Nature & Outdoors
Amelia Island is renowned for its charming historic downtown, pristine beaches, eclectic restaurants, and world-class golf. But above all, visitors treasure the island’s natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Whether you are looking for nature trails, bike rides, or adventures on the water, a trip to Amelia Island has many activities to offer every nature lover.
Check in to the Courtyard/Springhill Suites Amelia Island, your home away from home for the next three days and a central island location. Looking for a quaint Bed & Breakfast? Try the Blue Heron Inn or the Hoyt House, both located in historic downtown Fernandina Beach.
Located within walking distance of the Courtyard Suites and right on the beach is Sandbar Amelia Island, Amelia Island’s only restaurant where you can either dine inside or on a large covered outdoor patio with an unobstructed view of the beach and ocean. Yep, it’s a nice welcome to the island. Offering an eclectic menu including shrimp & grits, wood-fired crispy pizzas, and a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, this is the perfect place to strategize your weekend plans and relax with an amazing ocean view.
INSIDER TIP: Split the Pig & Fig Pizza made with guanciale, red wine braised figs, mozzarella, garlic oli and arugula. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.
If you’re ready for an afternoon of nature and history, there’s something for everyone at Fort Clinch State Park. This 1,500-acre historic park provides exceptional recreational activities and wildlife viewing with three miles of beautiful shoreline for fishing, swimming, and shelling along with nature trails for hiking and biking that wind around a series of freshwater ponds where sunbathing turtles and alligators are often seen. Step into the year 1864 when you tour the amazing Civil War era fort located within the park and see re-enactors bring the past to life. Fort Clinch is a must-see and do while on Amelia Island.
More nature and wildlife can be viewed when hiking Egans Creek Greenway, running north to south along Egan’s Creek. Located right smack in the middle of the island the greenway will show you gorgeous marsh vistas, a variety of birds, alligators, snakes and local flora & fauna all in over 300 acres of beauty, nature and wildlife. There are benches located in various areas along the trail so if you get tired, sit a spell and take it all in. A great place for a nature selfie!
Salty Pelican, in downtown Fernandina Beach wants to make your dining experience delicious and memorable. Besides fresh local seafood, buffalo wings, house made loaded potato spring rolls, Salty Pelican stuffed burgers, and a selection of craft beers and fresh cocktails, they also bring you a spectacular sun set each afternoon. Grab a table upstairs on the deck and watch the day come to an end with a cold beer and an order of oysters on the half shell. It’s that good.
Enjoy a great cup of coffee and southern home-cookin’ at Bantam & Biddy located on the south end of the island. They serve breakfast all day so there’s no rush — but get there early anyway, the Fried Chicken and Cheddar Waffle is waiting for you. Add the homemade bourbon-pecan syrup to it. Trust me.
On the Water Adventures offers private guided nature tours through the back creeks and rivers of Amelia Island and Cumberland Island on board a 26′ center console panga boat. Take your pick of a two hour, half-day, or full-day trip to view the unspoiled beauty of undeveloped areas. See dolphins, wild horses, manatees, alligators, birds and a variety of other native wildlife.
If you’re a burger snob, we recommend a stop at Tasty’s. Not your average fast food burger joint, Tasty’s is located in an old gas station in downtown Fernandina Beach and offers a variety of burgers (including turkey and veggie) along with hand-cut fries, house-made sauces, chili dogs and a variety of sandwiches.
INSIDER TIP: Don’t forget to top off your meal with a handspun milkshake. They are delish! Beer and wine also available.
Although technically in Duval County, Little Talbot State Park is just off the southern tip of Amelia Island (over the south Amelia Island bridge) and is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands in Northeast Florida. Maritime forests, desert-like dunes, and undisturbed salt marshes allow for hours of nature study and relaxation. Diverse wildlife includes river otters, marsh rabbits, bobcats, and a variety of native and migratory birds. Take the incredible two mile nature walk that ends at the beach!
Amelia Island is known for it’s many eclectic dining establishments. But, every once in a while, we just crave a really good pizza. From wood-fired pizzas cooked the authentic Neapolitan way to a surf-inspired pizza joint, there are no shortage of pizza pies on Amelia Island.
Grab a cup of coffee and chocolate croissant at Amelia Island’s newest coffee shop, Twisted Table. Located on the corner of Ash and S 3rd Streets, Twisted Table offers a light breakfast of croissants, mini crustless quiche, delicious breakfast sandwiches and of course, coffee. All you need to get your day started!
Amelia Island is home to enough trails and paths to give you a change of scenery each day. Egan’s Creek Greenway trail is a special ride to view nature at its finest, and the Amelia Island Trail system allows you to bike over 5 miles from Peters Point Beachfront Park all the way to Amelia Island State Park on the island’s south end. Read more about pedal power on Amelia Island and then out there and ride!
Located just over the bridge on Amelia Island is Cantina Louie, where you can dine on enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, salads, and specialty tacos (the sriracha shrimp is my personal favorite) all in a super cool atmosphere. Also choose from an assortment of steak, chicken, pork and seafood entrées. If it’s chips & salsa and an icy margarita you want, move outside to the huge deck overlooking the marsh and just chill. Their full bar features daily drink specials as well as Mexican beers, wine and specialty tequilas.
Amelia River Cruises provides narrated, historic and wildlife sightseeing tours with views of dolphins, manatees, sea otters, alligators, and the wild horses of Cumberland Island National Seashore. You’re going to want to sign up for their Shrimping Eco Tour, an interactive and informative tour of the waters surrounding Amelia Island.
The Crab Trap is an iconic downtown seafood restaurant, family owned and operated, that has been serving locals and visitors alike since 1979! Featuring two floors of dining space, two bars, and a lounge, The Crab Trap offers Southern seafood platters and baskets, hand-cut steaks as well as other delicious land lover entrees. Start out with the lump crab cake appetizer and move on to a jumbo shrimp basket either fried, grilled or blackened. This is Florida — You have to get some seafood while you’re here!
INSIDER TIP: For decadence at it’s best, try the Lobster Macaroni & Cheese made with lobster meat, creamy cheddar sauce, and then lightly baked to a golden brown.
These suggestions are just a sneak peek of all Amelia Island has to offer as you plan your Nature Lovers Getaway. Other nature activities can be found here. Discover more and plan your perfect trip on www.ameliaisland.com for a complete list of places to stay, eat and play. We can’t wait for you to return!