What to Do in Amelia Island
Hit the Beach
A Florida vacation must include a trip to the beach. Amelia Island beaches are clean, wide, and have the softest sand around. A popular beach for families is Main Beach at the ocean end of Atlantic Avenue. Main Beach has great swimming, public restrooms, picnic areas, a playground, and lots of free parking. Surfers head to Amelia Island Beach, known as "The Beach" to locals. The waves and the swells are perfect for getting some good surfing in. You can also collect shark teeth and shells, which are fun activities for kids. Enjoy beach time soaking in the sun, building sand castles, flying kites, and even swimming.
Live Music Most Days of the Week
Fernandina Beach is a fabulous place for live music. Some of Jacksonville’s finest musicians can be found in the clubs and restaurants on the Island. The Historic District's Palace Saloon has live music seven days a week starting at 9:30 p.m. If you’re looking to start your evening a bit earlier, head to Indigo Alley. This unique wine bar has live music and dancing as early as 7 p.m. Enjoy jazz, Latin, and folk at Indigo Alley. Every week there are even jam sessions and open mic nights.
Fore! On the Green
Florida vacations are known for incredible golfing and, as any travel guide will mention, Amelia Island offers some of the best golfing and greens in all of Florida. If you want to play a round of golf, try the 18-hole Royal Amelia Golf Links at Amelia Island Plantation; Royal Amelia is open to the public. The course was designed by Tom Jackson, the world-renowned golf champion. The skill level at Royal Amelia is described as “very playable.” You could also golf at The Long Point Course, a beautiful 18-hole course with two par-3 holes bordering the ocean.
Food and Festivals
Amelia Beach is known for festivals. The Shrimp Festival is held annually the first week in May with a pirate parade, shrimp-eating contests and mini-golf tournaments. And don’t forget there is shrimp galore - you can purchase shrimp, sample shrimp, play shrimp games, and even decorate shrimp boats. Kids and adults alike love this annual festival.
What to See in Amelia Island
Any travel guide will point you to the historic and beautiful Amelia Island Lighthouse. Located on the highest bluff on Amelia Island, the lighthouse overlooks Egan’s Creek, Fort Clinch State Park, and the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll get the best views of the Island from this stand point. Access to the Lighthouse is limited to tours through the City of Fernandina Beach Parks and Recreation. You can take a tour every first and third Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. You must make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance.
Be sure to take a walking tour of the historic Centre Street on Thursdays and Fridays from September to June. You’ll see the original Victorian structures in Fernandina Beach dating back to the late 19th century. Some of the landmark buildings you absolutely must see are the Palace Saloon Dinner Theater, the Florida House Inn, and Fairbanks Folly.
Where to Shop and Eat
You’ll find plenty of shopping on Amelia Island and nearby Jacksonville, including the upscale Avenues Mall and fabulous flea markets. At Beach Boulevard Flea and Farmers’ Market, you’ll find more than 600 vendors on Saturdays and Sundays. If you’re looking for antiques, try San Marco Square. Here is a lovely little shopping district in the middle of a beautiful residential area selling antiques, home furnishings, clothing, books, and records.
Delicious Eats on a Dime
Amelia Island is full of restaurants sure to satisfy any taste and budget. You’ll find exceptional dining that won’t break the bank here. A favorite among locals and visitors is Ciao Bistro. This Italian-flavored restaurant is the top-rated restaurant in Nassau County. You’ll find delicious pasta dishes, all served with fresh, homemade bread. You can also dine on delicious stuffed pork chops, chicken Ciao in a red wine sauce, or any of the incredible daily specials. You’ll leave full and satisfied after a visit to Ciao’s Bistro.
If you’re in the mood for pizza, try Arte Pizza. The service is quick, the pizza delectable, and the atmosphere delightful. All pizzas here are baked in a wood fired oven. All the ingredients are fresh and made to order, so you’re sure to enjoy one of the best pizzas outside of Italy!
When to Visit
Amelia Island is most popular during the summer months when kids are out of school and families have vacation time. With hot and humid summers, the area sees the most visitors in July, August, and September. In the winter, you’ll find fewer crowds and warm, sunny days. Come October through February to enjoy the beauty of the Island with fewer people. Keep in mind that September is the wettest month, with rainy season running from May through October.
What to Bring
If you’re planning an Amelia Island vacation in the spring or summer, bring cool, comfortable clothing. The temperatures are typically in the 80s this time of the year. Be sure to bring your bathing suit as heading to the beach is a must on your vacation. Shorts, sandals, and flips flops are appropriate for the day.
In the evening, you’ll want to bring a nicer outfit if you plan to enjoy the music and fine-dining scene. The evenings tend to be breezy, so you may want a light jacket.
In the fall and winter, the temperatures cool down. You’ll definitely want a jacket for the daytime, especially if you plan to golf, play tennis, or shop. Average temperatures this time of the year is in the 60s. There’s still plenty of sun, even in the winter time, so be sure to bring sunscreen, hats, and visors if you’re planning on spending time outside.
When planning your vacation, keep in mind that there is no public transportation on the Island. You’re going to need a vehicle to get around. You can rent a car from the airport if you are flying. Many people like to see Amelia Island by carriage. Make a reservation with Old Towne Carriage Company for a 30-minute ride around the historic district. The horse-drawn carriage rides leave the waterfront on Centre Street between 6:30 and 9 p.m. most evenings. Another exciting way to see the Island is to go on a walking tour.
You’ll find everything you need is nearby during your vacation, including spas, shops and equipment rentals. In fact, you’ll find some of the best spas in Florida right here on Amelia Island, ready to help make your vacation even more relaxing.
What to Know
Amelia Island is made up of 13 gorgeous miles of beach and is about 45-minutes by car from downtown Jacksonville. The Island is only 18 miles long and 3 miles wide. You’ll find 50 blocks of historical district filled with beautifully restored homes from the turn of the century. The historical district is named to the National Registry of Historic Places. Amelia Island is also home to Fort Clinch State Park where you’ll find Civil War relics and a 1,600 foot long fishing pier.
Why Vacation Rentals?
Vacation rentals offer the right price in the right place for your Amelia Island vacation. You’ll find a wide variety of homes, condos, and villas to choose from. You’ll be able to bring the entire family on vacation without breaking the budget.
Check out VacationRentals.com to see what’s available and start your Amelia Island vacation on the right foot.