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Florida Vacations: Amelia Island, with Video Tours

Updated on August 30, 2012

amelia island vacation

If you're looking for great Florida vacations, consider Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach. Amelia Island is Florida's northernmost Atlantic Beach. Located just north of Jacksonville, the island was once a sleepy little shrimping venue. Visitors from northern Florida and South Georgia often spent their vacations there on Fernandina Beach, but the area wasn't well known outside the region. There were only a couple of Amelia Island hotels at the time, along with a handful of Amelia Island rentals - mostly small beach cottages. After Amelia Island Plantation and the Ritz Carlton were built, however, it quickly became a top vacation destination. An Amelia Island vacation is great for all ages!

Things to do on an Amelia Island vacation

Amelia Island offers plenty for visitors to do, including swimming, surfing, fishing, parasailing, kayaking, shopping, and horseback riding along the beach. The area is also rich in history. Visitors can tour Fort Clinch, located at the northern end of the island, or visit nearby Kingsley Plantation. Just beyond downtown Fernandina is Old Town. There, you can see a lovely collection of historic Victorian houses that were once the homes of sea captains. There's also an ancient cemetery that's very interesting.

Shopping includes large beach stores that carry everything from pet hermit crabs to jewelry to oversized beach towels. The downtown area of Fernandina Beach is a charming collection of boutiques, pubs, souvenir shops, and restaurants, with a marina located at the end of Center Street. Many old Victorian homes sourround the downtown area, and some have been turned into businesses.

On the interior of Amelia Island, you'll find numerous shopping centers with a wide variety of stores. These include department stores, specialty shops, and outlet stores. Shop for apparel, books, novelties, gifts, home decor, toys, wines, art, jewelry, and more.

Amelia Island hotels

You'll find several Amelia Island hotels. They range from inexpensive oceanfront rooms to truly luxurious rooms and suites at the Ritz Carlton. There are also several charming bed-and-breakfast inns, including the three-story Victorian Elizabeth Pointe Lodge. Also, several new Amelia Island hotels have been built near the downtown docks. And don't forget about the famous Amelia Island Plantation! Whatever you're looking for in the way of Amelia Island hotels, you'll find it.

Amelia Island rentals

Not interested in Amelia Island hotels? A wide variety of Amelia Island rentals is available, including oceanfront condominiums, private homes, and apartments. Some Amelia Island rentals are managed by agencies, while others are rented directly from the owners. And you can even rent your own lighthouse right on the beach! How cool is that?

Over the years, I've enjoyed many, many an Amelia Island vacation. And yes, we have our favorite Amelia Island rentals. They're the condos at Amelia-by-the-Sea. Why are these our favorite Amelia Island rentals? Because they have their own private fishing pier, and we love to fish!

To find Amelia Island rentals, search the internet. You can find some great deals on Amelia Island rentals on the net and on VRBO.

Amelia Island dining

Restaurants on the island run the gamut: casual burger joints, waterfront seafood houses, Italian, Chinese, French, Mexican, quaint inns, upscale steak houses, buffets, and posh four-star dining. There's even an authentic Irish pub downtown. There's no shortage of fast-food eateries, either. You'll find all the kids' favorites: McDonald's, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and lots more.

The best of the Amelia Island restaurants, in my opinion, are the ones that serve fresh seafood. Whenever we go on an Amelia Island vacation, we hit several seafood places. After all, isn't dining out part of a great vacation?

Be sure to check out Slider's, O'Kane's, Cedar River, Down Under, and Barbara Jean's on your Amelia Island vacation. For more about Amelia Island dining, find the link below. I also suggest making the drive south down A1A to the Sand Dollar. One night a week, they have an awesome buffet, and the restaurant is waterfront.

Amelia Island beaches

The main Amelia Island beach is Fernandina. Fernandina Beach skirts the island on the Atlantic side, and the town is warm and friendly, with a typical "beach town" atmosphere. You'll find plenty to do on this Amelia Island beach.

The Fernandina beaches are wide and sandy, and the surf ranges from calm to moderate waves that provide opportunities for "hanging ten." Depending on the wind direction and weather, the water can be slightly muddy to crystal clear. The most crowded beach is Fernandina's main beach, with adjacent bars, game rooms, restaurants, and activities for kids and teens. Most of the other beaches are relatively uncrowded and quiet. You'll have no problem finding an Amelia Island beach to suit you.

If uncrowded and calm are two things you look for in a beach, head to the beaches at Ft. Clinch State Park. The beach adjacent to the fishing pier is one of our favorites! There's a bath house and restrooms at the entrance to this beach.

The atmosphere of Amelia Island and Fernandina is fun and laid back. The residents are friendly and helpful and seem to enjoy sharing their island with visitors. It's a great destination for families, couples, and singles. I highly recommend an Amelia Island vacation!

Amelia Island vacation pics:

Ride horses on your Amelia Island vacation.
Ride horses on your Amelia Island vacation.
Amelia Island vacation fishing.
Amelia Island vacation fishing.
Some Amelia Island rentals offer great fishing!
Some Amelia Island rentals offer great fishing!
Choose Amelia Island rentals with great views.
Choose Amelia Island rentals with great views.
We love Amelia Island fishing!
We love Amelia Island fishing!

Amelia Island video tour:

Amelia Island


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