Amelia Island Florida is as “Old Florida” as you can get. It is located close to Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Ferdinanda Beach, Georgia State Line, and Savannah, GA, and is a beautiful place to take your family for a more relaxed type of trip that many of the other more traveled cities in Florida. See why visiting Amelia Island FL is a must for homeschoolers!
It is right off A1A, and the beaches can’t be beaten, plus there is a rich history there to be investigated.
If you are the type to plan for trips, to work in some homeschooling while there or work some of the things you do into your studies, then this is a perfect place for your family. (It is pretty fantastic on the whole as well, even if you are winging it and go exploring on a whim!)
So here are some of the top things to see with your kids & a little of what to expect while you’re there.
Amelia Island Florida Gorgeous Landscape
Everywhere you go, other than being on the literal beach (such as Ferdinanda Beach ), there are beautiful, mighty oak trees, as well as other gorgeous plant life. This means the ultimate nature walk! If you want your kids to see what Florida really should look like and what it used to look like all over the state, this is an excellent example of that. The oaks just stretch out and provide a lovely canopy, and some of the parks and paths are breathtaking. It is a great way to have your kids stretch their art muscles, too – let them sketch while they’re there, or use photos you take for this as an assignment later.
The 8 Flags of Amelia Island FL
Amelia Island Fl is 18 square miles in size and the only place in the entire U.S. that has lived under eight different flags. What you can learn about this is more detail if you visit the Amelia Island History Museum, where they give an “Eight Flags Tour” twice a day, and also see them flying across the porch on the beautiful, historical Lesesne house, which you can see in the downtown area. The flags are from France, Spain, Britain, Patriots of Amelia Island, A Scottish flag called the “Green Cross” flag, Mexican, National Flag of the Confederacy, and of course, the American Flag.
This is a great history lesson of course, and fascinating, unlike any other city would have.
Amelia Island Florida Historic Downtown District
This was my favorite area in the city, and also my family’s as well. There are 50 blocks of shops, restaurants and awesome buildings and historical places to see. It is mainly located on Centre Street, and the Amelia Island Welcome Center is the perfect place to start out there. (The Welcome Center also has a nice public restroom, which not all of the shops have, so this is good to know!)
If you walk only the blocks on Centre Street alone, there is plenty to see. You can see several historic buildings like the Courthouse, Florida’s Oldest Saloon, the Post Office, the Lesesne house, as mentioned above, and the railroad, which is the starting point for the first trans-peninsular railroad in the state of Florida. There is also a ton of fun shops, like a great toy shop that is full of fun Pirate themed items and retro toys, antique shops, places to eat or snack, and lots of local art.
Historic Old Town Amelia Island FL
This is very near to the downtown district, but not the same, which is a bit confusing at first. Utilizing a map of the area, which you can get for free at the Welcome Center, helped us out immensely. Historic Old Town is the original location of the town of Ferdinanda Beach. There is now a state park there, which is just a large grassy lot with a few markers and a cannon, that overlooks the water, but it was originally Fort Carlos. There is a beautiful Captain’s house just across the street from the park, that is famous for being in the movie, “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.” It used to be white in color, and you can see photos online of what it used to look like, but it is now a striking green, with copper accents and beautiful stained glass pieces. It is worth driving out to see.
David Levy Yulee in Amelia Island FL
Outside the Welcome Center in downtown, one of the neat things to see is a statue of David Levy Yulee. He played a huge role in Florida’s history, by helping to write the original state Constitution, and he was the first Jewish Senator in the US Congress. His statue is located by the railroad though because he is the man responsible for bringing that to the area and the state. There is plenty to learn about him, and if you are doing a study of the state of Florida, he is someone to get to know.
Fort Clinch in Amelia Island Florida
Fort Clinch State Park is located very close to Old Town and is a must-see. The drive into the park is one of the prettiest spots on the island with its canopy of oaks that goes on for a few miles. There is a small fee per car to enter the park and then to see the Fort there is a few dollars fee per person. This is well worth it. There is a fort museum, a gift shop and the large fort to visit.
It has two levels and lots of tunnels and buildings to check out. It located at the end of the island at the ocean, and right across from Georgia state. You will get to see many large cannons, several rooms with furniture and things that give you a real idea of what life was like in the Fort. In the museum, there are several weapons and finds, as well as a neat video that tells a lot about life in the fort, too.
There are soldiers in dress walking around as well, and they are very friendly and happy to answer questions. They also do Civil War re-enactments frequently.
The view of the beach from the top level of the fort is fantastic, and the breeze can’t be beat up there. I would advise you to bring along a drink for each person if you plan to browse all the fort, and especially if it is summer time.
Now, as far as the state park, there is beach access there, and it is very empty as far as being populated with people, which is awesome. There is also a campsite, with tent areas and RV spots, and a bird watching area as well.
Easily one of the prettiest beaches we have ever visited and we are from Florida. It has beautiful sand and a plethora of shells in a variety of colors. The beaches here are known for being a good spot to find shark’s teeth as well. Ferdinanda Beach has nice boardwalks, high waves and you can also drive and park out on it, in specific areas, which is very convenient.
Overall, on the island there are five beach spots you can go to, Ferdinanda Beach being the most popular one, but still compared to other beaches in the state, not overly populated with people. Aside from this one and the beach at the state park, there is also one at Amelia Island state park, Main beach park, and also Peters Point Beach. They all have some different things to offer, like playgrounds and skate park at Main Beach, and covered picnic areas at Peters Point.
This provides an excellent way to teach your kids about the beach and some of the things that go hand in hand with that. There are signs everywhere with info on handling jellyfish and other sea creatures, looking out for turtle nests, types of sea shells, and also it is good for them to learn the different safety flag colors that fly over Ferdinanda Beach to give you warning for waves and cautions for swimming.
We took metal detectors and kites with us and overall, my kids felt very at home and didn’t want to leave!
Amelia Island Fl Museums
There are a couple of museums in Amelia Island Florida: The Amelia Island History Museum, as I mentioned before, the Maritime Museum of Amelia Island, the American Beach Museum, the Shrimping Museum, and even Ferdinanda Beach Pinball Museum. None are huge or would be something you need the day for, but you can see how quickly you can find plenty to do and to learn on your visit.
Amelia Island Florida Lighthouse
This one almost didn’t make the list, just because it is only accessed for tours at specific times, twice per week, so you have to plan ahead to get in on that, but you can pull up to it and get a small view of it. I felt it should still be mentioned. We missed out going on the tour but would love to do that on our next visit.
Just driving around the island and taking it all in is fun and a great way to see the beach life, and how different things are from the way our families live. We would easily go back to the island again and know we would learn much more and have a very good time.