Whether you are a full or part-time resident or planning a multi-generational trip, you will find Amelia Island an idyllic setting to connect with your family. Wide open beaches, wildlife-filled marshes and a rich history combined with plenty of unique kid-friendly things to do make Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach a perfect place for grandparents and their grandchildren to make memories together. Here are some favorite things for grandparents to do with their grandchildren on Amelia Island:
FUN IN THE SAND AND SURF
Obviously, no trip to Amelia island is complete without a visit to the beach.
While you may not get to lounge oceanside with the grandkids in tow, there is plenty of fun to be had together!
In the winter, when the water is too cold for swimming, pick up a Surfer Dude and have fun throwing it in the waves and watching it surf back! This low-impact activity for you is still plenty of active fun for the kids as they run and chase the surfer.
Or, look for shark’s teeth! If you aren’t a pro - Amelia Shark Tooth Adventures offers tours with knowledgeable guides who will help you find and identify sharks’ teeth while teaching you about sharks and local ecology.
Bolder children may enjoy donning a wetsuit and taking a lesson or two from Surf Asylum which offers surf lessons year-round, seven days a week. The surf school, owned and operated by local surfers, is known for its kids’ surfing programs, but adventurous grandparents are welcome to join in on a lesson, too! (Or the 60-minute lesson could be a great opportunity to relax on the beach!) Each lesson includes use of a surfboard and rash guard, so no equipment necessary!
Amelia Island offers plenty of fun nature activities that everyone can enjoy.
Active grandparents and their busy grandkids can stay entertained all day at Fernandina Beach’s Fort Clinch State Park. There are miles of nature trails that wind through the maritime forest, beautiful beaches, a playground, a popular fishing pier and, of course, the historic Fort and museum.
For something less physically challenging but still exciting, Amelia River Cruises offers a number of family-friendly and accessible 1 to 2 hour cruises. Each tour is packed with educational content that allows you to experience the diverse ecosystems of the area while relaxing on a comfortable boat.
The Amelia Island Nature Center at the Omni Amelia Island Resort is a fun stop for kids. There, you can visit with rescued critters and chat with a naturalist about the local ecosystems. You can also rent fishing poles here, so you can enjoy a classic bonding activity with the grandkids - fishing!
Amelia Island has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years, so there is plenty of history to explore!
The Amelia Island Museum of History has a fun, interactive kids’ area and is open daily. They also offer docent-led walking tours of downtown Fernandina Beach and for older kids they host spooky Ghost Tours.
Just down the street from the Amelia Museum of History is the Maritime Museum of Amelia Island. Here you can see real pirate treasure and all kinds of other amazing things found in shipwrecks uncovered by the Amelia Research crew. On any given day you may be able to meet and talk to a member of the crew who actively hunts shipwrecks.You may even have a chance to spot their unique research vessel off Amelia’s shores.
SHOP AND EAT TIL YOU DROP DOWNTOWN
Downtown Fernandina Beach is a charming Victorian city filled with unique shops and delicious restaurants. You may want to visit the “jewel of Amelia Island” more than once with your grandchildren.
Is there anything that grandparents love to do more than spoil their grandkids with sweets and gifts?! For sweets, you’ll definitely need to make a trip to Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop, an old-fashioned style soda fountain that also features decadent homemade desserts. It is also a great spot for cute photo opportunities.
If you haven’t visited Fernandina’s Fantastic Fudge, then you haven’t visited Fernandina. If you get lucky, you can watch as they make the fudge- first mixing in huge copper pots, then tossing with a paddle on a marble slab. On busy weekends expect a wait for your ice cream, but the fresh-made waffle cones are worth it.
Make a trip to Amelia Island’s adorable old-fashioned toy store part of your tradition. Stop in to Villa Villekulla Toys at the beginning of your visit to choose a few activities to do together. Completing a puzzle, playing a fun board game or building a model together will be fun for everyone and create fond memories.
Make sure to schedule time for the best activity to do with your grandchildren on Amelia Island - absolutely nothing! Grab a pitcher of lemonade and a comfy seat on the porch and just enjoy being together in this quiet, slow southern town.
Toy expert and guest blogger, Theresa Duncan of Villa Villekulla Toys, is passionate about the power of play for all ages. Stop in her unique toy store the next time you’re downtown.