What attracts visitors to Amelia Island?
The largest beach parks on Amelia Island (with the most parking), are the city of Fernandina’s Main Beach Park, plus Nassau County’s Peter’s Point Park, and Burney Park at American Beach. (See detailed BEACHES section).
Overnight guests should consider getting up early to witness a sunrise at the Atlantic coast beachfront, a wonderful way to begin a day.
Bike riding is a favorite activity of tourists and residents, alike. Popular places to ride bikes (and family-friendly), are along the off-road Amelia Island Trail and within the island’s Fort Clinch State Park.
Amelia Island State Park on the island’s southern tip is the only Florida State Park offering horseback riding on the beach.
#2 Downtown Fernandina
Enjoy the Victorian vibe and historic architecture of the preserved 50-plus-block historic district. With its main corridor along Centre Street, there’s a variety of unique boutiques, pubs, and places to eat. Plus art galleries, antiques and consignment shops to explore.
Historic District Tours
The riverfront city is a great place to take a narrated history tour (or ghost tour) around downtown with Amelia Island Museum docents (or visit the exhibits at the museum itself). Other fun things to do in downtown Fernandina include a trolley tour of historic highlights, a horse-drawn carriage ride while listening to history narrative, or distillery tour. Love being out on the water? Then hop aboard Amelia River Cruises for a variety of boat tours departing from downtown dock. Got a sweet tooth? Check out Fernandina’s Fantastic Fudge or visit Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop for cupcakes, cookies, cakes and more.
Easily spend a day exploring downtown, a foot-friendly hub of activity, see more HISTORIC DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in the historic district. Those downtown toward the end of the day should linger to watch a beautiful sunset over the Amelia riverfront.
Fernandina Beach is considered the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry in America. Stop by the Shrimping Museum at the downtown Fernandina Marina to learn more.
# 3 Fort Clinch
The largest natural area on Amelia Island, spend time in the great outdoors exploring coastal nature. The park spans the island’s north end, over 1,400 acres, and features stunning panoramic waterfront views along extensive shoreline.
Enjoy Fort Clinch State Park’s hiking and biking trails, beachfront, campground, picnic tables, Visitors Center with gift shop and museum. Tour the Civil War-era fortress itself, one of the “most well-preserved 19th century forts in America.”
It’s a 3-mile ride from entry Ranger station to the brick fortress overlooking the Cumberland Sound. For birders, the park is the gateway to the eastern section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Fort Clinch is located at 2601 Atlantic Ave., Fernandina Beach, for more info call 904-277-7274.
Especially for first time visitors with a day or two to explore this northeast Florida barrier island, a trip to Amelia would not be complete without spending some time at these three areas of the island that travelers enjoy most. Also browse recent updates, see beach blog posts, coastal news and views.
Cumberland Island, Georgia
Got plenty of time to explore our barrier island neighborhood? Then read “Cumberland Island, Delightful Day Trip.” Those planning to spend a vacation week here should definitely consider visiting this island next door to the north. Cumberland Island National Seashore is a wondrous place for those seeking nature observation, hiking or biking through maritime forest, seeing miles of empty beaches, and exploring fascinating historic ruins.
Also be sure to check out several more nearby places, easily accessible from Amelia Island and well worth exploring. See more things to do — visiting Big Talbot Island, Kingsley Plantation, and White Oak Conservation.