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Seaside Park beach on Amelia Island
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Paddleboarding in Amelia Island
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Elizabeth Pointe Lodge bed-and-breakfast in Amelia Island
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Cannons at Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island
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Charming downtown Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island
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Fresh oysters at an Amelia Island restaurant
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Sunset off the docks of Fernandina Beach in Amelia Island
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I fell in love many times the weekend I visited Amelia Island.

I fell in love with a purple sunset, the freshest seafood, incredible ocean views, fabulous shopping, a fascinating state park and the warmest people. What I mean to say is, I fell in love with Amelia Island.

Amelia Island’s Natural Treasures and History

We started our tour at Seaside Park, where we swam, paddleboarded and collected seashells and shark’s teeth. Farther north at Main Beach, we saw plenty of surfers and fishermen. At these serene beaches, we were able to enjoy the stunning natural beauty and peace and also had plenty of room to play on the wide stretches of sand. 

We found another beautiful beach at Fort Clinch State Park. Talk about a gorgeous drive into this park going down Historic Canopy Drive with its live oak trees reaching over the road and Spanish moss draping down as the sun peeks through the leaves. This is an absolutely enchanting place to rent a bike and go for a ride with friends or hike along the marsh and spot some egrets.

We continued up the road until we encountered the actual fort, which dates to the mid-19th century. Re-enactment actors eagerly showed us the soldiers’ quarters and massive cannons, played a traditional army tune on the fife and drum, and educated us about the history of the fort.

Seaside Accommodations

I wasn’t keen to leave the beautiful ocean view for even a moment to have lunch and, luckily, there was no need. We stopped at Elizabeth Point Lodge for a lovely homemade meal and enjoyed views of the water, dunes and sea oats. The patio is incredible as are the rooms in this elegant bed-and-breakfast boutique hotel.

Truthfully, though, Amelia Island has plenty of beautiful accommodations. We also toured the incredible grounds of the eco-chic Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort and the traditional and regal Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

Shop and Work Up an Appetite

For a relatively small island, there are so many fantastic stores and restaurants. At Marché Burette, you’ll find the finest specialty foods and kitchen wares, and you must try the milk chocolate-covered popcorn from Peterbrooke Chocolatiers. For home goods and fine wine, stop by Palmetto Walk Shopping Village. The Historic Fernandina Beach District has great clothing stores for men, women and children, a famous fudge store and gift shops. We took a horse-drawn carriage tour of the district that ended right at the marina. We watched the sun set just minutes away from where we had seen the sun rise on the other side of the island that morning. Amazing!

A final recommendation for you: Come to Amelia Island hungry. We grabbed a drink and some ahi tuna nachos at The Salty Pelican, tried authentic Italian fare at Ciao and savored inventive tapas at España.

It’s easy to see why Amelia Island has earned so many accolades, but it’s not just the gorgeous beaches, shops and restaurants that will stay with me. Every interaction with people was filled with a genuine warmth. Although I was just visiting, I felt like I instantly belonged.