When it comes to recommending a great Florida destination for a fun summer road trip or quick fall getaway, Amelia Island will usually top most lists. After all, it checks almost every vacation box, regardless of whether you’re looking for family fun, a romantic escape, or just a ton of rest and relaxation. But what a lot of people might not know is that this isn’t just a place with great resort pools and beautiful beaches.
Amelia Island is a vacation spot that is packed with personality, charm, and even plenty of action and adventure. It is the kind of “total package” place that offers visitors of all ages a lifetime of memories well beyond the sun and sand. And even if time is limited, there are still so many activities that are as a quick as they are fun, which makes planning the perfect long weekend itinerary a breeze.
Fortunately for everyone, we’ve already taken care of the hard part.
Where to Stay
An ideal hotel to book is the new SpringHill Suites Amelia Island (this property doubles with Courtyard Marriott) that opened in May 2021. Only one block away from the ocean, the property is also adjacent to Fort Clinch National Park, which means every room is right in the heart of the island’s beauty.
You can take bikes from the hotel and explore the national park in the morning, come back in the afternoon for some pool time and enjoy the poolside bar and live music, then spend the late afternoon on the beach. The hotel has a wonderful restaurant as well as an on-site and covered garage and EV chargers.
What to Do
With accommodations booked, it’s time for fun and adventure. Obviously, you can’t fit every activity into a shorter schedule, so that just means some of these ideas will have to wait for the return trip, which should be sooner than later.
Omni Amelia Island Sprouting Project
Omni Amelia Island Resort’s Sprouting Dinner Project is a custom farm-to-table dining experience you don’t want to miss. Every month has a special theme that ties back to Omni’s aquaponic greenhouse, expansive organic garden, and local finds gathered directly on-site at their Sprouting Project. The chef and team prepare and then guide guests through several courses that will delight everyone’s tastebuds.
Egan’s Creek Guided Kayak
Take to the water and explore the Island by kayak or paddleboard with Egan’s Creek & Bartram Guided Kayak Tour (a family-owned business). Their tours take you through the creek and the marshes between Atlantic Avenue and the Amelia River, known as the estuary. You will find yourself immersed with the wildlife such as crabs, fish, herons, egrets, and much more.
Sunset River Cruise
Did you ever think you could see wild horses on a beach in Florida? You can on the Sunset River Cruise. Enjoy a relaxing ride on this Amelia River Cruises excursion, and you might spot one of those horses and even a few dolphins. All the while guests can listen to interesting tidbits about the area’s history and bask in the gorgeous sunset light.
Julie Defls Gallery
Get your creative juices flowing with a class at Julie Defl’s Gallery. A hands-on class that walks you through a new art technique that mixes paint and resinepoxy. With easy-to-follow steps you can tap into your most creative instincts and make a unique piece of art to take home.
Luxe Picnics by Les
The beaches at Amelia Island provide a beautiful landscape for a meal on the sand. Luxe Picnics by Les offers unique and lavishly decorated settings for any occasion. The team provides everything necessary for your special experience—they even think of little surprises to add, just when you think it’s already too good to be true.
Where to Eat
No trip to Amelia Island is complete without a meal (or two) at Timoti’s Seafood Shak on Fernandina Beach. This iconic spot is a family favorite, as it offers fresh seafood in an outdoor setting. The seating area boasts large picnic tables and a kids play area in the back, which is ideal for larger groups. Be sure to try their meaty lobster roll or the friend shrimp basket.