Amelia Island is at the southern end of a chain of barrier islands that hug America’s east coast stretching from South Carolina through Georgia, ending here in northeast Florida. Spend time at the beach.
Amelia Island’s 13 miles of Atlantic seashore attracts the most visitors in summer season. Amelia’s lovely beaches are a quiet escape in autumn and winter. Beachcomb to find shark’s teeth, starfish, shells, and sand dollars. Amelia’s flat beaches at low tide allow bike riding on the shoreline.
Explore By Water
Take a boat tour or go fishing. Learn about local nature while you paddle a kayak.
While known for its posh oceanfront resorts featuring golf, pampering spas, and tennis (Omni Amelia Island Plantation and the Ritz-Carlton), at the other end of the spectrum is Fernandina’s Victorian vibes.
Downtown FernandinaTake historic tours on foot (also via trolley or horsedrawn carriage), to explore the riverfront city of Fernandina Beach, with 450-plus historic structures on the National Register of Historic Places (homes, churches, commercial buildings). Wander around foot-friendly Fernandina, the pub hub with a nice variety of restaurants, shops, art galleries and antiques.
Fernandina holds claim to being the “birthplace of the modern shrimping industry in America.” When dining out on Amelia Island, ask about the availability of wild-caught shrimp. Also stop by the Shrimping Museum at the Fernandina Harbor.
Of interest to history buffs will also be Amelia Island’s Civil War-era fortress (surrounded by more than 1,100 preserved acres of maritime forest) Fort Clinch State Park (904)277-7274. Special reenactments happen the first weekend each month.
Florida’s OldestAmelia Island is also home to the oldest existing lighthouse in the state of Florida, the Amelia Island Lighthouse, dating back to 1838, the oldest surviving hotel (the 1857 Florida House Inn), and the oldest continually-operating Saloon (The Palace). The Amelia Island Museum offers exhibit tours plus various walking tours.
Coastal NatureSea turtles nest on Amelia Island and summer visitors can watch local volunteers escavate nests, a wonderful learning experience.
Amelia Island is located within a great neighborhood of islands. Slightly north is amazing Cumberland Island, Georgia (National Seashore).To Amelia’s south is Big Talbot and Little Talbot (undeveloped, natural islands, protected Florida State Parks). While getting to Cumberland Island requires a ferry, you can actually ride a bike trail that connects Amelia with Big Talbot.