Like all islands, Amelia is surrounded by water. But visitors here also find themselves surrounded by a sea of unforgettable things to do and see. From her pristine waters and long, beautiful beaches, to shady trails and historic sites and settings, Amelia Island offers an environment rich in possibility and pleasures. Here is a list of 13 exciting ways to ensure a rewarding and memorable experience on Amelia Island.
1 – A Wonder on the Water
Countless visitors have stepped from the wide sandy stretches of Amelia’s shores to explore and enjoy the island’s liquid assets. For a peaceful and picturesque aquatic adventure, visit Amelia River Cruises and Charters, or take a privately chartered sunset cruise with Windward Sailing. Luring boaters and anglers alike, Amelia’s waters are teeming with opportunity to land red bass, trout, flounder, tarpon, and more. The Amelia Island Charter Boat Association arranges fishing charters to suit every angler's needs.
2 – Paddle for Pleasure
Come face to face with egrets, herons and maybe even a dolphin, manatee or sea turtle with the fine folks at Kayak Amelia. Explore the tranquil salt marsh of Talbot Islands State Park and Timucuan Preserve. The three-hour trip includes a half-hour kayak fitting on the beach, basic safety and paddle instruction, and balance drill on water. Beginners make up more than 90 percent of Kayak Amelia's clientele, so children able to swim and stay in a kayak for two hours are more than welcome. Kayak Amelia offers guided Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) tours. Owners Ray and Jodi Hetchka are experts on the sport, the island and at having fun.
3 – Saddle Up on the Shore
No visit to Amelia Island is complete without a horseback ride along the pristine shore. Visitors have several options, Happy Trails Walking Horses, Kelly Seahorse Ranch, Ride the Beaches of Amelia, and Stay ‘N Country Ranch. Located on a 200 acre preserve where you can observe dolphins, shorebirds and other wildlife, Kelly Seahorse Ranch is one of only a handful of beach horseback riding opportunities in the nation. The gentle and well-trained horses and professional guides give visitors a fun and novel way to enjoy Amelia's fantastic white-sand beaches and the beauty of the ocean. Happy Trails Walking Horses, Ride the Beaches of Amelia and Stay 'N Country Ranch offer private horseback riding along the beach from Peter's Point Park, located just north of The Ritz-Carlton.
4 – Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
For a unique perspective of historic downtown Fernandina, take a horse-drawn carriage ride while you listen to a historical narrative of the historic district. Guides will entertain you with tales of new and old, revealing the true past of the people and inns that shape Amelia's distinctive history. This is a special treat for children and adults alike – there are not many things that can take you back in time like the clip-clop of hooves echoing down the streets of downtown Fernandina Beach.
5 – Amelia by Air
Visitors can enjoy an aerial tour of Amelia Island with Air Amelia or Skydive Amelia. Offering trike flying tours of Amelia Island, Air Amelia tours offer a unique way to experience the gorgeous scenery of Amelia Island. Skydive Amelia Island is providing visitors with a once-in-a-lifetime view of Amelia Island and her beaches from 10,000 feet in the air, during a one hour tandem skydive experience. Skydive Amelia Island uses only highly experienced United States Parachute Association (USPA) qualified instructors with thousands of tandem jumps between the team.
6 – Give Nature a Spin
Whether a bicycle or Segway, Amelia Island is a great destination for exploring nature. Cyclists can explore the various state parks, the trails at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, Egan’s Creek Greenway and more. With the CVB’s biking guide, visitors can determine the best trail for a leisurely or advanced ride. Additionally, guests can explore nature on a Segway tour of Amelia Island courtesy of Eco-Motion Tours or Amelia's Wheels at Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Greg and Maren Arnett operate Eco-Motion Segway, with excursions through Fort George Island's Trail to Kingsley Plantation, the Trail to Point Isabel, and Fort Clinch State Park. The Omni Amelia Island Plantation also offers daily Segway tours at Amelia’s Wheels with several tour options, including through the marsh and creek side or through maritime forest to the beach.
7 – Walk into Amelia's Past
The Isle of Eight Flags comes to life with a visit to Florida's first spoken history museum, the Amelia Island Museum of History. Located in what used to be the county jail, the museum offers weekly narrated, 90-minute walking tours through the streets of Fernandina Beach, up Historic Centre Street and into the Silk Stocking District. The tours introduce many of the great historical figures who influenced the architecture and business on the island. The museum’s story-telling tradition is upheld through twice daily docent-led tours, offering amazing tales of intrigue and adventure in the Eight Flags Gallery. The museum recently opened an Interactive Children’s Exhibit, which brings history to life for the entire family.
8 – Report for Fun at Fort Clinch
Fort Clinch is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts in the country. Daily tours with period re-enactors depicting garrison life bring the fort to life for visitors. The State Park also offers popular beach activities such as sunbathing, swimming and beachcombing. Anglers can fish from the pier to take advantage of excellent surf fishing. Hikers and bicyclists can explore a six-mile trail through the park and a view of the biggest sand dunes in the state of Florida. EcoMotion Tours offers three daily Segway tours through Fort Clinch State Park Monday through Friday. Self-guided nature trails provide opportunities to learn about and observe native plants and wildlife. Two full-facility campgrounds and a youth camping area provide overnight accommodations.
9 – Shop and Stroll
Amelia Island is home to an eclectic collection of local stores, shops, galleries and boutiques, as well as some familiar retailers. Fernandina Beach’s charming historic Centre Street provides a delightful shopping experience that spares the heavy hand of mass commercialization. The quaint shopping district blends local flavor and modern convenience with its Victorian past, offering a little something for every taste. The Shops at Omni Amelia Island Plantation offer trendy boutiques, a children’s clothier, unique home décor, and more. Wandering among the Shops’ shady, moss-draped oaks and reflective lagoon, shoppers can visit or dine at Marché Burette, the gourmet food market & deli. Located in Fernandina Beach, Sadler Road is home to an assortment of big-name stores, including Coldwater Creek, Talbots, and Starbucks.
10 – Dining
With more than 40 restaurants, each featuring a unique ambiance and flavor, Amelia Island offers something for every appetite. From fresh Florida seafood and authentic Spanish specialties to fine dining masterpieces and decadent desserts, Amelia Island’s menu of restaurants provide a satisfying selection of dining experiences. The AAA Five Diamond restaurant, Salt, features an exclusive, “Seat in the Kitchen” private dining experience with customized menu. In downtown Fernandina Beach, LuLu's at the Thompson House serves up a variety of lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch menu items, offering a selection of salad, sandwiches, entrees and homemade desserts. Countless other dining options are available, from BarZin Wine Bar on the south end of the island to the new fine dining establishment in downtown, David’s Restaurant.
11 – Stroll Historic Centre Street
Once a vibrant, Victorian seaport village, charming downtown Fernandina Beach escaped the commercialization of the 20th century. Today, the town boasts a beautiful 50-block historic district with many original structures dating back to the late 19th century, including many Victorian-style mansions and Victorian cottages. Take a stroll through the heart of Amelia Island's shopping district, historic Centre Street, and peruse books from The Book Loft, Shark’s Teeth at Hunt’s Art & Artifacts, unique gifts from Twisted Sister and delicious fudge from Fernandina’s Fantastic Fudge.
12 – Get in the Swing
Amelia Island is truly a golfer's paradise. Named "Silver Medal Golf Resort" by Golf Magazine, Omni Amelia Island Plantation boasts 54 championship holes, each course recognized as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Amelia Links,
designed by Pete Dye and Bobby Weed, offers 36 holes on two signature courses – Oak Marsh and Ocean Links. Long Point, home of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation School of Golf, is incorporates primal marshlands and the towering sand dunes of the Atlantic. The Golf Club of Amelia Island features an 18-hole championship course located next to Ocean Place. Designed by Mark McCumber and Gene Littler, the course takes full advantage of the natural terrain offering spectacular views. The 27-hole Fernandina Beach Golf Club is considered one of the finest public courses in the Southeast. Amelia River – is an 18-hole, 6,823-yard Tom Jackson design in which ball control and accuracy are the keys to a great round.
13 – Indulge in Luxury
After a long day of island fun, unwind at one of Amelia’s luxurious spas designed to relax, rejuvenate and refine. An alluring hideaway tucked beneath the grand Florida oaks, The Spa & Salon at Omni Amelia Island Plantation features a full service health and fitness center at Racquet Park and The Spa with services including the signature Plantation Blossom Ritual, Seaside Sensory Journey, and an array of pampering services. With beautiful treatment rooms and a meditation garden, the Spa at Omni Amelia Island Plantation offers yoga classes and retreats in their tree house. An Aveda Concept Salon, Magna’s Salon is located on Centre Street in downtown Fernandina. Offering a full-service salon and spa, Magna’s offers everything from nail treatments to facials and massages. The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island offers massages, body skin treatments and facials. The Amelia Island Honey Butter Wrap is an aromatic scrub with rich emollients, while Heaven in a Hammock combines the benefits of “zero gravity” and massage. Entire selections of treatments are available for gentlemen and mothers-to-be, as well as group bookings. Other features include 26 treatment rooms, couples massage room, deluxe spa suite with private lounges, and cardio/weight room.
For visitor information and online planning, visit www.ameliaisland.com.
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