Amelia Island, Florida is located on the Atlantic Ocean in the state of Florida and has 13 miles of beaches to visit that are some of the prettiest in the state. It is rich in history and has not only the beautiful beach vibe but a lovely Southern charm that has not yet been overloaded with tourists or over-populated.
Must See Things to do When VIsiting Amelia Island, Florida
When you visiting Florida many people things of visiting Disney and finding the best Disney Dining. But Disney isn't the only thing to do in Florida, it's such a huge state there are many things that get overlooked when planning a Florida vacation such as the Historic Sunken Gardens St Petersburg Florida, the Manatee Viewing Center – Apollo Beach Florida, and Fort De Soto Park, Historic Fort and Museum just to name a few.
Now I want to share another one with you, Amelia Island. Amelia Island is located on the Atlantic coast of Florida at the most northern point right by the Georgia state line. While there also make sure to take in the Cumberland Island National Seashore just across the state line!
When visiting Amelia Island you can find hotel rooms or even find a condo to rent there for much less money than nearby towns and you will enjoy yourself much more if you are looking for a getaway that is away from the crowds and tourism. There is also a lot to see when visiting Amelia Island as a homeschool family as well.
Amelia Island has multiple museums you can visit, several are nautical themed, like the Maritime Museum of Amelia Island, the Marina Welcome Center and Shrimping Museum, and the American Beach Museum. All have a hometown feel and are smaller in size than many other typical museums, but are warm and inviting to visitors.
The Amelia Island History Museum is highly recommended if you want to learn about the island and really get a feel for how it used to be there. It is located in the former county jail building and goes over the 4,000- year history of the island. There is a pirate ship exhibit, information on the Timucuan Indians, the shrimping industry and more.
You can take an hour tour and learn all about the Eight flags that have flown over the city at one time or another, the first one being raised in the 1562 by the French, and then it goes on from there, which is very fascinating.
There are more than 9 restaurants on the island which is impressive for such a small place. They hold 4 food festivals a year, each with different themes, so if your family enjoys that type of thing, do a bit of research and visit during one of those.
One of the main things that struck my family when we visited was the lush tropical plant life and all the gorgeous oaks that are everywhere on the island. There are so many of them and they are just gorgeous. If you want that “Old Florida” feel, this is the place for you.
The historic downtown district is one spot that you can spend all day, or even a couple days at, and find plenty to see and do. Its heart is at the Amelia Island Welcome Center, where you can find lots of information if you need it, and see the famous David Levy Yulee statue, plus some other great sculptures. Yulee is famous for founding the first trans-peninsular railroad in the state, and it first ran from Cedar Key to Amelia Island. He also was involved in writing the state constitution and was the first Jewish Senator to go into Congress.
Along Centre Street where the welcome center is located, there are several unique shops, places to eat, and art galleries. Plus, there are many historical markers and several historic buildings like the beautiful courthouse and post office, the Lesesne House and the state’s first saloon. The downtown area is 50 blocks in size, but if you are limited on your time there, be sure to see Centre Street.
Nearby to the historic downtown is another little spot worth seeing called Old Town – it was originally the city of Ferdinanda and there are a few cool things to see there. The Captain’s House is amazing, and is famous for being in the Pippi Longstocking movie back in the day, and across the street from it is a state park, on the grounds of what was once Fort Carlos. There is a cannon and a few historic markers there to see. It is a pretty quick stop, unless you want to spend time in the grassy area there, but still worth the visit.
There are many beautiful buildings all over town, like St. Peter’s church and there is also the Amelia Island Lighthouse. It is fenced off so you can’t just walk up to it anytime, but they do offer tours twice per week, so if you love lighthouses, check into that and plan ahead for the tour, since it’s limited.
The beaches are obviously one of the best things about the island – there are actually 5 in total and there are several access points to them all over the island, and none are busy or very populated, which is very refreshing if you’ve been to many others in the state. There are many colorful seashells on the beach, if you are into collecting them and so many are in great shape, and not all broken as they can tend to be sometimes.
Ferdinanda Beach is the largest and most popular and it does have some shopping and places to eat right beside it, in walking distance. One of the largest ones is called Sliders, which faces the ocean and has outdoor seating and fun colorful lights that can be seen from the beach. This beach has the option of parking your car on it as well, which we enjoyed. It is a limited amount of space but each time we went, it was never crowded, and probably had no more than 10 cars at once on it in the summer time. There are boardwalks going out to the beach and restrooms if you use the main beach access, which is nice.
Then, the other 4 beaches are all smaller and have their own individual perks – Main Beach has a skate park and a playground, so if you have kids this would appeal to, try that one out. It is at the top end of the island.
Peters Point, American Beach, and Seaside Park are more central along the coastline, and down at the tip is the Amelia Island State Park beach, which is well known for being the best spot to find shark’s teeth.
One place you must see when visiting Amelia Island is Fort Clinch. It is located inside of the Fort Clinch State Park, which is also a great spot to spend some time. The park has a small fee to enter and it has many hiking trails, a campground for tents or RVs, a bird watching area, beach access, and then the fort itself.
The fort costs a few dollars to go into, but it includes a museum, as well as Civil War reenactments if you are there at the right times. It is huge and kept up very well. There are several buildings and many still have furniture and small artifacts in them which really helps you envision life during that time. There are soldiers in uniform walking around that are friendly and happy to chat as well.
The top level of the fort is the best part, as it is right on the beach and overlooks the water and you can see across to the state of Georgia. The breeze is fabulous up there too. There are many cannons around the fort, and some are really huge in size: it is very impressive standing next to one.
You can explore the tunnels and rooms and your kids will love it.
They do also have a small gift shop with trinkets and fun items, as well as snacks and drinks. The museum is small but has some neat artifacts, uniforms, Gatling Gun, and several shotguns, as well as a video on the fort that is very informative.
Another thing that brings people to the island is the golfing, so if you enjoy that, check into what they have to offer. The island was named for being in the top 25 golfing islands in the world, so they take it very seriously.
There are several golf clubs and you can book the golfing packages offer by the island online at AmeliaIsland.com. There are even a section of holes that go right along the oceanside.
So, as you can see, no matter your age, or hobbies, there is plenty to see and do in Amelia Island. It is a relaxing getaway spot and my family will definitely go back for another visit.