From beaches to boardwalks to biking and everything in between, there’s an array of things to do in Amelia Island, Florida. Here are 10 reasons to plan your next Florida vacation to this charming barrier island.
Located off the northeast coast of Florida, Amelia Island is a sunrise-lover’s paradise. While it may be a challenge to get yourself out of bed on vacation, watching the multi-hued sky light up and reflect over the Atlantic will be well worth the early morning alarm clock.
Fort Clinch State Park
Get your history on at Fort Clinch. Named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, the brick fortress sits in a 1,400-acre state park comprised of 3 miles of shoreline and a ½-mile fishing pier. The park also features a 6-mile nature trail, perfect for hiking, and the 19th-century fort is home to re-enactors who demo blacksmithing and military drills.
Though Amelia Island is only 13 miles long by 2 miles wide, it boasts six golf courses, making Amelia Island an appealing destination for golf enthusiasts. And ocean views come standard, with seven of the island’s 117 holes overlooking the Atlantic. The greens at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort have earned the Silver Medal Golf Resort title by Golf Magazine.
With more than 40 beach access points along its 13 miles of shoreline, Amelia Island offers up a different beach for each day of your Florida vacation. Find a stretch of sand that fits your style, from the hustle and bustle of Main Beach Park, with public restrooms, picnic tables, volleyball courts, children’s playground and beach bar, to the tranquil and quiet Fort Clinch State Park Beach.
Pick up a paddle and head Lofton Creek for a relaxing two-hour kayak tour. Guided tours of this tidal creek allow you to experience blackwater, a phenomenon where decaying plant matter released into the water gives it a tea-like color and creates a stunning reflective surface, plus you can also see a variety of the area’s local birds as you paddle among majestic cypress trees.
From bed and breakfasts like the Elizabeth Pointe Lodge to sprawling luxury resorts like Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Amelia Island offers accommodations at a variety of price points. Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a large family reunion, Southern charm is abundant and sipping sweet tea in a rocking chair on the porch is a must-do.
Find a variety of bike trails from scenic coastal stretches to moss-laden oak canopied roads to accommodate all levels. Keep your eyes peeled for egrets, herons, ospreys and eagles as you ride. Bicycle rentals and guided tours are also available. Replenish your post-ride calories at The Salty Pelican, a favorite of local cyclists.
Florida’s Oldest Bar
The Palace Saloon, in operation since 1905, boasts the title of Florida’s Oldest Bar. Located in downtown Fernandina, the Palace is a popular watering hole for locals and visitors alike. Sip on their world famous Pirates Punch while enjoying local live musicians such as Sam McDonald and Chilly Rhino.
There are numerous fishing charters and boat rentals available to get on. Or fish directly from the beach and George Crady pier is excellent for whiting, black drum, sea trout, bluefish, flounder, sheepshead and the occasional shark.
Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach, the former stomping ground of pirates, is now a charming mecca of history, shops and restaurants. From the Second Saturday Artwalk to the Annual Chamber Music Festival, downtown serves as the cultural hub of Amelia Island. With 50-plus blocks on the Natural Register of Historic Places, a walking tour of the Victorian-era architecture is like taking a step back in time.