If tranquility is what you look for in a vacation spot, Amelia Island is where you want to be. The island was named after King George II of England's daughter, Princess Amelia, and you might feel like royalty during your stay here. From the serene sparkling waters, postcard-worthy views, quaint streets and constant warm sunshine, it's impossible to have anything less than a good time.
Amelia Island is just 30 miles from Jacksonville but offers you peace and quiet instead of hustle and bustle. You can spend your days hitting the links, lounging on the 13 miles of beaches, strolling through town exploring historic architecture and dining out at fantastic local eateries.
Conde Nast Traveler's Reader's Choice Awards consistently ranks Amelia Island as one of the Top 10 North American Islands, so you can be sure this Florida locale is an excellent spot for your next getaway.
Things to Do on Amelia Island
Amelia Island Museum of History: In the old Nassau County jail you'll find the Amelia Island Museum of History, which details the island's unique past and how it has evolved. As you move through the space you'll see exhibits on the Timucua Tribe, the island's first residents and the Civil War. There's even a hands-on display called Discovery Ship where kids can learn to tie a knot and pilot their own ship. Docents from the museum offer guided tours of the museum as well as historic areas around town where you can find out more about Amelia Island's "golden area," ghost stories and holiday homes. For those who enjoy a libation every now and then, hop on one of the city's delightful pub tours.
Amelia Island Lighthouse: Continue the history lesson with a visit to the Amelia Island Lighthouse, which is open to the public on Saturdays. Book a tour to hear about the lighthouse from a professional or simply visit to take in the gorgeous structure. The lighthouse was built in 1838 and is the oldest existing lighthouse in Florida, marking the entrance leading to St. Marys River, the Cumberland Sound and the Fernandina Beach Harbor. Watch ships sail into port, and don't forget your camera - there are sure to be tons of photo-worthy moments here.
Hit the golf courses: Whether you want to practice your putt or play a full game, golfing is a big part of the culture on Amelia Island. In fact, there are seven different courses to choose from, all with stunning views, gorgeous greens and excellent opportunities to hit the links. The Amelia River Golf Club is one of the best conditioned courses on the island. The Omni Amelia Island Plantation was named a "silver medal golf resort" by Golf magazine, The 18-hole Golf Club of Amelia Island was designed by Mark McCumber and Gene Littler, two former PGA-tour golfers. Florida's First Coast of Gold is home to the World Golf Hall of Fame. Golf Club of North Hampton was created by golf pro Arnold Palmer, and the Fernandina Beach Golf Club is one of the favorite municipal courses.
The Spa at Omni Amelia Island Plantation: After a rousing game of golf at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, treat yourself to one of the life's best luxuries and head to the spa. Since your getaway is all about relaxation, a massage, facial or a full day of pampering should definitely be on the itinerary. The products used here are eco-friendly, and there's a relaxation area and garden for you to enjoy between treatments as you sip herbal tea or fruit-infused water. You can also take a yoga class here to get in some extra stretching and meditating.
Dining on Amelia Island
Moon River Pizza: Pizza is a classic dish for many people, and if you're jonesing for a slice while on Amelia Island, head to Moon River, which some consider the best pizza in northeast Florida. The pies are hand-tossed and specially prepared for each patron. Choose from a pizza with a variety of toppings, calzones or a salad and wash it all down with a glass of wine or beer. Moon River offers a relaxed atmosphere where you can enjoy your travel companions' company and delicious comfort food.
Barbara Jeans: If you love down-home Southern cooking, be sure to stop in Barbara Jeans. This family-run eatery started in 1998 on St. Simmons Island in Georgia and got so popular it expanded, adding locations on Amelia Island and in Ponte Vedra. Barbara Jean herself is the mastermind behind the delicious recipes, so you'll feel like you've been transported back to Mom's kitchen as you bite into shrimp fritters, a chicken fried chicken sandwich, tuna steaks, meatloaf or catfish. And be sure to save room for the famous "Chocolate Stuff" or homemade bread pudding.