Not all islands are created equal. Nestled off of Florida’s northeast coast, Amelia Island is an exquisite blend of beautiful beaches, natural preserves and fine dining. With all of its unique offerings it’s no surprise that visitors have rated Amelia Island as a top destination on both Conde Nast’s and Travel + Leisure’s list of Top 10 U.S. Islands.
With over 13 miles of beaches, water sports, nature walks, boating, fishing, luxury resorts and a five-star restaurant, Amelia Island has something for every traveler. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a relaxing retreat or an adventurous excursion. Families will find activities for days in a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere. Visit Amelia Island and you’ll see why it’s easy to find, but hard to forget.
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Stay: Whether you’re planning a quiet getaway or large family gathering, Amelia Island can accommodate any size family. Beachfront villas or houses can accommodate larger families. If you like a resort experience, several oceanfront resorts offer a variety of accommodations and activities created with families in mind. The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort provides luxury in a beautiful beach front setting. Children are especially welcome with their own special programs like Camp Amelia where kids can play games, craft or explore nature. Older kids will be happy to take part in the Junior Adventures program that boasts a gaming lounge that provides a cool teen hangout space. Families can also spend time together at “Just for Families” events.
Do: Tour Fort Clinch State Park and explore one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts or simply relax on the park’s beach. If you’re looking for some family adventure, guided jet-ski tours are sure to be a big hit. A customized Segway tour will allow you to see all the natural wonders the island has to offer. Visit the Nature Center at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort where experienced naturalists lead family-friendly tours or just stop by to feed the turtles. Active families will have no trouble finding fun. Tennis, golf, and water sports are available throughout the island. Good old-fashioned fun can be had at one of the many miniature golf courses or the unique Pirate Playground where kids of all abilities can play before heading to Denucci’s for some of the best ice cream around. For those family members who prefer activities of the retail variety, Amelia Island has an array of eclectic shops offering everything from unique trinkets to fine art.
Stay: Thirteen miles long by 2 miles wide, the island is a natural beauty made up of preserved park lands, pristine beaches and winding waterways. Where canopied live oak trees meet the sea, you’ll find The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. If you’re looking for relaxed elegance, the hotel whose name is synonymous with luxury does not disappoint. At this beachside property guests will enjoy well-appointed accommodations, world-class golf and exceptional spa experiences in a serene, natural setting.
Do: From nature walks to 40-foot sand dunes, Amelia Island has nature lovers covered. Enjoy the coastline as you search for shells or shark teeth along the beach. Hike or bike miles of trails at Fort Clinch. See herons, manatee and other local wildlife up close and personal with a guided kayak or paddle board tour through inland creeks and marshes. You can explore the waterways as you pilot your own “Craigcat” boat on a guided interactive tour. If you prefer to explore on your own, bicycle, boat, kayak and paddle board rentals are available so you can enjoy at your own pace. When you’re done exploring, treat yourself to a fine dining experience at David’s Restaurant. A modern take on a traditional steakhouse, David’s offers exemplary service and private dining in its beautiful wine room.
Stay: Adventure and activities are plentiful. After a day filled with excitement you can make yourself at home at The Residence Inn, Amelia Island. Great for weekend or extended stays, you can settle into your studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom suite complete with a full kitchen. If you’re looking for something charming and in the center of it all, Amelia Island has several bed and breakfasts where you can experience true southern hospitality.
Do: Thrill seekers and adventure enthusiasts will have no shortage of excitement. Explore the land with a horseback ride on the beach. Try your hand at sport fishing with a fishing charter. If you’re up for it, take to the air in a trike flying tour with Hang Glide USA or enjoy the view as you parachute with SkyDive Amelia. Continue the adventure into the evening with a supernatural ghost tour with the Amelia Island Museum of History. Land, sea, sky and everything in between—Amelia has your adventure. Enjoy a culinary adventure with a visit to Salt. Located at The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island, this AAA Five-Star Diamond restaurant offers a chef’s adventure tasting menu. A unique menu is created especially by the chef to ensure guests the ultimate dining experience.
Stay: If you’re looking for quiet escape to re-charge and relax, look no further. Take a step back in time and stay at the Amelia Schoolhouse Inn. The original schoolhouse dates back to 1886 and was renovated in 2018. This charming inn offers top of the line modern amenities in a quaint historical setting. Located in downtown Fernandina Beach, the Amelia Schoolhouse Inn is just a stroll away from dining, shopping and the beach.
Do: Wellness is always welcome. If you visit at the right time of year you can take part in the annual Amelia Island Wellness Festival. But, the focus on health and wellness is a year-round pursuit. Take a yoga class on the beach or express your creativity in an art class offered at one of the many art galleries. Indulge in the world-class resort spas or visit a local spa in the downtown area. Culinary and gardening enthusiasts will enjoy a tour of the Sprouting Project that features an aquaponics greenhouse, organic garden, apiary and barrel room. Enjoy the local fare in a tranquil setting at Pogo’s Kitchen. Nestled among moss-draped trees, this bright eatery offers diners a medley of handmade southern favorites with a modern twist.