17 Cool Things to Do in Amelia Island On Your Northeast Florida Trip

Planning to explore Northeast Florida? Carve out time to experience all the best things to do on Amelia Island. Renowned for its miles of beaches, crystal-clear water, and historic attractions, Amelia Island is one of the most underrated holiday destinations in the Sunshine State.

A refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of the city, the top tourist attractions on Amelia Island offer a plethora of wonders. Whether you wish to explore beautiful Fort Clinch State Park, shop at an antique market, eat delicious local seafood at a restaurant in Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island offers travelers a little of everything.

Need a primer for what to do? Round out the ultimate Northeast Florida trip with this guide to the best places to visit in Amelia Island, FL.

Coolest places to visit in Amelia Island, FL

Fernandina Beach Historic District

Pushing eastward from the Amelia River, the Fernandina Beach Historic District brims with old-world charm and energetic antique markets. Fernandina Beach’s European charm remains strong. Once colonized by French, Spanish, and European settlers, the town has retained much of its continental DNA. 

Fernandina Beach Historic District

Notable sights in the Fernandina Beach Historic District include the Fernandina Beach Arts Market and the Amelia Island Museum of History. Both of these top Amelia Island attractions offer something wholly unique and showcase the island’s versatility for visitors.

The famous Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival takes place every May, drawing visitors from all over the United States. Located in Fernandina Beach’s historic downtown, this whimsical event celebrates seafood, arts and crafts, and live music. 

Fort Clinch State Park

Both history buffs and nature lovers will marvel at the beauty of Fort Clinch State Park. This historic fort dates back to the pre-Civil War days. Named after famed General Duncan Lamont Clinch, the park features 19th-century military holdovers, a brick fortress, and several historical re-creations.

Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch State Park is also situated in a beautiful natural environment featuring oak trees, sand dunes, plains, and a beautiful beach. Look hard enough and you may even find fossilized shark teeth on the waterfront.

Around the 19th-century fort, you can also explore several hiking & biking trails. Visitors can meander through the Willow Pond Nature Trail and catch a glimpse of its abundance of flora and fauna. Luckier visitors might even spot dolphins swimming in the nearby ocean!

Amelia Island State Park

Yearning to be reconnected with nature? Amelia Island State Park has all the natural wonders you need. From picturesque beauty to rugged, rolling seas, this 200-acre Florida state park features salt marshes, luscious forests, and maritime hammocks. There’s also a mile-long fishing pier for solitude-seekers and various outdoor activities for families.

Spanish Moss in Amelia Island State Park

Though there are several beautiful Amelia Island beaches, Amelia Island State Park is home to the only beach on the island that offers horseback riding. It’s one of the best places to go on Amelia Island to explore its unspoiled wilderness and its Atlantic Ocean charms at their finest.

Amelia Island Museum of History

Travel back in time and explore the treasure trove of wonders on display at the Amelia Island Museum of History. Located in the former Nassau County jail in Fernandina Beach, the history museum celebrates over 4,000 years of life in Northeast Florida, from its native inhabitants to European rule to the modern day.

Besides the fascinating exhibits, the Amelia Island Museum of History also offers walking tours throughout downtown Fernandina Beach. The guided walks illustrate the area’s rich history while providing an active and social day out.

Kelly Seahorse Ranch

There are only a few horse-friendly beaches in the United States, and Kelly Seahorse Ranch is proud to be one of them! With golden sands underneath, you can majestically gallop along the beachfront and immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings.

The five-mile-long ride will take you along the water’s edge and along the dirt paths of the local forests. New riders receive an in-depth tutorial from the ranch’s head wrangler, Kristin. It’s the perfect way to explore Amelia Island, Florida, in an old-fashioned way and traverse its beautiful beaches with a dash of adventure.

There are 20 horses at Kelly Seahorse Ranch. The ranch offers four rides per day, weather permitting

Amelia Island Horseback Riding

Equine enthusiasts will be delighted to know that Kelly Seahorse Ranch isn’t Amelia Island’s only horseback riding attraction. For another fun option, go on a riding tour with Amelia Island Horseback Riding.

Horseback Riding

Tours at Amelia Island Horseback Riding operate from sunrise to sunset and offer stunning views of the local nature. There are several trainers at the facility who are adept at instructing novice, intermediate, and experienced riders.

Though not as famous as Kelly Seahorse Ranch, Amelia Island Horseback tends to have more tours, making it a great alternative.

Lofton Creek

Looking for other natural points of interest in Amelia Island? Find time for a day trip to Lofton Creek. The serene black waters of Lofton Creek remain glass-like even in severe wind conditions. Surrounded by a thick layer of brush and vegetation, the waterway is protected from the elements, making it an ideal spot for outdoor adventure and exploration. 

Both novice and expert paddlers can traverse the waters on a kayak or paddleboard and witness 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.

George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park

For anglers, George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park is the perfect place to unwind after a day of sightseeing in Amelia Island, Florida. Visitors will enjoy panoramic views of Nassau Sound’s beautiful scenery and access to the abundance of fishing in its waters.

Located seven miles from Little Talbot Island, George Crady Fishing Pier State Park also offers biking trails, picnicking areas, and shower facilities.

On the Line Bait and Tackle Shop houses everything you could need from a fishing trip. Fishing rods, fishing tackle, and bait are sold there, as well as food & drink refreshments. 

Maritime Museum of Amelia Island

Amelia Island’s historic waterfront is expertly showcased at the Maritime Museum of Amelia Island. Located in downtown Fernandina Beach, the museum is rich in maritime history artifacts. Some of the items date as far back as the 1500s, long before the Declaration of Independence was signed. 

At the gift shop, visitors can purchase trinkets and mementos. Authentic pirate costumes, metal detectors, and prehistoric shell replicas are all on sale to help immerse you in several eras of maritime history.

The Maritime Museum of Amelia Island has recently reopened to visitors. Be sure to head down there if you fancy an interesting cultural experience in Fernandina Beach.

Little Talbot Island State Park

Located just south of Amelia Island, the undisturbed sandy beaches of the Talbot Island State Parks mesh with the rustic charm of the surrounding wilderness. The beach, woodland, and coastal dunes of Little Talbot Island State Park are best explored via a four-mile-long coastal trail spanning its perimeter. The park is also home to several creatures, such as deer, rabbits, armadillos, and raccoons.

Little Talbot Island State Park

In addition to the hiking and biking trails, Little Talbot Island State Park also offers camping facilities for serious adventure seekers.

Paleontology fans will enjoy exploring the abundance of ancient shells scattered around the beachfront. The relics offer a window into the illustrious history of Little Talbot Island.

Big Talbot Island State Park

As its name suggests, Big Talbot Island State Park is the larger of the twin Florida state parks. Like its smaller sibling, the park is also rich with hiking trails, biking trails, and camping grounds. There’s even a canoe launch ramp for the active nature lover. 

Big Talbot Island State Park

One of the most famous attractions at Big Talbot Island State Park is Boneyard Beach, a mile-long shore housing several bleached cedar tree skeletons. The fallen trees vary in shape and size and almost resemble tusks from an ancient woolly mammoth.  

Renowned for its beauty, Big Talbot Island State Park is also family and pet-friendly and the perfect location for surfers, swimmers, and paddleboarders.

Cumberland Island National Seashore

Part of Georgia’s largest barrier island, the Cumberland Island National Seashore is a 36,000-acre stretch of preserved coastline offering sand dunes, pristine beaches, and stunning marshes. 

Cumberland Island

No state or national park would be complete without a thriving ecosystem of flora and fauna, something Cumberland Island National Seashore has in abundance. Visitors can expect to find wild horses, sea turtles, turkeys, and several tree and flower species around the park. There are also designated walking trails for you to meander along with your camera in hand.

The Ice House Museum features artifacts from numerous eras on Cumberland Island, from its earliest settlers through to the present day.

Amelia Island Lighthouse

The 182-year history of the Amelia Island Lighthouse stretches back to pre-Civil War days. Located in Fernandina Beach, this long-standing lighthouse marks the beginning of the St Marys Entrance, an inlet leading to the flowing St Marys River.

Amelia Island Lighthouse

Though now a private property, the Amelia Island Lighthouse continues to be maintained by the Coast Guard. As a result of its private ownership, the lighthouse no longer offers public tours. Its grounds, however, are accessible every Saturday for three hours.

The guiding lights of the historic Amelia Island Lighthouse are still in operation, still guiding boats to St Marys Entrance as it’s done for nearly 200 years. 

Amelia Island Kayak Excursions

If you’re dying to explore Amelia Island’s calm waters, book a kayaking experience with Amelia Island Kayak Excursions. Launching from the Amelia River in Fernandina Beach, this family-run enterprise offers some of the best kayak tours in the state.

Amelia Island Kayak Excursions will take you through the salt marshes, maritime forests, and the region’s famous black water. Fall in love with nature as you meander the natural landscape in a fun and engaging way.

Boat tours are plenty of fun but don’t offer the intimacy and sense of adventure of kayaking. Besides exploring the waterways, Amelia Island Kayak Excursions also offers water sports, eco-tours, and other outdoor activities. You even get a free photo album documenting your adventures!

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

Housed within 1,300 acres of stunning natural beauty, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is Amelia Island’s premier golf destination. For luxury travelers, this beautiful resort drips with opulence and splendor. 

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort

The luxurious accommodations at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort are ideal for romantic overnight excursions. Omni Hotels & Resorts are known for their glamorous nature and relaxing features, making them the perfect destination for romantic getaways.

Sports enthusiasts will have plenty to do at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, too. With world-class golf courses, stunning tennis courts, and state-of-the-art gyms, plenty of active endeavors await you at the luxury resort.

Amelia River Cruises & Charters

Eager to explore the seas in style? Amelia River Cruises & Charters has everything you need. From romantic sunset tours to relaxing beach tours, the outfitter offers an expedition for every style of traveler. The tours run year-round and are a tremendous family-friendly option. 

Amelia River Cruises & Charters

Visitors will be treated to close-up views of the beaches, sand dunes, and natural wildlife of Amelia Island. You can also explore Cumberland Island from the comfort and safety of a luxury cruise.

Both the passenger cruise ship and the passenger ferry boat are fully equipped with bathrooms, handicap ramps, and food and drink facilities for maximum comfort and convenience. 

Fort George Island Cultural State Park

With over 5,000 years of history under its belt, Fort George Island State Park brims with history. Native Americans settled here, European explorers explored its grounds, and affluent 1920s socialites built stately homes here.

Kingsley Plantation

Reminders of America’s past are scattered throughout Fort George Island Cultural State Park. The most famous of these is the Kingsley Plantation, a slave farm from the 19th century. Named after slave owner Zephaniah Kingsley, who resided here for 25 years, the plantation still shows off the living quarters, kitchen, and slave accommodation.

In addition to its historical sites, Fort George Island State Park also features a biking trail, boat ramp, and public beach. You’ll love the chance to hike, bike, kayak, and canoe around the park’s landscape. You can also relax on the beach while gathering shark teeth or photographing the sand dunes.

Etched in history, Fort George Island Cultural State Park is a fascinating mix of dark history and natural beauty. The park is open year-round from 8 am to sundown.

Recommended places to stay for sightseeing

Home2 Suites By Hilton Fernandina Beach

Home2 Suites by Hilton Fernandina Beach

Located half a mile from the beach and close to many of the island’s top landmarks, this hotel is one of the top accommodation picks on Amelia Island. Rooms and sleek and modern. You’ll also enjoy a host of great amenities including a fitness center, outdoor pool, and an on-site restaurant.

Hampton Inn & Suites Amelia Island

Hampton Inn & Suites Amelia Island

Just five minutes from the ocean, this Victorian-inspired hotel in Fernandina Beach is a fantastic choice for a Northeast Florida family seaside getaway. Besides its great location, the hotel also offers guests an opportunity to cool off in a refreshing outdoor swimming pool.

The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island

The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island

Need to add a dash of luxury to your Amelia Island vacation? Look no further than this delectable 5-star resort. Beset with elegant rooms, spectacular ocean views, and a luxurious outdoor pool, this top-notch luxury hotel is one of Northeast Florida’s finest places to stay.


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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