Most Adventurous Travelers Are From ... Article and photo by Charles McCool for McCool Travel

8 Great Things to Do in Amelia Island Florida

Eight different nations ruled the 13 mile long barrier island in northeast Florida called Amelia Island. As the only place in the USA claiming this distinction, Amelia Island businesses incorporate the “eight flags” theme  whenever possible.

Among the many cool things to do in Amelia Island is experience and explore Old Florida (history and nature), eat amazing fresh seafood, and mingle with some of USA’s most artistic and quirky people.

Avast ye, more pirates trolled the shores around Amelia Island than anywhere else in the US. Who can say whether any privateer or buccaneer descendants still abound? Local legend says pirate booty is hidden somewhere on Amelia Island. Shiver me timbers!

McCool Travel tip: while South Florida and Central Florida experience an overwhelming number of visitors between January and April, Amelia Island is relatively quiet but still has great weather.

Thank you to Amelia Island tourism for inviting me to experience cool, happy and fun things to do in Amelia Island. I was not otherwise compensated and this content represents my independent thoughts about Amelia Island.


 

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

Beaches on Amelia Island

Amelia Island beaches regularly appear on lists of top beaches so you know they must be gorgeous. They are! Amelia Island beaches are wide, have white quartz sand (feels great on the feet!), and, in certain areas, are firm enough for 4 wheel drive vehicles to drive on (the beach, not your feet). The City of Fernandina Beach lends beach wheelchairs to residents and visitors. How cool is that? Keep reading for the McCool Travel inside scoop on where to find shark teeth. Yes, shark teeth!

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

Amelia Island beaches are wide and gorgeous

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

Amelia Island beach sand is hard enough to drive on

For Florida road trip ideas, please read 7 Fun Scenic Drives in Florida

Fernandina Beach

The historic downtown of Fernandina Beach houses the oldest bar in Florida and the oldest hotel in Florida. In fact, the National Register of Historic Places recognizes and protects 50 blocks and 400 structures in downtown Fernandina Beach. Allow plenty of time to walk the historic district and shop, eat, drink, and view the architecture. Take a photo of Kate’s Tree, a magnificent canopied oak in the middle of the street, named for the woman (Kate Bailey) who refused to let the town remove it.

Amelia Island Trolleys provides narrated tours of the historic district and Old Town. Coastal Living‘s readers voted Fernandina Beach as the Best Historic Downtown and #4 Happiest Seaside Town. Pelicans in the marina and a Pétanque tournament (with participants from more than 12 countries) entertained me during my latest visit.

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

tiled exterior in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island things to do

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

Kate’s Tree in Fernandina Beach is a fun thing to see in Amelia Island

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida.

Pétanque America Open in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island, Florida

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

Amelia Island wildlife: pelicans at Fernandina Beach Marina


 

Places to Eat in Amelia Island

Experience a dizzying range of culinary amazingness on Amelia Island. Salt (at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island) is one of only three AAA 5 diamond restaurants in the entire state of Florida—there are only 51 AAA 5 diamond restaurants in the entire US. In the heart of the historic district, Timoti’s serves only wild caught seafood. Slider’s is a local favorite, right on the beach, with a tiki bar, live music, and a fun playground for the kiddos. The setting, vibe, and local presence at Green Turtle Tavern reminds me of Key West. Allow time to drink a beer at The Palace Saloon, Florida’s oldest bar.

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

clementine sorbet and tuna tartare at Salt, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island Florida

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

Slider’s in Fernandina Beach FL: places to eat in Amelia Island

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

Amelia Island Florida restaurants: fresh grilled seafood at Timoti’s in Fernandina Beach

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

where to eat in Amelia Island: Green Turtle Tavern, Fernandina Beach Florida

For places to eat in Florida, please read Places to Eat in Florida Local Favorites

Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch State Park occupies the northern end of Amelia Island. Look across the water to see Cumberland Island in Georgia. More than just an historic fort, though, the 1,400 acre state park provides many recreation opportunities. Hike and bike the oak canopied trails, fish or swim in the ocean water, camp in an authentic “Old Florida” setting, and search for shark teeth on the 3 miles of shoreline. I found a shark tooth on the beach in front of the fort!

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

visit Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island Florida


Kayak

Kayaking in Lofton Creek highlighted my Amelia Island visit. Amelia Island Kayak Excursions provides all the equipment and a passionate, knowledgeable guide who enhances the adventure. My 2 hour tour glided by gorgeous, natural, old Florida—no housing developments, traffic, or commercial enterprises. Tannic acid runoff from decaying vegetation causes the black water of Lofton Creek.

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

Amelia Island kayaking on Lofton Creek, Florida

For more kayaking funness, please read Fun Places to Kayak in US

Where to Stay in Amelia Island

After staying at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation and The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island properties on this trip, I created the term relaxed luxury. With rooms facing the ocean, massive and pristine beaches, amazing recreational opportunities, and phenomenal cuisine, both resorts epitomize relaxed luxury. Other enticing places to stay in Amelia Island include several other hotels, vacation rental properties, and magnificent inns in the Fernandina Beach historic district.

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida

a great place to stay in Amelia Island is Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida.

one of the best places to stay in Amelia Island is The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island

Another Amelia Island lodging option is a vacation rental, including a condo, apartment, or house. >>> To receive $40 off your first Airbnb rental, click here.

For fun Florida lodging suggestions, please read Fabulous Relaxed Luxury Resorts in Florida

Explore Nature

The largest sand dune in Florida is located on Amelia Island. It is named Nana and protected as part of the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (a National Park property). Visit Nana in American Beach, just south of The Ritz-Carlton property. A little further south, across the bridge, is Big Talbot Island State Park. Magnificent 100 foot driftwood trees adorn Boneyard Beach.

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida.

NaNa in Amelia Island is the tallest sand dune in the state of Florida

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida.

Amelia Island Florida attractions: largest sand dune in Florida

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida.

what to see in Amelia Island: epic trees at Big Talbot Island State Park

8 Great Things To Do in Amelia Island Florida.

giant driftwood trees at Boneyard Beach, Florida

In addition to kayaking, boating, and hiking, many visitors love bicycling around Amelia Island. Choose from several miles of bike paths, including many with gorgeous oak tree canopies.

What would you add to this McCool Travel list of things to do in Amelia Island?


Amelia Island Resources

Amelia Island CVB (tourist office): website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Fabulous Relaxed Luxury Resorts in Florida

Hidden Gems of Amelia Island, Florida

Soak Up Beachfront Charm at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

Savour the Flavors of Amelia Island Restaurants in Florida

5 Reasons to Plan a Family Vacation to Amelia island

Guide to Amelia Island from TripAdvisor

Amelia Island: “It’s simply perfect” from Atlanta Magazine


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Things to do in Amelia Island Florida include visiting the historic district, a wide variety of food and drink, state parks, recreational activities, & more

8 Great Things to Do in Amelia Island was first published on McCool Travel on 24 April 2017.

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16 Responses to “8 Great Things to Do in Amelia Island Florida”

  1. Agness January 13, 2019 at 8:59 pm #

    This will surely be on my bucket list Charles. I’m still trying to plan my trip to the US.

    • McCoolTravel (@CharlesMcCool) January 14, 2019 at 4:47 pm #

      Definitely a sweet place to check out. Let me know if you want any tips or suggestions. I mean, as you know, the US is sooooo much.

  2. knycx May 1, 2017 at 12:50 am #

    Thanks for introducing the Island and there are some interesting things to do – for example, I would be interested in trying Pétanque 😛 @ knycx.journeying

  3. Megan Claire (@mappingmegan) April 30, 2017 at 11:19 pm #

    We love Amelia Island – definitely has some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. We were fortunate enough to live close by for a year, so got to take the kayaks out and enjoy the outdoors quite often 🙂

  4. Priya Vin April 30, 2017 at 9:31 pm #

    Haven’t heard of Amelia Island before, but it looks like a lovely place to experience and explore. Love those spooky looking trees, driftwood and quiet beaches.

  5. diningtraveler April 30, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

    Like that term “relaxed luxury”. Looks like a great place to sit back, enjoy the views and have great food. I love the culinary program of the Ritz Carlton. They do food right!

  6. Marion Halliday (Red Nomad OZ) April 29, 2017 at 11:17 am #

    Cool! I’ve never heard of Amelia island, but weirdly, it has a few things in common with some of the places I’ve been to downunder! Things like great beaches, stained water, and no crowds – which makes it my kind of place!

    • McCoolTravel (@CharlesMcCool) April 29, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

      Thank you, Marion. Appreciate the comment. Oh, I should visit Australia in order to do an in-depth comparison.

  7. Guru April 27, 2017 at 5:20 am #

    Thank you for sharing the great information

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Fabulous Relaxed Luxury Resorts in Florida • McCool Travel - July 16, 2018

    […] For more Amelia Island information, please read 8 Great Things to Do in Amelia Island Florida. […]

  2. Fun Places to Kayak in US • McCool Travel - May 12, 2017

    […] at relaxed luxury resorts is not the only thing to do in Amelia Island Florida. Kayaking through gorgeous, natural, old Florida in Lofton Creek with Amelia Island Kayak […]

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