Florida's legendary island
Amelia Island's 13 miles of scenic white-sand beach remains relatively untouched by commercialism, making it perfect for swimming, sunning, or spotting wildlife. It's also a great beach for a Florida wedding - the awe-inspiring sunrise and 40-foot dunes on Fernandina Beach are all the wedding decor you'll need. Amelia Island also offers beach horseback riding, so brides and grooms can exchange vows on horseback and ride off into the sunset. The island retains a pristine beauty that continues to draw honeymooners, couples, snowbirds, ecotourists and families with its relaxing shore, historic downtown district and cultural surround.
From kayaking to fishing and tennis to bike trails, Amelia Island has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts. Some highlights include:
- Birdwatching: With birdwatching trails and detailed maps, Big Talbot Island offers even inexperienced ornithologists a glimpse of eagles and owls.
- Nature watching: Dolphins, manatees, otters, and alligators can be spotted easily. From May to October you might see a loggerhead sea turtle, while winter brings endangered northern right whales ready to give birth. The Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centers provide a free Nature Guide.
- Biking: With miles of bike trails, you can see all the sights without having to worry about parking.
- Amelia Island Plantation Nature Center: Part of the eco-friendly Amelia Island Plantation Resort, this nature center is open to anyone. It's a family-oriented center, and has special hands-on programs such as shell hunting for children from four to ten.
- Fishing: More than 100 species of fish are available year round in the oyster beds along the riverbeds. Further offshore, there's bigger fish to fry such as tarpon, kingfish and barracuda.
Amelia Island shares many events with Fernandina Beach. Highlights include:
- Fernandina's July 4th and Families Festival (July 4th): An evening parade, concert and fireworks wrap up a fun-filled day of events the whole family can enjoy.
- Fiesta de Santa Maria (September or October): Local Latin heritage is honored with food, music and dance.
Stargazing on the beach is a great way to end a day outdoors. If dancing is more your style, the Palace Saloon has live bands and a ladies night.
Amelia Island has many resorts, hotels, and bed and breakfasts, most of which offer honeymoon packages. Other options range from upscale resorts, like the ultra-eco-conscious Amelia Island Plantation, to familiar hotel and motel chains downtown. Full-facility and primitive camping on Amelia Island are available.
Need to Know
- This barrier island is 35 minutes from Jacksonville.
- Winters are mid 70s F.
- Summers run from mid 80s to low 90s F.
- Restroom / shower facilities are available along the boardwalk from campground to beach
- No lifeguards
Dolphins and stargazing are just the beginning of an unbelievable retreat on Amelia Island. If you're ready to see all she has to offer, check out these Amelia Island getaways.
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