Winter Florida Vacations: Amelia Island, Florida
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
More about Amelia Island:
- Amelia Island Plantation, Fl, with Video Tour
Amelia Island Plantation, or The Plantation, as its referred to by locals and regular visitors, is located just north of Jacksonville, on Amelia Island. Its near the town of Fernandina Beach,...
- My Home Beach
Do you have a beach that you consider your home beach? I dont mean one where you actually live. Im talking about a beach you've been going to for so many years that it practically feels like home ...
- Great Romantic Getaways: Amelia Island, FL
If you've never heard of Amelia Island, Im not surprised. Its one of Floridas best-kept secrets! Luckily, I discovered it as a child and have continued to return to its natural beauty and charm...
- A Tour of Ft. Clinch State Park, FL with Video Tours
Ft. Clinch State Park is located near the northern tip of Amelia Island, the states northernmost Atlantic isle. The park is beautifully set among live oaks, towering sand dunes, dense maritime forest,...
- Travel to Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach, FL
Amelia Island is located in the Atlantic, just of the coast of Florida. Its most popular beach, Fernandina Beach, is the states northernmost beach. Ive been going to this wonderful isle since I was a...
- Amelia Island: Dining Guide
If you're planning a trip to Amelia Island, Florida, you'll be bombarded with dining choices, ranging from fast food to four-star dining and everything in between. As a regular visitor to the island, here...
- Best Fishing Spots on Amelia Island and in Jacksonville, FL, with Redfish Fishing Video
I love fishing especially saltwater fishing. One of my favorite vacation spots is Amelia Island, and what's the use in going on vacation if you cant fish? Also, my brother-in-law lives in Jax, so...
- Scenic Drive: Amelia Island to Jacksonville, Fl, with Pics
I love the ocean and just about everything associated with it: marshes, beaches, tidal creeks, islands, and rivers. Nothing beats driving along the shoreline with the windows down, breathing in the...