Located on the northeast coast of Florida, Amelia Island is the perfect family friendly travel destination brimming with historic charm & miles of pristine beaches...
This post was created in partnership with Amelia Island tourism. As always, all opinions & thoughts expressed below are 100% my own.
Last month I had the pleasure of spending 4 amazing days exploring Amelia Island on the northeast coast of Florida. In addition to discovering the amazing beaches, the fresh from the sea local food scene, & the historic charm of this seaside destination, I also had the chance to stay at not one but two of the island's premier family friendly resorts. To say that I was utterly impressed by what all Amelia Island has to offer as a family vacation spot would definitely be an understatement.
Amelia Island quite literally has something to offer every member of your family- from the foodie to the history buff to the outdoor enthusiast. And many of the resorts on the island offer programs and perks specifically tailored to the kiddos in your family whether they are 3 years old or in their teens. While I could probably rattle off at least 100 reasons why you should plan your next family vacation to Amelia Island, here are my top 5... ;)
1. The Historic Downtown of Fernandina Beach.
With a past as colorful & eclectic as many of the town's storefronts, the historic downtown area of Fernandina Beach is not to be missed when visiting Amelia Island with your family. Once a home to pirates & aristocrats and a hub for bootleggers & the shrimping industry, Fernandina Beach now is brimming with locally owned shops, a vibrant restaurant scene, and rich history & architecture on just about every corner. From a book store you can lost in to locally made jewelry to fantastic homemade fudge and more, there is something to entertain and delight every member of your family in this 50+ block span of the downtown area.
I highly recommend taking a tour of the historic downtown and the surrounding areas to get a lay of the land before heading out with your family to explore on your own. Book a tour by foot, horse drawn carriage, trolley car, or even by boat to see what all this seaport village has to offer as well as to get a healthy dose of the island's history and colorful folklore.
2. Plenty of Kid Friendly Dining Options.
While I definitely could have used a few more days at Amelia Island to thoroughly explore the island's local food scene (to be continued during my next visit ;) ), it was clear to see that family friendly options for dining out were more than abundant. We enjoyed an oceanfront lunch at Slider's Seaside Grill, and I could easily picture both of my kids (4 and 18) enjoying this local gem. Slider's offers a tasty menu with many local catch options as well as a full signature cocktail menu, including their Bloody Mary which was named the best Bloody Mary in Florida by the Food Network in 2016. (Psssttt... I can personally vouch for it. It is indeed pretty damn good.) And the best perk at Slider's? The kiddos can play at the playground and sandbox while the grownups can keep an eye on them while enjoying an adult beverage in a take-home souvenir coconut by the tiki bar.
You and your family are surely going to have a craving for a sweet treat, so be sure to stop in at Fernandina's Fantastic Fudge. Though this shop is famous for their homemade fudge that you can watch being made on marble slabs, they also serve gourmet chocolates, hand dipped ice cream, coffee, and their signature hot chocolate. You have to stop in for peek if only take in the delicious aroma of chocolate and fudge simmering in a copper kettle.
If you and your family happen to be seafood lovers, then you must plan to eat at Timoti's Seafood Shack for a no fuss, laid back lunch or dinner. Specializing in locally sourced ingredients, Timoti's features some killer fish and shrimp tacos, as well as poke bowls, and fresh seafood baskets.
Be sure to CLICK HERE to check out all the delicious dining options that Amelia Island has to offer.
3. A History Lesson at Fort Clinch State Park.
Although Amelia Island seems to be teeming with history at every turn, you will definitely want to be sure that a visit to Fort Clinch State Park makes it onto your family's itinerary during your stay on the island. Situated on over 1,400 acres, Fort Clinch offers hiking trails, fishing, swimming, and camping in addition to the fort itself which has been historically preserved to how it looked in 1864 during the Civil War.
Though the fort itself never saw battle and the cannons that line its walls were never once fired, Fort Clinch was garrisoned during the Civil War and then again during the Spanish-American War. The fort fell into disrepair and ruin, but thanks to Roosevelt's New Deal and the Civilian Conservation Corps Fort Clinch rose once again in 1933 and now serves as a living history experience for all who cross over its swing bridge.
4. 13 Miles of Gorgeous Beaches.
Okay, so now I am going to take a few moments to just swoon with you all over the absolutely beautiful beaches that line the island and kiss the Atlantic Ocean. Amelia Island boasts over 40 public beach access points along its 13 miles of coastline. And that is not even counting the resorts that offer their guests private beach access. Impressive, right?
If you happen to be into shelling and shark tooth hunting, then Amelia Island's beaches will be an absolute treasure trove for you and your family. I have to say that I have been to a decent amount of East coast beaches, but never have I seen shells in such abundance than along the various beaches I had the opportunity of strolling during my stay on the island! The photo above was actually taken on the beach in front of Fort Clinch, but generous amounts of shells seemed to be a theme on most of the beaches of Amelia Island. Shark tooth hunting takes a little more patience and work, but with enough determination and a little luck you are sure to find a few to take home with you. ;)
5. Family Friendly Resorts for All Budgets.
With plenty of family friendly accommodations to choose from, you are sure to find a hotel, bed & breakfast, or a resort on Amelia Island to fit your family's vacation budget. I spent two nights at the beautiful Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. Featuring a 10,000 square foot kid approved pool on it's multi-tiered pool deck and over 400 rooms offering gorgeous oceanfront views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Omni is also extremely family friendly making it perfect for that spring break getaway or summer vacation for the family.
The resort features 3 1/2 miles of guest only beaches, a nature center, a splash park, a lounge just for the teens, as well as Club Amelia for the younger kiddos. After a full day of kayaking or paddle boarding (both offered at the resort) or a round of golf on their 54 hole championship golf course, the entire family can gather around one of the resorts over-sized fire pits in the evening for s'mores.
If your vacation budget happens to be a tad bit more generous, then I cannot recommend The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island located near the southern end of the island enough. Not a single detail is left to chance at this luxury resort. The Ritz-Carlton offers 1 1/2 miles of private beaches, a lush full service spa, an 18 hole PGA championship golf course, multi-level pool deck, 5 on-site restaurants including the AAA 5-Diamond restaurant Salt, and an exclusive club just for the kiddos- Ritz Kids.
Be sure to CLICK HERE to check out all the accommodation options available to you and your family during your stay on Amelia Island.
Have you ever visited Amelia Island before?
What is your #1 recommendation of what to do, see, or eat on the island?
Ready to start planning your family getaway to Amelia Island? CLICK HERE to request your Amelia Island Visitor's Guide!
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