Planning a trip to Amelia Island this year? It’s 2020 and we have perfect vision to get you started with 20 can’t-miss Amelia Island highlights.
1) FEET IN THE SAND
Start your journey with what’s on everyone’s mind: 13 miles of Atlantic Coast punctuated with plenty of public accesses and parking provide the chance to do as much or as little as you want, set to the backdrop of the waves. Walk out at sunrise for a view that you'll never forget, and take a look at our FAVORITE BEACH SPOTS
. Hunt for shells and shark teeth and, during the late spring and summer, possibly see a sea turtle nest during an excavation led by the AMELIA ISLAND SEA TURTLE WATCH
After a long day of island fun, unwind at one of Amelia’s luxurious spas. An alluring hideaway tucked beneath the grand Florida oaks, THE SPA AT OMNI AMELIA ISLAND RESORT
is a luxury, full-service spa boasting “clean and green” therapies and products. The spa’s Quartz Sand Table Massage is one of only 16 in the U.S., and enhances the traditional Swedish massage with psammo therapy, the ancient art of heated sand. With beautiful treatment rooms and a meditation garden, Magna’s Salon on Centre Street in downtown Fernandina is an Aveda Concept Salon offering everything from nail treatments to facials and massages. THE RITZ-CARLTON SPA, AMELIA ISLAND
also offers a wide assortment of facials, massages and body skin treatments. Signature treatments include the Amelia Island Honey Butter Wrap, an aromatic scrub with rich emollients, and Heaven in a Hammock, which combines the benefits of “zero gravity” and massage.
3) ADD ANOTHER DIMENSION TO YOUR TRIP
Hear local insights from 19th-century trailblazer David Yulee, watch baby sea turtles hatch and head to the water, listen to The Beach Lady at Nana Dune on American Beach and take your own virtual tour of the Amelia Island Lighthouse, through your mobile device! The newest addition to the Amelia Island Mobile App adds an augmented reality feature that adds a whole other layer of fun to your trip. Just hold your phone camera up to the designated signs and watch your scene come to life! Start your journey HERE
4) DINE ON DELIGHTS
Over 100 local restaurants are serving up dishes representing all corners of the globe and taste profiles. Hungry guests can enjoy everything from Asian street food to French crepe and Spanish tapas to New York-style delis, and of course, a whole lot of local seafood in between. AMELIA ISLAND RESTAURANT WEEK
, January 17 – 26, is the perfect time to sample a little of everything or check out signature events, with special menus at special prices.
5) CATCH SOME ZZZs
Amelia Island will be welcoming some new hotels over the next couple of years! HOME2 SUITES BY HILTON
opened in late December 2019. Designed for those who prefer the suite life, the hotel is tech-focused and eco-concious. The Courtyard by Marriott and Springhill Suites by Marriott broke ground in the Main Beach area of Fernandina Beach. Watch for it to open next Spring (2021)!
6) ARM YOURSELF FOR FUN AT FORT CLINCH
Regarded as one of Florida's best State Parks, FORT CLINCH
takes visitors back in time to garrison life during the Civil War, from the view from the ramparts to the blacksmithing, woodworking, and occasional cannon firing that takes place during monthly Living History re-enactments. Drive in under a lush canopy road, bike on the trails, fish from shores, or take a nature walk along secluded paths. Campsites for tents and RVs are available, and the beaches are some of the most secluded (and richest in shells and sharks' teeth) on the island.
8) DISCOVER AMERICAN BEACH
Founded in 1935 by Afro American Insurance Company President A. L. Lewis, American Beach was for “recreation and relaxation without humiliation” during the era of Jim Crow. In its heyday, American Beach drew luminaries from art, music and sports, and generations of families continue to enjoy it. The AMERICAN BEACH MUSEUM
tells the story of this place and that of one of its most spirited advocates, Mavynee Betsch, the great-granddaughter of A. L. Lewis, better known as “The Beach Lady.”
9) FIND YOUR OHM
What could be healthier for the soul than a good dose of sun, surf, and vitamin D? From yoga classes on the beach to a healthy cooking class at the Amelia Island Culinary Academy to an organic smoothie or acai bowl at The Surf cafe. Take a look at some of the WAYS TO WELLNESS
on Amelia Island and the GREAT SPOTS FOR YOGA
. Stay tuned for announcements on the Annual Wellness Festival this spring!
10) WALK THE PLANK... OR PLAYGROUND
The smallest timbers will shiver with delight when they spot the shady, all-abilities PIRATE PLAYGROUND
behind the Atlantic Rec Center and adjoining the Egan's Creek Greenway. TIMOTI'S SEAFOOD SHAK
also boasts a pirate boat play structure set next to picnic tables where the family can enjoy shrimp baskets and other delicacies. Pirates over 21 are fond of the signature Pirate's Punch served at Florida's oldest saloon, THE PALACE
11) HAVE AN UNFORGETTABLE HOLIDAY
The Historic District of downtown Fernandina Beach becomes a twinkling Victorian wonderland when DICKENS ON CENTRE
arrives with costumed characters, entertainment, children's games and of course visits and photos with jolly old St. Nick.
12) GET SWEPT AWAY BY MUSIC
One of the nation’s most renowned classical music festival, the AMELIA ISLAND CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL
is once again bringing some of the world’s best musical artists to headline its 19th annual season (Jan. 24 – April 26, 2020). 10 concerts will feature guest artists of national and international acclaim, in programs of traditional classical music, light classics, and music reflecting America’s roots. Then in the fall, the Amelia Island Jazz Festival returns to the shores of Amelia Island.
14) TAKE IN A SHOW
Amelia Island stages host a variety of productions all year long. AMELIA COMMUNITY THEATRE
, located in the historic district and the oldest company, houses two stages, the impressive Main Stage and the more intimate Studio 209. AMELIA MUSICAL PLAYHOUSE
is known for its musicals, with all performances featuring a live orchestra, but also stages plays and seasonal revues.
15) CAST A REEL
The AMELIA ISLAND GUIDES ASSOCIATION
brings together Charter Boat operators, fishing guides, kayak guides and tour guides to take you on your Amelia Island adventure. Working together, they offer a variety of trips available to suit groups ranging from a small family to a large corporate meeting. If it's heading offshore or fishing the backwaters of Amelia Island, AMELIA ISLAND CHARTER BOAT ASSOCIATION
also has an outstanding group of experienced charter captains to provide everything your family or group need for a day of deep sea fishing, backwater fishing or sailing. Lots of Amelia memories to be made on the water!
16) TAKE A TOUR (AND LEARN SOMETHING.)
See how vodka, rum, and more are made in uniquely local style at MARLIN AND BARREL DISTILLERY
. Enjoy a self-guided stroll through the creative offerings of the ARTRAGEOUS ART WALK
, held every second Saturday evening and featuring more than a dozen galleries. Or explore the beach, Egan's Creek, or Historic Downtown with a personalized walking tour by DISCOVER THIS CO
. AMELIA SHARK TOOTH ADVENTURES
takes you on a special kind of hunt (and teaches you the tricks of the trade.) AMELIA ADVENTURES
offers private boat and kayak tours as well as SUP excursions that can be tailored to you and your fellow travelers.
17) GET IN THE SWING
Amelia Island is truly a golfer’s paradise. Named a “Silver Medal Golf Resort” by Golf Magazine, OMNI AMELIA ISLAND RESORT
boasts 36 championship holes, each course recognized as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. Oak Marsh offers 14 holes that meander along serpentine salt marsh creeks and through the moss draped heritage oaks for which Amelia Island is famous. Long Point, home of the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Golf Academy, 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. The 27-hole FERNANDINA BEACH GOLF CLUB
is considered one of the finest public courses in the Southeast. AMELIA RIVER GOLF CLUB
is an 18-hole, 6,823-yard Tom Jackson design, where ball control and accuracy are key to a great round.
18) PADDLE FOR PLEASURE
Come face to face with egrets, herons and maybe even a dolphin, manatee or sea turtle on kayaks, stand-up paddleboard (SUP) and canoes. Sunset kayak tours by AMELIA ISLAND KAYAK EXCURSIONS
and STAND UP PADDLEBOARD YOGA WITH KAYAK AMELIA
are two unique ways to experience it. Local experts allow guests to tour various aspects of Amelia Island’s inland waters, including the tranquil salt marsh of Talbot Island State Parks, Timucuan Preserve and Egan’s Creek.
19) SHOP 'TIL YOU DROP
Amelia Island is home to an eclectic collection of local STORES, SHOPS, GALLERIES AND BOUTIQUES
, as well as some well-known retailers. Head to the Historic District and walk down and off Centre Street and discover the uniquely local shops and antique markets, all within easy walking distance and stretching up to the Beech Street Shoppes on 8th and Beech streets. On the south end, PALMETTO WALK SHOPPING VILLAGE
and the SHOPS OF AMELIA ISLAND PLANTATION
offer an array of options set under the live oaks with welcoming porches. Start planning your excursion HERE.
20) DISCOVER EIGHT FLAGS WORTH OF HISTORY
The AMELIA ISLAND MUSEUM OF HISTORY
, in the heart of the Historic District and housed in what was once a jail holding storied prisoners including pirate Luis Aury, uphold their story-telling tradition through twice-daily, docent-led tours, offering amazing tales of intrigue and adventure in the Eight Flags Gallery. The museum offers an Interactive Children’s Exhibit, which brings history to life for the entire family, and cell phone tours of downtown Fernandina Beach. The Museum also operates the smaller SHRIMPING MUSEUM
on the harbor front, illustrating the families and traditions of the modern shrimping industry's birthplace, Fernandina Beach. Just blocks away, the MARITME MUSEUM
spotlights maritime & pirate history including artifacts & treasure recovered from shipwrecks.