Sloper

About the Author: Melissa Sloper

Melissa has 20 years of Senior Living Experience and a background in education. She has managed many Senior Living Communities on the East and West Coast as a Divisional Director of Operations before joining The Arbor Company. Melissa is dedicated to coaching and mentoring high quality teams. She is passionate about serving seniors. Recently Melissa and her family relocated from Washington State, trading in their rain coats for suntan lotion to join the team on Amelia Island.

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