Restaurants & BarsShoppingStay
Escape the holiday hustle and bustle with a relaxing Amelia Island Christmas getaway. Whether you stay in a historic bed & breakfast, a holiday rental by the sea, a luxurious resort, or a room at a familiar hotel, Amelia Island offers you a home away from home for the holidays complete with magical memory making. Take a look at this 3-day Christmas itinerary so you don’t miss a thing!
Kick off your Christmas weekend at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island’s Coast Restaurant to enjoy healthy, hearty food from land and sea. Coast offers a fresh new take on coastal cuisine with a seasonal menu that includes local seafood, steaks, fresh pasta, salads and small plates. Try the Lobster Roll served on a Brioche roll with lemon and Old Bay seasoning. Oh my.
INSIDER TIP: You can dine inside but if the weather is nice, I would recommend outside on the terrace for beautiful views.
After lunch, you’re gonna want to sail into the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island to view the World’s Largest Gingerbread Pirate Ship. “This culinary masterpiece is lovingly crafted by a team of resort pastry chefs who begin baking gingerbread planks in October. The ship is manned by a crew sculpted from rice krispies and clothed in colorful fondant.” I’m pretty sure it has served as a backdrop for many a family photo and many a child’s dream.
If you’re worried that you haven’t checked off all the recipients on your holiday gift giving list, now’s your chance to fix that. Amelia Island is home to many eclectic retail experiences to satisfy even the hardest person to shop for. Check out these gift giving ideas or peruse through all the island’s shopping areas to see what last-minute things you may need!
Dine in a relaxed, upbeat indoor/outdoor atmosphere and enjoy creative American bistro cuisine. Bar Zin Bistro located on the south end of the island, offers a tapas style menu of comfort food everyone loves. Start with the Charcuterie board served with artisan cured meats and cheeses, house pickled vegetables, local honeycomb, and mustards. Photo credit: Bar Zin.
INSIDER TIP: The pan seared scallops with wild mushroom risotto is delicious and of course ending it with a mouthwatering dessert is the ultimate trifecta.
If this doesn’t get you ready for Christmas, I don’t know what will! How the Big Band Stole Christmas is an annual holiday show featuring all your favorite holiday songs, local celebrity singers, dancing, and acting. Word has it that St. Nick himself will make a last-minute appearance before he sets out on his big journey. Take a look at their official video and then click here to purchase tickets. Two Shows: Matinee at 3:30 and Evening Performance at 7:30
It’s Christmas Eve, y’all – let’s get this day started! Amelia Island Coffee is located smack in the middle of historic downtown Fernandina Beach and they are always up early. With a variety of hot and cold coffee and espresso drinks, organic teas, freshly baked pastries, and breakfast sandwiches and bagels, I’d say they have all your breakfast items covered. Grab a table or a seat on a comfy sofa and enjoy the eclectic vibe of “the coffee shop”.
Experience “old Florida” on a 2-hour guided kayak tour through the black waters of Lofton Creek. Amelia Island Kayak Excursions, a family-owned, award-winning touring company, is offering a Christmas Eve Kayak where guests can paddle and float through this wooded environment and see the best nature has to offer. Birds, wildlife, and flora & fauna are abundant. You’ll also receive a complimentary photo memory of your day on the water. 10am. Photo credit: Amelia Island Kayak Excursions.
INSIDER TIP: Festive holiday attire is encouraged. Think Santa hat, jingle bells, light necklaces, or the infamous ugly sweater.
Watch boats come and go and look out for dolphin in the Fernandina Harbor from the second floor of The Salty Pelican in historic downtown Fernandina Beach. They feature fresh local seafood, buffalo wings, house made loaded potato spring rolls, Salty Pelican stuffed burgers, and a selection of craft beers and fresh cocktails. Hey, it’s Christmas Eve. Time to celebrate!
Discover the rich history of Amelia Island through the elegant architecture of the Fernandina Beach Historic District. These post-Civil War-era houses and buildings not only offer a visually stunning experience but also hold captivating stories of the island’s past. Join Amelia Island Historic Tours and enjoy a complimentary adult beverage while they drive you around in comfort to see these charming historic homes. 3:30pm
Enjoy a delectable four-course holiday dinner at the Verandah, located at Omni Amelia Island Resort. The first course features chef’s amuse-bouche, followed by an appetizer, main plate and dessert of your choosing. No à la carte items available. $99 per adult and $49 per child. December 24, 5-10 p.m. and December 25, 3-10 p.m. Reservations recommended.
Before you turn in for the night, make sure you take in the holiday sights and lights all around the island. Start in historic downtown and make your way to Citrona Drive in the center of the island where lights and merriment can be found in several neighborhoods. Don’t want to stop there? No problem. Check out this list of all the places nearby, and a short drive away, where you can see fantastic Christmas lights.
Greet this Christmas morning with a stroll in nature along Egans Creek Greenway, an area of protected, sensitive lands situated between Atlantic Avenue and Sadler Road. The Greenway provides birdwatching, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, and more along two trails so don’t forget to take pictures. If you’re traveling with younger explorers, the Pirate Playground at the trail entrance off Atlantic Avenue is a great place for kiddos to play.
The way to spread Christmas cheer on Amelia Island isn’t always singing loud for all to hear. Sometimes, it’s with painted sea shells, compliments of the fine folks at Amelia Shells, who collect and paint a variety of shells throughout the year and then hide them around our beautiful island for people to find. Head down to Main Beach on Christmas day and see if you can find one of these treasures… or, maybe even a shark tooth. Either one is the ultimate Christmas gift from nature and the beach!
Merry Christmas! Whether you just want to relax and enjoy someone else’s cooking or don’t have access to a kitchen, there will be something open on Christmas day sure to please every palate. Take a look at this list of Amelia Island restaurants that are open on Christmas Day to serve you. Whether you dine in or out, we hope this day is joyous.
These suggestions are just a sneak peek of all Amelia Island has to offer during your Christmas Weekend Getaway. Discover more and plan your perfect trip on ameliaisland.com for a complete list of places to stay, eat and play. We’re looking forward to seeing you and your family here for years to come. Merry Christmas!