Amelia Island’s Top 3 Attractions

What attracts visitors to Amelia Island?

For newcomers, a trip to Amelia Island wouldn’t be complete without time spent at these TOP 3 ATTRACTIONS travelers say they enjoy most.

#1 Beaches

Low Tide Bike Ride, Burney Park, American Beach
Amelia Island Beach Bike Ride

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. Overnight guests should consider getting up early to see a sunrise at the Atlantic coast beachfront, one of the best ways to begin an island day.

Bike riding is a favorite activity of tourists and residents, alike. Family-friendly places to ride are on the beach around low tide, the off-road Amelia Island Trail, and favorite place, fantastic Fort Clinch State Park. (Amelia Island’s #3 TOP ATTRACTION, see more below).

Ride Horses On The Beach. Amelia Island State Park (Kelly Seahorse Ranch)
Horseback Riders On The Beach, Amelia Island State Park (Kelly Seahorse Ranch)

Instead of bikes, others like to ride horses on the beach at Amelia Island State Park, the only Florida State Park that offers horseback riding right on the beach.

#2 Downtown Fernandina

Enjoy the Victorian vibe and historic architecture of Fernandina’s 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.

Downtown Fernandina Historic District Centre Street
Downtown Fernandina Historic District

Historic District Tours

This 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. 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 Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop.

Palace Saloon, Historic District, Fernandina Beach
Palace Saloon, Historic District, Fernandina

Or try the “Pirate’s Punch,” the signature cocktail of the Palace Saloon, Florida’s oldest continuously-operated drinking establishment. Easily spend a day exploring downtown, a foot-friendly hub of activity, see more HISTORIC DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS. There are plenty of downtown Fernandina restaurants and bars to choose from. Toward the end of the day, linger downtown to watch a beautiful sunset over the Amelia riverfront.

Couple watch sensational sunset, downtown Fernandina Harbor
Couple Watch Sensational Sunset, Downtown Fernandina Harbor

Fernandina Beach is considered the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry in America. Stop by the Shrimping Museum at the Fernandina Harbor Welcome Center along the riverfront boardwalk to learn more.

Sunset Shrimp Boats, Downtown Fernandina Beach
Sunset Shrimp Boats, Downtown Fernandina Beach

# 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. Featuring extensive shoreline along Atlantic Ocean, Cumberland Sound and Amelia River, the waterfront views are not to be missed.

Fort Clinch Panoramic Waterfront View
Fort Clinch Panoramic Waterfront View

Fort Clinch State Park is a favorite spot of fishermen, offers hiking and biking trails, two campgrounds, picnic tables, birding kiosk, museum and gift shop. Be sure to also tour the Civil War-era fortress itself. It’s considered one of the “most well-preserved 19th century forts in America.”

Fort Clinch, Civil War Era Fortress in Fernandina
Fort Clinch, Civil War-Era Fortress

For bike riders, it’s a beautiful 3-mile ride under magnificent tree canopy from entry gate to the brick fortress overlooking the Cumberland Sound. For birders, the park is the gateway to the Great Florida Birding Trail. Fort Clinch is located at 2601 Atlantic Ave., Fernandina Beach (904-277-7274).

Atlantic Coast Beach At Fort Clinch State Park
Atlantic Coast Beach Access At Fort Clinch

Cumberland Island, Georgia

For those with plenty of time to explore this barrier island neighborhood, take a day trip to the neighboring seashore. See “Cumberland Island, Delightful Day Trip.” A wondrous place, Cumberland Island National Seashore is ideal for those seeking nature observation while hiking or biking through magnificent maritime forest. Visitors experience miles of empty beaches and gorgeous dunes, and can explore fascinating historic ruins.

Nearby Places

Also check out a few more nearby places, easily accessible from Amelia Island and well worth exploring. More things to do — Big Talbot Island, Kingsley Plantation, and White Oak Conservation.

Recent Beach News

Also browse Amelia Island’s recent beach news and views.

Amelia Island LivingĀ© eMagazine