A Floridian islet that is an esplanade of enjoyment, Amelia Island satiates both body and soul.
Positioned off the coast of northeast Florida, just over the Georgia border, Amelia Island is a cinch to reach. One of the southernmost Sea Islands—a chain of barrier islands stretching along the east coast from South Carolina to Florida—the islet is home to Fernandina Beach and Amelia City, which means plenty of fun by land or by sea.
Thirteen miles of Atlantic-hugging white sands constitute the island’s greatest charm. Lazing on the coast’s foam edge, diving into the deep, paddling the waterways, or working on athletic prowess—the options are many for visitors. Even history buffs will find something to chew on with a visit to the Amelia Island Museum of History and Old Town.
Several inns—tops among them the Amelia Island Williams House, Blue Heron Inn, and Elizabeth Pointe Lodge—offer the cozy comforts desired after a hard day of play, which might include a round on one of the seven island golf courses. Named by Golf magazine as a “Silver Medal Golf Resort,” Omni Amelia Island Plantation boasts 54 championship holes, while Amelia Links offers 36 holes on two signature courses—Oak Marsh and Ocean Links.
Pedaling fanatics will be pleased to know about Fort Clinch, where mountain bike and hiking trails blanket six miles of paved and natural terrain. Kayaking and nature lovers have Talbot Islands State Park and Timucuan Preserve to keep them happy. For those who prefer to remain upright, Kayak Amelia also offers guided Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) tours. For horse hobbyists, Kelly Seahorse Ranch and Stay ‘N Country Ranch provide oceanfront jaunts with long-maned mates.
Downtown Fernandina Beach offers urban pursuits: Centre Street, with its Victorian-era architecture and bewitching historic district, is home to Florida’s oldest continuously operating bar, the Palace Saloon, plus a medley of eateries, including the eclectic Salt and Old World-inspired España Restaurant & Tapas. Visitors can wander in and out of a quirky mix of shops, or hop a horse-drawn carriage for a narrated tour.
For R&R layered with historical interest, visit the Sunshine State’s beloved Amelia Island, where beauty beguiles and attractions abound.
WHERE TO STAY:
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island sits on 26 acres of lush oceanfront property and comprises 446 guestrooms, 43 club rooms, three Presidential-style suites, a fitness center, a luxury spa, tennis facilities, and a private 18-hole golf course. Five restaurants, including the five-diamond Salt, Ocean Bar & Grill, and Café 4750, offer a spectrum of dining choices. 4750 Amelia Island Pkwy; 904-277-1100; ritzcarlton.com/ameliaisland.
WHERE TO EAT:
Find new American cuisine at Joe’s Second Street Bistro. 14 South 2nd St.; 904-321-2558; joesbistro.com. Enjoy sangria and tapas at España Restaurant & Tapas. 2 South 4th St.; 904-261-7700; espanadowntown.com. Try BBQ at The Happy Tomato, 7 South 3rd St., 904-321-0707, thehappytomatocafe.com; spicy Cajun at Café Karibo, 27 North 3rd St., 904- 277-5269, cafekaribo.com; and fish tacos at Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant, Grill & Cantina; 12 North 2nd St.; 904-261-0049; pablosmexican.com.
WHAT TO DO:
Paddle for exercise and scenery with Kayak Amelia. 904-251-0016; kayakamelia.com. Bike, hike, and fish at Fort Clinch State Park. 904-277-7274; floridastateparks.org. Tour Cumberland Sound with Amelia River Cruises and Windward Sailing. ameliarivercruises.com; windward-sailing.com.