1. Take a dip
. There's nothing quite like a child's first aquatic experience with Mom and Dad. From the 13 miles of beaches to lesser-known swimming pools, these are the top spots
for first dips and first doggy-paddles. The splash park at the Atlantic Recreation Center is the ideal place for wee ones to get acquainted with the water, while older children can swim in the adjacent pool.
2. Go play with the pirates. Located not far from Main Beach and adjoining Egan's Creek, check out the Pirate Playground
. The securely fenced in playground integrates art, nature, music and imagination to stimulate all ages and physically abilities. The park has restrooms and picnic tables, as well as access to the Greenway. Next door to the park is the Atlantic Rec Center. This community building features a large pool where older children can take a dip, as well as a smaller splash pool for the little ones.
3) Learn about the creatures of the sea. Children can come to understand how that delicious local shrimp is caught while learning about local ecology, all while taking in views of the Intracoastal Waterway on a family-friendly Amelia River Cruise
. Some may even see dolphins.
4. Take in the natural attractions. You’ll find the The Nature Center
open to the public and located at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation
. Operated by staff with backgrounds in biology and environmental studies, this educating experience offers children a fun and captivating way to learn about the environment around them. Stop by for a Critter Talk and meet Buddy the Parrot.
5. Curl up with a good read. On a rainy day, children can cuddle up with a lovingly selected book while Mom and Dad sip caffe lattes, browsing a highly curated collection at the new Story & Song Bookstore Bistro
. With two levels, an open-air courtyard, and a lively event calendar replete with visiting authors, there's always something happening at this neighborhood bookstore, located within the quaint Amelia Park district. While downtown, the charming Book Loft
beckons with its award-winning window display. Inside, find rare editions, a children's nook, and even French conversation classes -- all in addition to best-sellers that are perfect for the beach.
6. Discover your inner Pippi. Who knows family fun better than the pigtailed adventuress Pippi Longstocking? Inspired by the story (and by the presence of the Captain's House or the "Pippi Longstocking House," the historic residence in Old Town that was used in the 1988 movie filmed on Amelia Island. Theresa Duncan opened Villa Villekula Toys
, a neighborhood toy store in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach that features room to play and an array of hand-picked, fun, educational, open-minded, outdoor, and eco-friendly toys. The colorful store is a great place to stock up on games and puzzles for car rides, too. For more games, beach toys, and adorable southern fare (think smocked motifs with monograms), Monkey Barrel
offers a classic yet innovative selections of gifts at The Shops of Amelia Island Plantation
The "Pippi Longstocking House"
7. Skate, seaside. If your children have an adventurous spirit, they are sure to be enthralled by the skate park
located at Main Beach. This busy park is a favorite amongst the locals for skateboards, scooters and rollerblades. Whilst the older kids are enjoying the halfpipe, the younger children can enjoy the adjacent play park or swing some golf clubs on the putt-putt course
8) Escape indoors. A great option to keep your older teenagers entertained, Amelia Island Escape Rooms
is an exciting puzzle room that will have their brains turning in no time. With 3 options to choose from, this is the perfect group rainy day activity. Once you enter the room, you must solve a variety of tasks and riddles to “escape”. Try to complete the task within the set time frame or ask for some clues to help you along. ]
9) Go back in time. Pack up the entire family for a wholesome experience at Florida's first spoken museum: Amelia Island Museum of History
. Explore through their exhibits, choose from tours for all ages, and navigate to their interactive children's area. You'll feel as if you lived through Amelia Island’s legendary history from their fascinating storytelling. Fort Clinch
offers a the "secret", well-shaded playground across from the fort entrance, and everyone can enjoy the reenactors that animate the historic experience. (Bet you can't get them out of character! )
10) See real treasure. Aspiring treasure hunters can learn from the pros at The Amelia Island Maritime Museum
, which brings the maritime history of Amelia Island to life with stories, artifacts and photographs. Pirates and treasure abound! Take a look at ameliaisland.com/treasure
for a short family-friendly film to whet your appetites for exploration.
No matter your age and the number of generations in your group, the possibilities for bonding on Amelia Island are endless. The great outdoors and unique character of this Florida gem await all ages.