Looking for an affordable weekend getaway that’s perfect for singles, couples, or families with young children? If so, I’ve got a destination you need to check out! My husband, daughter, and I recently spent three days in Amelia Island, Florida… and I can safely say that it’s a whole vibe.
Not familiar with Amelia Island, Florida? Same here! Truthfully, I had never even heard of the place until the tourism board reached out to say they would love to host us. We didn’t hesitate to say yes because, despite many visits to the Sunshine State– I even rented a place in Miami Beach for a month earlier this year– my Florida travels rarely take me farther north than Orlando.
This is likely the case for you, too, so let me introduce you to Amelia Island, Florida. Named after Princess Amelia of England, Amelia Island is located in the northern part of the state and is only a 40 minute drive from Jacksonville (which, fun fact, is named after former US president Andrew Jackson). Known for its nature, wildlife, sand dunes, and 13 miles of beautiful beaches, the island is for people from all walks of life looking for a relaxed, yet adventurous getaway.
Luckily, traveling to Amelia Island is very easy within the United States. It’s a mere 2 hour flight from NYC, which makes it a great weekend trip. If planes aren’t your thing, it’s also a short scenic drive from major cities in the South (for example, it’s a 2.5 hour drive from Savannah, Georgia).
Things to Do in Amelia Island, Florida
Now that you know where Amelia Island is located, you’re likely wondering how to pass the time once there. So without any further ado, here are my recommendations for things to do in Amelia Island, Florida:
Horseback ride on the beach. This was my absolute favorite experience of my stay! I went to Kelly Seahorse Ranch and did an hour-long guided ride along the water. While I’m a huge fan of animals, views of the turquoise waters breaking against the fine white sand made the ride all the more pleasurable. What an exquisite experience.
Kayak tour. We stayed at the Omni Amelia Island Resort (more on that later) and they offer tours of the marsh via kayak and SUP. The waters were calm, so the kayaking was way more relaxing that I initially thought it would be. 10/10 recommend.
Enjoy the beach. As I mentioned above, Amelia Island has 13 miles of beaches, so it was a no-brainer to spend some time there. The waves are pretty calm and the water is relatively shallow, which makes it a wonderful option for kids to splash around in. The sand is also great for building castles, or, if you’re my daughter, claw through the sand and throw it around. Speaking of Kira, she loved the beach SO much that she cried every time we had to leave!
Explore downtown Amelia Island. Center Street is super quaint, photogenic, and has excellent boutique shopping. While you’re there, check out the Museum of History— it’s small but has lots of interactive displays that your kids are sure to enjoy.
Get a treatment at the Ritz Carlton. As someone struggling to balance motherhood with a very busy career, some self-care was much-needed on this trip! I had an Ocean Healing Massage treatment at the Ritz Carlton which included a 30-minute therapeutic bath, sea salt full body exfoliation, and a warm salt stone massage. All I have to say is this: Oneika tested, Oneika approved!
Eat at Timoti’s Seafood Shak. It’s no surprise that Amelia Island has very good seafood given its location. However, I have to shout out Timoti’s as it is the bomb! With a mouth-watering menu that runs the gamut from clam chowder to lobster rolls, there are tasty treats for everyone (as well as non-seafood options for those who fancy them). There’s awesome patio seating and Kira especially enjoyed the attached playground.
Where to Eat in Amelia Island
Speaking of eats, there are no shortage of spots to get fabulous fabulous food in Amelia Island. In addition to Timoti’s, here are a few others you should check out during your stay:
Kitchen 251. Located in the Amelia Island Marina, this casual spot was my husband’s favorite restaurant of the trip! It serves up Cajun fare and the portion sizes are large– just the way we like ‘em.
Lagniappe. The cuisine here is distinctly Southern with a French Creole twist.
Coquina. This restaurant at the Ritz Carlton is great for tapas, but you’ll be blown away by the beach views.
Espana. The restaurant’s name gives a nod to the country of Spain but also features Portuguese cuisine. The food is excellent and the patio is absolutely gorgeous. We loved it!
Where to Stay in Amelia Island
Our home away from home for our Floridian getaway was none other than the Omni Amelia Island Resort. Spread out over 1,350 acres of nature, the resort offered everything our little hearts desired. While I love booking accommodation that’s right on the beach, little Miss Kira was such a huge fan of the Omni’s splash pad that I’m going to make a conscious decision to book hotels that have one from now on! Since she can’t swim yet, the pad was the perfect way for her to cool down and have fun. Even better was being able to keep an eye on her from our private cabana which was right next to the pad… 😉 As I said, our little trio thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Omni and recommend it for your next trip to Amelia Island.
So as our weekend in Amelia Island taught us, Florida is SOOOOO much more than Orlando, Miami, and The Keys! Amelia Island is a great little destination with loads of things to do, so hopefully now it’s on your radar.
Have you ever heard of Amelia Island? If so, have you been before?