Amelia Island, Florida


When most people think of a Florida vacation, theme parks immediately spring to mind. However, visitors seeking a more relaxing getaway in the Sunshine State should turn their minds to Amelia Island, Florida. This Florida’s First Coast barrier island, Florida’s northernmost, is just 18 miles long and three miles wide, yet it provides visitors with countless ways to relax and enjoy themselves far away from any big city bustle.

At the island’s southern end lies an upscale residential area and two exclusive golf resorts. Moving north, visitors discover a quietly touristy beach community with plenty of affordable lodging. The charming, historic community of Fernandina Beach lies immediately to the north. It was first settled in the days after the Civil War, and was the home of several successful industries like timber and phosphate. Fernandina Beach was also a bustling seaport, and 50 square blocks of the city have been designated on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the district is a lovely place to take a leisurely stroll, enjoying some fine examples of Italianate, Victorian and Queen Anne architecture.

Easy Chairs at Sunrise on Amelia Island, Florida

A bit further north is Fort Clinch State Park. The centerpiece attraction here is the remarkably well preserved 19th century fort that once guarded the island. Daily tours and a number of dedicated re-enactors keep history alive at this fascinating facility. An expansive beach area is also part of the park, and popular activities include swimming, sunbathing and fishing. Hikers love to explore the many trails while a well developed campground makes it easy to get back to nature.

At the Amelia Island Museum of History, visitors get a broader perspective of the island’s history and its importance to the shaping of the state. A collection of community theater groups bring a welcome cultural overtone to the island and various walking tours highlight many interesting aspects of Fernandina Beach. Many visitors enjoy guided fishing or kayaking excursions. Of course, lots of people come to Amelia Island just to laze on its 13 miles of gorgeous beach.

The island’s weather is famously mild and sunny, making it an ideal destination at any time of year. That’s good news because there are so many wonderful lodging options on the island that most visitors want to come back again and again. Whether guests are looking for an upscale resort or an intimate bed and breakfast, Amelia Island has precisely what they seek.