Guest Blogger: Visiting Amelia Island During the Pandemic 

February 23, 2021
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Guest blogger, Amelia Island native and lifestyle blogger, McKenzie Fussell, shares why Amelia Island is the perfect place to visit during the pandemic.  Fun fact: Her daughter’s, Amelia and Alba Grace are 5th generation island girls! 
Every day spent on Amelia Island, FL is a day well spent, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic! We could all use a few extra vacation days this year and Amelia Island is the perfect getaway. Relax at the beach, safely enjoy dining in some of the south’s best restaurants and take a trip back in time by soaking up Fernandina’s rich history. Plus you can take advantage of the Island Perks special offers right now at participating places to stay and receive $100 Visa incentive card to spend on shopping, activities, culinary delights, or even a jump between breweries!
When it comes to where to stay on your next visit, we truly have the best of both worlds right here on the island. Stay downtown in a charming inn for a romantic getaway or bring the whole family for a fun-filled stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island or Omni Amelia Island Resort
We recently snuck away from our kiddos for a staycation at Amelia Island’s newest inn. If you’re a history buff, you’ll absolutely love the charming Amelia Island Schoolhouse Inn! Built downtown in 1886 as a schoolhouse, it’s now home to a 17-room inn with an on-site bar called the Principal’s Office that offers an amiable atmosphere! The Principal’s Office is an excellent stop for a pre-dinner craft cocktail or evening snack. Highly recommend you give the “Fire Drill” or the “Valedictorian” cocktail a try on your next visit!  
The inn is part of the Southern Living hotel collection so you can expect a lot of good ole’ fashioned southern hospitality as well as the convenience of being able to walk to everything the charming downtown streets of Fernandina Beach have to offer. During our staycation, we treated ourselves to a delicious dinner at David’s Restaurant and treats at The Decantery followed by breakfast at Fernandina’s very own Cuban Café, Hola!, the next morning. With so many wonderful restaurants within walking distance of the inn, we recommend a progressive dinner trying out apps, drinks, entrees, and desserts at different local restaurants! 
For a trip the entire family will love, you can’t go wrong with The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island or Omni Amelia Island Resort! Both are beautiful resorts with plenty of on-site activities to keep everyone busy. Each resort has convenient beach access, gorgeous golf courses, kid-friendly activities, and plenty of poolside space to relax in - so there’s plenty of room for socially distanced fun! 


Although she’s small, Amelia Island has so much to offer visitors. You are sure to find something everyone in the family will enjoy! A few of our favorite ways to spend island time:
Visit Fort Clinch – Camping, fishing, history, and trails. There’s a little something for everyone at Fort Clinch State Park and we recommend you take advantage of all of it. If you drive through around sunset, you’re likely to catch a glimpse of the many deer calling the property home. 
Set Sail with Amelia River Cruises – We always recommend the Amelia River Cruises to visitors and we find ourselves enjoying it as much as possible! The adult twilight cruise is our go-to, but the other tours are fun too if you’re looking for an educational experience! 
Browse the Farmer’s Market – Spend your Saturday morning perusing booths set up by local farmers, businesses and artisans. Supporting our local makers is so appreciated right now! There’s a little something for everybody! The Fernandina Beach Market Place takes place on North 7th Street from 9am-1pm, every Saturday, rain or shine!
Retail Therapy - Browse beautiful home decor on the south end of the island at Cape House and the Plantation Shop. Pop into the Monkey Barrel for darling children’s wear and then head downtown to browse dozens of antique stores and boutiques! While strolling any of the three shopping areas, you’ll find plenty of unique shops to spend your Island Perks gift card!
Pro tip: grab a box of fudge from Fantastic Fudge for your road trip home! 


For a 13 by 4-mile island, you wouldn’t think we’d have a lot to offer in the food department, but you’ll find the opposite to be true. The culinary scene around here is pretty darn impressive. We could quickly fill up your travel itinerary with suggestions, so we’ll only share the absolute favorites!
Breakfast & Brunch
T-Rays Burger Station is located in an old gas Station at Beech and 8th and is a local favorite with a big personality! Their biscuits and gravy are top notch! For something just a bit more formal, the Garden Bistro is a gem of a place. A seat in the courtyard on a Saturday morning is sometimes hard to come by but well worth the wait!
Leddy’s Porch is located in the Florida House Inn (a must see while visiting) which makes it my favorite spot for chicken and waffles or mimosas!
Aloha Bagel is DELICIOUS. Perfect to grab and take with you if you’re heading out on an adventure. The cheddar bagel is worth every calorie.
Hola! Cuban Cafe has the most amazing coffee, pastries and snacks! Might run down and grab a Cubano after I write this!
Be sure to make time for brunch at The Patio Place (Friday-Saturday) for crepes and a bottomless mimosas bar in the cutest outdoor setting!
^^ Can you tell we love breakfast?!
Cafe Karibo! We’ve yet to find anything on the menu that isn’t worth writing home about. The sangria is out of this world, the service is always dynamite and there isn’t a bad table.
Lagniappe is one of our newer restaurants but it’s quickly become a town favorite. Be sure to ask about the dessert menu while you’re there!
Timoti’s is a casual outdoor seafood “shack” located downtown. It’s a fun atmosphere with picnic tables, yummy wild-caught seafood served in paper baskets and a pirate ship playground for the kids to run around on. The perfect lunch to grab to-go for a picnic at one of our beautiful parks! 
If it’s tasty Spanish fare you desire, look no further than Espana. Comfy outdoor seating, a huge selection of tapas, and the best sangria in town (have them mix your red + white, it’s delish!) It’s numero uno on TripAdvisor for a reason!
Le Clos is also a TripAdvisor favorite. Upscale French-inspired cuisine served up in a house just like your grandmothers. You’ll feel right at home. Better suited for date night than a family dinner! *Now I’m craving onion frites!
First Love Brewing is one of the newest additions to our Amelia Island favorite’s roundup. A smaller menu because the focus is on the brews, but everything on said menu is tastefully delicious. This is a fun spot for a lighter dinner or lunch, or just to grab a drink. Speaking of drinks, you’ll have to head down the street to check out the recently opened, Mocama brewery next! We recommend you give “The Cosmico” a try! 
Shuckers and The Down Under are both kid-friendly seafood restaurants with fantastic views! Two great spots to grab oysters and enjoy live music just over the bridge from the island but with fantastic views. 
If you’re ready for a change of scenery and an experience you’ll always remember, a special visit to Amelia island should be at the very top of your travel bucket list. I’m always open to provide more insight or local favorite suggestions if you reach out to me through Instagram messenger or check out more on my 2020 Amelia Island Travel Guide!

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Located just off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island is easy to reach, but hard to forget. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island has long been a beloved destination for visitors and residents alike.