Best Things To Do In Amelia Island: 12 Unique Attractions to Visit

by Jen
Best Things To Do in Amelia Island
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Are you contemplating a trip to the Sunshine State? If so, let me introduce you to one of Florida’s hidden gems, a place that offers an enchanting blend of natural beauty, historical charm, and coastal allure. Welcome to Amelia Island, a paradise that promises a vacation experience you won’t forget. Here are some of the most fun, scenic, and unique things to do in Amelia Island.

The best things to do in Amelia Island are closely related to its natural beauty and abundant history. Known for its pristine beaches and captivating wildlife, Amelia Island is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. But what truly sets this island apart is its rich history, dating back over 4,000 years, and its unique cultural heritage.

From the ancient Timucuan Indians to the Spanish explorers, from the French settlers to the Victorian-era millionaires, each era has left its mark on this island. This makes it a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts. From Fernandina Beach to Fort Clinch State Park, from the historic downtown district to the tranquil marshlands, there is no shortage of things to do and places to visit on Amelia Island.

Whether you’re an adventurer seeking thrills, a nature lover looking for serene landscapes, a history buff eager to delve into the past, or a foodie ready to indulge in fresh seafood, Amelia Island has something for everyone. Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Amelia Island.

The top places to visit in Amelia Island right now
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Best Places to Visit in Amelia Island

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Amelia Island? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this underrated island paradise. So keep reading to discover all these unique Amelia Island places to visit.

Are you into exploring iconic historical and cultural sites? Or would you prefer a relaxing getaway on the beach or on an island cruise perhaps? Whatever your taste or preference may be, these must-sees in Amelia Island can accommodate your needs. So, let’s embark on this journey together and explore the best that Amelia Island has to offer! Here’s all the best attractions in Amelia Island that you should know about.

1. Fort Clinch State Park

Looking for the best things to do in Amelia Island? Don’t miss this one! Fort Clinch State Park is a treasure trove of history and natural beauty, nestled in the northern reaches of Florida. Once a Union garrison during the Civil War, it was repurposed as a state park after World War II, preserving its historical significance for future generations.

As you step into the park, you’re greeted by a battery of guns pointing across the St. Mary’s River towards Confederate Georgia, a stark reminder of the park’s military past. The park offers a unique opportunity to delve into the life of a Civil War soldier through its living-history exhibits. These exhibits breathe life into the past. This makes it tangible and real for visitors of all ages.

But Fort Clinch State Park is not just about history. It’s also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. After exploring the fort, you can embark on a hike or a bike ride around the park. The beaches surrounding the fort are a hidden gem for fossil hunters, loaded with shark teeth waiting to be discovered.

Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor adventurer, or a family looking for a unique day out, Fort Clinch State Park offers a blend of history and nature that is sure to captivate and inspire. So, pack your bags and get ready to step back in time and into the wild at this remarkable state park. As one of the top Amelia Island attractions, you’ll definitely want to add this to your travel itinerary.

Historic and scenic, Fort Clinch State Park in northern Florida preserves its Civil War past and natural beauty.
Historic and scenic, Fort Clinch State Park in northern Florida preserves its Civil War past and natural beauty.

2. Amelia Island State Park and Big Talbot Island State Park

As far as things to do in Amelia Island go, this activity is among the coolest! The diversity of Amelia Island’s natural world is on display at a number of other state parks in the region. Two of our favorites are the aptly named Amelia Island State Park and, a few miles to the south, Big Talbot Island State Park. The unspoiled wilderness and marshes of Amelia Island State Park attract fishermen, beachcombers, and anyone interested in a glimpse of “old Florida.”

Boneyard Beach is the highlight of Big Talbot, so named because the volume of fallen driftwood trees gives it a graveyard feel. It’s a lovely white-sand beach, too. These parks offer a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty of Amelia Island, away from the hustle and bustle of the more touristy areas. Whether you’re an avid bird watcher, a nature photographer, or simply someone who appreciates the great outdoors, these state parks are a must-visit.

Remember, while you’re there, take the time to appreciate the diverse ecosystems that these parks protect. From the marshy wetlands to the sandy beaches, each area plays a crucial role in supporting a wide variety of wildlife. So, pack your binoculars, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of Amelia Island’s state parks. With so much charm and personality, these two state parks are among the top places to visit in Amelia Island.

Discover "Old Florida" at Amelia Island State Park and Big Talbot Island State Park with their unspoiled wilderness and marshes.
Discover “old Florida” at Amelia Island State Park and Big Talbot Island State Park with their unspoiled wilderness and marshes.

3. Fernandina Beach Pinball Museum

For an experience like no other, you’ll want to check out this top place to visit in Amelia Island. Located at Sadler Road, the Fernandina Beach Pinball Museum is a unique attraction that houses a private collection of authentic pinball machines. This extraordinary museum chronicles the development of these machines from the 1930s to the present day. Unlike other museums, you can touch and play the exhibits here. There are even prizes for players who can reach the top scores. Some of the favorites here are the Twilight Zone and Game of Thrones-themed games. This museum should be on everyone’s list of the best Amelia Island things to do.

For a more immersive experience, the museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to engage with the history and evolution of pinball machines. Whether you’re a pinball wizard or a novice player, the Fernandina Beach Pinball Museum offers a unique and fun-filled journey through the history of this beloved arcade game.

So, if you’re looking for a unique and interactive experience in Amelia Island, make sure to add the Fernandina Beach Pinball Museum to your itinerary. It’s not just a museum, it’s a playground for pinball enthusiasts! Visiting this museum is one of the most unique things to do in Amelia Island that you won’t soon forget.

Pinball Museum: Play and win on vintage pinball machines from the 1930s to today.
Amelia Island’s Pinball Museum: Play and win on vintage pinball machines from the 1930s to today.

4. Amelia Island Museum of History

History lovers will love this top thing to do in Amelia Island. Nestled in the heart of Amelia Island, the Amelia Island Museum of History is a treasure trove of fascinating tales and artifacts. Housed in a historic county jail, this museum offers a unique glimpse into the island’s past under eight different flags. It’s a place where history comes alive, and every exhibit tells a captivating story.

As you step through the doors of this museum, you’re instantly transported back in time. The museum’s collection is a testament to the island’s rich and diverse history, from the indigenous Timucuan people to the Spanish explorers, from the plantation era to the modern day. It’s a journey through time that’s both educational and entertaining.

The museum’s exhibits are thoughtfully curated, with a focus on interactive and engaging displays. You’ll find artifacts from different periods. This includes ancient pottery, colonial-era maps, vintage photographs, and more. Each item tells a story, offering a glimpse into the lives of the people who once called Amelia Island home.

But the Amelia Island Museum of History is more than just a collection of artifacts. It’s a place where history is brought to life through engaging storytelling. The museum’s knowledgeable guides are passionate about sharing the island’s history, offering fascinating insights and anecdotes that make the past come alive.

It’s not just about learning history – it’s about experiencing it. Whether you’re a history buff or just curious about Amelia Island’s past, a visit to the Amelia Island Museum of History is one of the most fun things to do in Amelia Island you don’t want to miss.

The Museum of History
Amelia Island Museum of History: Explore captivating tales and artifacts, housed in a historic county jail under eight different flags.

5. Marlin and Barrel Distillery

Attractions in Amelia Island come in all shapes and sizes, but this one is among the best! Marlin and Barrel Distillery is a must-visit spot for anyone seeking a unique and flavorful experience on Amelia Island. Nestled within a spacious 4,500-square-foot structure, this distillery has been delighting visitors with its exceptional creations since 2015.

Using locally-sourced products, Marlin and Barrel Distillery has crafted over a dozen delicious varieties of spirits and drinks. From aged rums to its signature vodka, this distillery offers a wide array of tantalizing options for the discerning palate.

When you tour the distillery, you’ll gain insights into how their famous Venture Vodka is made. You’ll also have the opportunity to sample their slightly sweet Vanilla Bean Espresso Rum and their invigorating Bloody Mary. Each sip is a testament to the distillery’s commitment to quality and flavor.

But it’s not just about the drinks. The distillery itself is a sight to behold. The large, open space is filled with gleaming equipment and barrels, offering a fascinating glimpse into the distillation process. The friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to answer any questions you might have. This makes your visit both enjoyable and educational.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Amelia Island, make sure to include a visit to Marlin and Barrel Distillery on your itinerary. Whether you’re a spirits connoisseur or just curious about the distillation process, this distillery promises an unforgettable experience. This makes it one of the coolest things to do in Amelia Island.

Amelia Island's must-visit Marlin and Barrel Distillery: A unique and flavorful experience since 2015.
Amelia Island’s must-visit Marlin and Barrel Distillery: A unique and flavorful experience since 2015.

6. Blue Door Artists

Experience Florida in style at this unique place to visit in Amelia Island. For those who appreciate the finer things in life, a visit to Blue Door Artists is a must. This art gallery, nestled in the heart of downtown Fernandina Beach, is a treasure trove of contemporary art. It houses eight different art studios, each showcasing a unique medium, from photography to watercolor painting.

The gallery is more than just a visual feast. It’s a place where you can meet the artists themselves, learn the stories behind their creations, and even participate in workshops. On the second Saturday of each month, new works are unveiled. This makes each visit a unique experience.

But what sets Blue Door Artists apart is its commitment to local craftsmanship. The gallery also sells a variety of craft items. This includes home items, carved gourds, cards, and handwoven baskets. Each item is a testament to the skill and creativity of Amelia Island’s local artisans.

Whether you’re an art connoisseur or a casual observer, a visit to Blue Door Artists is sure to leave you inspired and enriched. It’s not just about viewing art—it’s about experiencing the vibrant culture and creative spirit of Amelia Island. No wonder this is one of the top things to do in Amelia Island for tourists with discriminating taste.

Discover Amelia Island's art scene at Blue Door Artists, a captivating gallery in Fernandina Beach.
Discover Amelia Island’s art scene at Blue Door Artists, a captivating gallery in Fernandina Beach.

7. Little Talbot Island State Park

Looking for what to do in Amelia Island? Look no further than Little Talbot Island State Park. Spanning 2,500 acres,Little Talbot Island State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. This untouched barrier island boasts 5 miles of pristine coastline, offering a serene setting for a day of exploration. The park’s diverse ecosystem includes salt marshes, dunes, and maritime forests. This makes it a fantastic spot for wildlife spotting.

As you wander through the park, you might catch sight of bobcats, marsh rabbits, river otters, and a variety of migrating birds. The park’s natural beauty is complemented by its tranquility. This makes it a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

For those who love a bit of adventure, the best things to do are the range of outdoor activities that the park offers. You can stroll along the beach, hunt for shark teeth and shells, or try your hand at fishing. Horseback riding along the shoreline is another popular activity, offering a unique way to take in the park’s stunning views.

Whether you’re an avid bird watcher, a nature photographer, or simply someone who appreciates the great outdoors, For those seeking rest and relaxation, Little Talbot Island State Park is one of the best places in Amelia Island you should know about.

Experience the natural beauty of Little Talbot Island State Park
Experience the natural beauty of Little Talbot Island State Park, a serene haven for outdoor enthusiasts on Amelia Island.

8. Amelia River Cruises and Charters

Yearning for a getaway like no other? This thing to do in Amelia Island has got you covered. If you’re looking for a unique way to explore Amelia Island, consider hopping aboard one of the tours offered by Amelia River Cruises and Charters. This operator is renowned for its sunset cruises, which provide a breathtaking perspective of the waterways and surrounding ocean. The cruises are not only visually stunning but also educational, offering insights into the local ecosystem and history of Amelia Island.

As you glide along the calm waters, keep your eyes peeled for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home. It’s not uncommon to spot manatees, sea turtles, and dolphins during these tours. For adults, the BYOB Twilight Sunset Cruise is a popular choice, featuring live music to enhance the already enchanting atmosphere.

For those interested in the island’s landmarks, the nature and history boat tours provide a different perspective, revealing Fernandina’s rich history. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a relaxing way to spend an evening, Amelia River Cruises and Charters offers an unforgettable experience. Is this one of the coolest things to do in Amelia Island? You bet!

Explore River Cruises and Charters' sunset tours, blending scenic views with educational insights.
Explore Amelia Island’s beauty on Amelia River Cruises and Charters’ sunset tours, blending scenic views with educational insights.

9. Maritime Museum of Amelia Island

A visit to Amelia Island would be incomplete without a stop at the Maritime Museum of Amelia Island, which offers a deep dive into Amelia Island’s rich maritime history. Nestled in downtown Fernandina Beach, this museum is a treasure trove of artifacts that tell the tale of the island’s seafaring past. Some of the items on display date back to the 1500s, long before the Declaration of Independence was signed.

At the museum, you’ll find a fascinating array of exhibits that showcase the island’s diverse history, from its earliest settlers to the modern day. The museum also offers walking tours throughout downtown Fernandina Beach, providing an active and social day out while illuminating the area’s rich history.

Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop before you leave. Here, you can purchase trinkets and mementos. This includes authentic pirate costumes, metal detectors, and prehistoric shell replicas. These items serve as a fun way to immerse yourself in the various eras of maritime history that the museum covers.

The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island is more than just a museum. It’s a cultural experience that offers a unique perspective on Fernandina Beach and its historical significance. Whether you’re a history buff or just curious about the island’s past, visiting this museum is one of the most unique things to do in Amelia Island that is sure to be a highlight of your trip.

Discover Amelia Island's rich maritime history at the must-visit Maritime Museum with artifacts dating back to the 1500s.
Discover Amelia Island’s rich maritime history at the must-visit Maritime Museum with artifacts dating back to the 1500s.

10. Omni Amelia Island Plantation

This is one of the best things to do in Amelia Island, hands down. Nestled on a sprawling 1,350-acre property, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation is a luxurious resort that guarantees a pleasurable getaway. There’s never a dull moment at this expansive resort. With a plethora of amenities and plush accommodations, this resort will give you a soothing and fun-filled retreat. And, did we mention that its service is second to none?

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation has got you covered. Enjoy the resort’s numerous facilities. This includes the Spa and Salon, 8 restaurants, and an infinity pool. There’s also a kids club, a splash spa, a video game lounge, a fitness center, and golf courses.

For those who love the outdoors, the resort is surrounded by nature’s beauty, offering plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure. From the lush greenery to the pristine beaches, every corner of the resort is a sight to behold.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Amelia Island, make sure to include a stay at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation. It’s not just a place to stay, it’s a destination in itself. With its top-notch facilities, excellent service, and stunning surroundings, it’s no wonder this Amelia Island attraction is considered one of the best places to visit in Florida.

Indulge in a luxurious retreat at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, offering a plethora of amenities and plush accommodations.
Indulge in a luxurious retreat at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, offering a plethora of amenities and plush accommodations.

11. Main Beach Park

Looking to visit one of the best places in Amelia Island? Add this to your bucket list!

Main Beach Park is a gem of Amelia Island that offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Located at 32 N Fletcher Ave, Fernandina Beach, this is a premier beachfront park in Amelia Island, filled with amenities and activities for everyone.

The park is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, offering a range of facilities. This includes a skate park, beach accesses, and grassy areas perfect for picnics or just lounging around. The park is patrolled by lifeguards from Memorial Day to Labor Day, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

One of the best things about Main Beach Park is its accessibility. It’s easy to reach, and once you’re there, you can spend hours enjoying the sparkling waters and soft white sands. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, take a leisurely stroll, or engage in some beachside fun, Main Beach Park has something for everyone.

The park is also a great place to observe local wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled, and you might spot a variety of birds and other creatures that call this area home. It’s a great place for nature lovers and photographers.

So, if you’re looking for a place to relax, have fun, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Amelia Island, Main Beach Park is a must-visit. It’s not just a park; it’s a destination that offers a unique and memorable experience. There’s so much to love about Main Beach Park that’s why this is one of the most fun things to do in Amelia Island for me.

Main Beach Park is one of the top things to do on Amelia Island
Main Beach Park: A gem of Amelia Island, offering a delightful blend of natural beauty and recreational opportunities.

12. Lofton Creek

It would be a crime to write an article on the top things to do in Amelia Island without mentioning Lofton Creek. For those who crave a serene escape, Lofton Creek is your haven. This tranquil waterway, with its glass-like black waters, is a hidden gem in Amelia Island. Surrounded by a thick layer of brush and vegetation, Lofton Creek is protected from the elements. This makes it an ideal spot for outdoor adventure and exploration.

Both novice and expert paddlers can traverse the waters on a kayak or paddleboard, witnessing the striking juxtaposition between the black waters and blue skies. Exploring Lofton Creek is an exciting challenge. Paddlers will have to wiggle their way around corners and overhanging trees along the way. Eagle-eyed visitors will also notice blossoming plants and blooming flowers along the banks of the water.

Lofton Creek is not just about the water; it’s about the journey. It’s about the thrill of navigating through the waterway, the peace of being surrounded by nature, and the joy of discovering the beauty hidden in every corner. So, if you’re looking for an adventure that’s off the beaten path, Lofton Creek is the place to be. As such, I recommend this thing to do in Amelia Island to everyone I meet.

Lofton Creek: Amelia Island's hidden gem for outdoor adventure and exploration.
Lofton Creek: Amelia Island’s hidden gem for outdoor adventure and exploration.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Amelia Island

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Amelia Island? Here are some popular questions (and answer) I get that will help you plan your trip to Amelia Island:

What is the best time to visit Amelia Island?

The best time to visit Amelia Island is between March and May or September and November when the weather is pleasant and the tourist crowds are smaller. However, if you’re a fan of festivals, consider visiting in May for the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival or in October for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival.

What is the nicest part of Amelia Island?

Amelia Island, located in northeastern Florida, is known for its beautiful beaches, historic charm, and natural beauty. Here are some of the nicest parts of Amelia Island:

  1. Fernandina Beach: This charming historic town is the heart of Amelia Island. It’s filled with Victorian-era architecture, quaint shops, excellent restaurants, and is known for its friendly locals. The historic downtown area is particularly charming with its well-preserved 19th-century buildings.
  2. Amelia Island State Park: This is the only Florida state park that offers horseback riding on the beach. It’s a beautiful place to explore, with pristine beaches, salt marshes, and coastal forests.
  3. Fort Clinch State Park: This park is home to a well-preserved 19th-century fort, along with beautiful beaches, hiking and biking trails, and campgrounds. The views from the fort are spectacular.
  4. Main Beach Park: Located near the Fernandina Beach historic district, this park offers just about everything. This includes a sandy beach, playgrounds, picnic areas, and volleyball courts. As such, it’s a great place for families.
  5. American Beach: Located on the southern end of the island, this beach has historical significance. it was established by Florida’s first black millionaire for African Americans during the segregation era. The beach is beautiful and less crowded, offering a peaceful spot for relaxation.
  6. Amelia Island Plantation: This is a luxury resort area with beautiful accommodations, golf courses, spas, and restaurants. The resort is among live oaks, palms, and salt marshes, offering a serene and beautiful environment.

Each part of Amelia Island has its own charm, so the “nicest” part really depends on what you’re looking for in your visit. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, relaxation, or outdoor activities, Amelia Island has something to offer.

How do I get around Amelia Island?

Amelia Island is quite compact, so it’s easy to get around by bike or on foot. There are also several car rental companies if you prefer to drive. For a unique experience, consider renting a golf cart or taking a horse-drawn carriage ride.

What activities are available for kids on Amelia Island?

Amelia Island is a great destination for families. Kids will love exploring Fort Clinch State Park, visiting the Amelia Island Lighthouse, and spending a day at the beach. The Amelia Island Museum of History also offers interactive exhibits that are fun for kids.

Nighttime charm at the Island Lighthouse.
Nighttime charm at Amelia Island Lighthouse.

Are there any unique local dishes I should try on Amelia Island?

Seafood is a must-try on Amelia Island. Don’t miss out on the local shrimp, oysters, and fish. For dessert, try the key lime pie, a Florida classic.

What is Amelia Island best known for?

Amelia Island is best known for its stunning beaches, historic charm, and diverse wildlife. It’s also famous for its luxury resorts, particularly the Amelia Island Plantation. Outdoor enthusiasts appreciate the island for its state parks, which offer a variety of recreational activities. Additionally, Amelia Island hosts the annual Concours d’Elegance, a prestigious classic car event. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with activities like golfing, fishing, and horseback riding on the beach, as well as a rich history.

Is it worth going to Amelia Island?

Absolutely, Amelia Island is well worth a visit. With its beautiful beaches, rich history, and a plethora of outdoor activities, it offers a unique blend of relaxation and adventure that caters to a wide range of interests.

Final Thoughts on Exploring Amelia Island

Amelia Island is a gem of the Florida coast, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and southern charm. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a foodie, or just looking for a relaxing beach vacation, Amelia Island has something to offer. From the historic streets of Fernandina Beach to the stunning beaches and state parks, there’s no shortage of things to see and do on Amelia Island. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on this enchanting island.

The top things to do Amelia Island for all types of travelers
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