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Winter Florida Vacations: Amelia Island, Florida

Updated on March 6, 2013
My youngest daughter and three of my grandchildren on Amelia Island, Florida.
My youngest daughter and three of my grandchildren on Amelia Island, Florida. | Source

Great Winter Vacation

Thousands of snowbirds flock to sunny Central Florida and South Florida every winter on Florida vacations to escape the snow and ice of the northern U.S. and Canada. In fact, I read somewhere that this area is the number 2 popular destination for Canadians. Heck, if I lived in Canada, I'd be seeking out some sunny shores as often as I could! Northern Florida, however, is often overlooked at this time of year. While it’s true that winters in the northern part of the Sunshine State aren’t as balmy as the temperatures farther south, they’re a heck of a lot warmer than the typical winter weather in northern climes. We just returned from a winter vacation on Amelia Island, Florida, and the weather was awesome – especially for February. We spent four days on Fernandina Beach, located on Amelia Island, and the daytime highs were in the low eighties, with plenty of sunshine. The nights were still cool, but the days were glorious.

Amelia Island is on the Atlantic Ocean and is Florida’s northernmost island, home of the state’s northernmost beach, Fernandina Beach. Fernandina is the largest town on the island, with numerous shopping malls, lodging choices, and restaurants. Of course, being a “beach town,” most of the action revolves around the sea and sand. The beach is wide and sandy, and even at high tide, there’s room for strolling the strand, building sandcastles, and soaking up the sun. On our recent trip, the beach was dotted with sunbathers, Frisbee players, shell seekers, and dog owners playing with their pooches. A few stalwart souls were even braving the cold water to surf the breakers. There were also a few fishermen trying their luck in the surf.

My young grandsons played in the surf a little, but they didn’t venture out very far because the water was too cold for them. They did, however, have a lot of fun playing on the beach. They also enjoyed fishing from the private pier that’s part of the condominiums where we stayed.

Amelia Island fishing
Amelia Island fishing | Source

Downtown Fernandina Beach


Downtown Fernandina is a neat place to visit, especially during a winter vacation. Several of the shops have merchandise that’s been marked down from the tourist season prices, and the stores aren’t as crowded as they are at other times of the year.  With the late winter spring-like weather, walking down historical Centre Street is a real treat. When you need a break from shopping or sight-seeing, you can plop down on a bench and enjoy some people-watching.

The downtown area on Amelia Island includes boutiques, clothing stores, and interesting shops. You’ll find toys, books, antiques, candles, unique gifts, baked goods, gourmet foods, souvenirs, and lots more. At the end of Centre Street are the docks. This is a great place to see a varied collection of boats or just to sit on a bench and catch the sea breezes. There are also numerous old buildings and houses from the Victorian period in the downtown area.

If you get hungry, stop into one of the downtown restaurants for burgers, sandwiches, Irish fare, Chinese food, gourmet dishes, Italian cuisine, steaks, or fresh local seafood. For a real treat, enjoy some decadent homemade fudge or an ice cream.

Tristan in downtown Fernandina Beach.
Tristan in downtown Fernandina Beach. | Source

Amelia Island rentals – Amelia Island hotels, Amelia Island resorts, Amelia Island vacation rentals


You’ll find all kinds of Amelia Island rentals. Amelia Island hotels range from beachfront motels to the luxurious harbor-front Hampton Inn. There are also national chain Amelia Island hotels and charming bed-and-breakfast inns.

Amelia Island vacation rentals include beachfront condos, vacation houses, cabins, and apartments. Several rental agencies handle numerous rental properties. If you prefer Amelia Island rentals directly from the owners, you’ll find a selection listed on VRBO – Vacation Rentals By Owner. If you’ve never used this service before, it’s a great way to rent a vacation property.

There are also several Amelia Island resorts, and the most popular is Amelia Island Plantation. Amelia Island Plantation is located on the southern part of the island, and a community has grown up around this prestigious resort. Other Amelia Island resorts include Summer Beach and the Ritz-Carlton.

One of the best things about Amelia Island vacation rentals for a winter vacation is the reduced rates. Most Amelia Island hotels, Amelia Island resorts, and other Amelia Island rentals lower their prices in the off season, and this means winter. If you travel much farther south in Florida, you’ll often find that the opposite is true. For example, on Anna Maria Island, vacation rentals often cost more in the winter than they do in the summer because of the influx of “snowbirds.”

Ride horses on the beach!
Ride horses on the beach! | Source

Amelia Island golf


Winter is also a wonderful time to experience Amelia Island golf. The courses won’t be crowded, and you won’t get overheated, either. Several beautiful courses await, including championship and PGA courses. Amelia Island golf can be enjoyed at The Golf Club at North Hampton, The Golf Club of Amelia, Omni Amelia Island Plantation – Ocean Links, Omni Amelia Island Plantation – Oak Marsh, Fernandina Beach Municipal Golf Course, Long Point Club, and Amelia River Golf Club.

In all, Amelia Island golf includes 135 holes. Several holes provide stunning views of the Atlantic, the marshes, or saltwater creeks.

playing in the sand
playing in the sand | Source
February on Amelia Island.
February on Amelia Island. | Source

Enjoy a great winter vacation on Amelia Island


Amelia Island is easy to get to. It’s just off Interstate 95 and less than an hour from Jacksonville. If you find the atmosphere too relaxing and quiet, you can always head to Jax for some livelier nighttime entertainment. Otherwise, you’ll find plenty to do on Amelia Island, no matter what the season. Explore a Civil War fort, walk nature trails, search for shells and sharks’ teeth, play miniature golf, play tennis, visit a museum or gallery, dig for clams, go crabbing, try parasailing, rent a jet ski, or ride horses on the beach.

The Jacksonville Zoo, historical Mayport, an antebellum plantation, and Cumberland Island National Seashore with its wild horses are all just a short drive away, too. You’ll enjoy a winter vacation so much here that you’ll want to return to Amelia Island during the summer to experience all the great water-related activities! Read more about Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island by clicking the article links below.


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    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for reading!

    • dusy7969 profile image

      dusy7969 7 years ago from San Diego, California

      Thanks a lot.Great work habee.

      I saw and enjoyed your horizontal picture.

      Thanks once again.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks a bunch, Smitten and Deb!

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Habee, Amelia Island looks like a great winter vacation spot to relax and just enjoy! Thank You for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • SmittenWithTravel profile image

      SmittenWithTravel 7 years ago

      Very detailed! Great job Habee!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks a bunch!

    • crystolite profile image

      Emma 7 years ago from Houston TX

      Good hub.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Great to see you as always, HH!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Yena thanks for the kind words!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Drbj! Actually the youngest one is a girl - that's Brooklynn!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Pam, if I lived in Jax like you, I'd be on the beach all the time!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Jkim, we love Barbara Jeans! We ate there on our recent trip to Amelia Island.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Gigi, we've had many wonderful Amelia Island family vacations!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks a bunch, Becky! It was nice just to get away.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Quildon. I think you'd love Amelia Island!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      I am gladd you had a great time , Habee, and thank you for showing these beautiful pictures.

    • yenajeon profile image

      yenajeon 7 years ago from California

      You grandkids are Adorable!! What a great looking vacation, I've never been to Amelia Island.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I totally agree, Mo!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Ray. Amelia Island is a great place for beach vacations!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      You know the three cutest things on Amelia Island, Holle? Your three handsome grandsons! What treasures. Thank you for introducing them to us.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      You wrote a great description of Amelia Island and Fernandina. I love living in this area and it is a great place to visit. Voted/rated up.

    • miss_jkim profile image

      miss_jkim 7 years ago

      I had the privilege to visit Amelia Island on a business trip. It was absolutely wonderful, and I would love to return some time, just for Rest and Relaxation.

      What I remember the most though, was the dinner I had at a little place called Barbara Jean’s Restaurant. I have never had crab cakes that tasted SO good in my life. I highly recommend it if you happen to be traveling to Amelia Island.

    • profile image

      Gigi Thibodeau 7 years ago

      What a perfect place for a family vacation! Wish I were there right now. :)

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      Becky 7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Amelia Island sounds like a great place to vacation and especially nice for a Winter vacation. Thank you for all the information and ideas. I enjoyed looking at the pictures too. Awesome Hub!

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 7 years ago from Florida

      Great hub, habee. Sounds like a place I'd love to visit.

    • mocrow profile image

      mocrow 7 years ago from Georgia

      Amelia Island is a great place for a winter vacation. In fact, I love it any time!

    • Raydfernandez profile image

      Raydfernandez 7 years ago

      Awesome post Habee! I really liked it..wish I can have my vacation there too! really cool post.