Amelia Island is a lush beautiful island, with many miles of beaches and several state parks
that have trails great for hiking, biking and nature watching. Fort Clinch and Amelia Island State Parks are two of the most popular places to do these things and the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier is a popular place to fish. Amelia Island also hosts many festivals throughout the year including a Jazz and Shrimp festival. They have upscale resorts, quaint bed and breakfast inns, world-class spas, golf courses, historic sites, many great restaurants and of course a marina.
Amelia Island is one of the southernmost of the Sea Islands, which is a chain of barrier islands that stretches along the east coast from South Carolina to Florida. Located south of Cumberland Island in Georgia
, off the coast of Florida this gives it some of that Georgian southern charm with all the benefits of laid back attitude of Florida beaches
. Amelia Island is 13 miles long and about 4 miles wide, both Fernandina Beach and Amelia City are located on the island. Beach access on the south side of the island is limited, partly due to the resorts and hotels there, but the rest of the island has good public beaches with a lot of access and you can even drive on some of them.
Fernandina Beach is the northern most city in Florida and has been an important seaport from early on, which is evident in its Victorian-era architecture and charming historic district.
Amelia Island Plantation
One of the most popular resorts is Amelia Island Plantation
. This 1350 acre AAA Four Diamond resort on Amelia Island overlooks the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Intracoastal Waterway on the west. They offer two different types of accommodations; The Amelia Inn & Beach Club and the Villas of Amelia.
The Amelia Inn & Beach Club has 249 deluxe ocean view hotel rooms with private balconies that face the ocean and are a very romantic place to have breakfast while enjoying the sunrise.
The Villas of Amelia are situated throughout the property and provide a variety of home-like accommodations. Each villa is unique and has its own charm; they range in size from hotel rooms to one, two and three bedroom units.
Amelia Island Plantation offers vacation packages for the golfer, the romantic, the tennis fanatic and the spa enthusiast; it's also a great place to book some time to spend with friends and families.
Amelia Island Plantation has 72 holes for golfers and has been named a "Silver Medal Golf Resort" every year by Golf Magazine. Amelia Links has 36-holes over two signature courses, Oak Marsh and Ocean Links. Long Point is 18-holes uniquely laid out among marshlands and the sand dunes of the Atlantic. Long Point is a Club Member primary course but, resort guests can reserve tee times a day in advance. The Amelia River course has 18 holes, is open to the public and located just three miles from the resort's main entrance.
Fort Clinch State Park is located on a peninsula near the northernmost point of Amelia Island, at the entrance to the Cumberland Sound. It covers 1,100 acres and includes Fort Clinch, one of the most well-reserved 19th century forts in the country. It's made up of sand dunes, plains, a maritime hammock and an estuarine tidal marsh. It's been a part of the park system since 1935 and it opened to the public in 1938.
More about Fort Clinch State Park »
Amelia Island State Park
An easy drive from Jacksonville
, Amelia Island State Recreation Area
is 8 miles south of Fernandina Beach. The park consists of 200 acres of beautiful beaches, salt marshes and coastal maritime forests. Amelia Island State Park is one of the few places on the east coast where you can horseback ride right on the beach it also offers riding tours along the shoreline. Some other things you can enjoy in the park are hiking, canoeing, kayaking, sunbathing, swimming, looking for shells and watching the wildlife. If you like to fish you can fish along the shoreline or toss a line in from the mile-long George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier which spans Nassau Sound. Some wildlife you might see include these common shore birds; black skimmers
, piping plovers, terns and brown pelicans. If you get lucky you may even see a Bald Eagle or a rare Right Whale.
George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier
On the north end of Amelia island you'll find George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier
, it's a mile long, pedestrian-only fishing bridge that spans Nassau Sound and provides access to some of the best fishing
in the area. A variety of fish are caught here, including whiting, jacks, drum and tarpon. Access to the bridge is through Amelia Island State Park.
If you're looking to spend some family time outdoors, visit one of these great state parks on Amelia Island.
Interesting Facts about Amelia Island
Amelia Island is known as the "Isle of Eight Flags" because 8 different flags have flown over it since 1562, it's the only municipality in the United States that can say this. Amelia Island has had an amazing past, thanks to its diverse inhabitants like Timucuan Indians, pirates, shrimpers, nobles and confederates. These diverse groups of people have added their own lore, mystery and charm to Amelia Island.
Amelia Island is home to Florida's oldest continuously operating bar, the Palace Saloon
. The saloon is located in a 50-block area of homes and buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you're a history enthusiast be sure to plan a visit to Old Town, the last Spanish Town in the Western Hemisphere and the former Spanish Fort San Carlos.
Amelia Island is a great place to have your wedding
, plan a spa weekend with the girls or a golf weekend with the guys. Or if you enjoy doing anything outdoors, with your family then Amelia Island is a place you must visit.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com