a woman and a girl posing for a picture in front of a fountain, downtown Amelia Island, family weekend in Amelia Island

The Ultimate Family Weekend in Amelia Island

Located approximately 3 hours northeast of Orlando lies the town of Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, making it the perfect family weekend getaway. Amelia Island is a perfect destination for families looking to create unforgettable memories. With its pristine beaches, charming downtown area, and a plethora of family-friendly activities like horseback riding, kayaking, river cruises, and more, there is something for everyone to enjoy on this beautiful island.

We recently had our own family weekend in Amelia Island and we had the best time despite some rainy weather. Between the food and family-friendly activities, Amelia Island is sure to be a hit!

Amelia Island Lighthouse in the distance past the marsh wetlands

Places to Stay in Amelia Island for Families

Now that you’re dreaming of splashing in the waves and exploring Amelia Island’s charm, it’s time to find the perfect place to rest your heads after a day of adventure! Here are a few options to consider:

1. SpringHill Suites

This hotel offers a comfortable and convenient option for families. Think spacious suites with separate living areas (perfect for spreading out), complimentary breakfast to fuel your adventures, and amenities like a pool, fitness centers, and even a Starbucks. It’s a great choice for families who want a relaxed and hassle-free stay. It’s located a short walk from the beach, across from the entrance of Fort Clinch State Park, and 2 miles from downtown Amelia Island. SpringHill Suites by Marriott is a great affordable option for families.

2. Omni Amelia Island Resort

If you’re seeking a luxurious escape with all the bells and whistles, the Omni is a great pick. Enjoy multiple pools, a beachfront location, and even a spa, it caters to every member of the family’s relaxation needs. Plus, they often have fantastic kids’ programs to keep the little ones entertained.

3. Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island

For an unforgettable five-star experience, look no further than the Ritz-Carlton. This oceanfront haven pampers guests with impeccable service, world-class dining, and luxurious accommodations. It’s pure indulgence, and while it might not be for every budget, it’s definitely a splurge to consider for a truly special family getaway.

4. The Addison B&B

While The Addison B&B sounds charming, it’s important to note that it’s for adults only. So if you’re traveling with the little ones, this one won’t be a good fit. But hey, maybe you can bookmark it for a romantic getaway in the future! Plus, I had to include it because this is where we spent our honeymoon and we can’t rave about it enough!

Things to do in Amelia Island for Families

Amelia Island offers a delightful mix of historical exploration, outdoor adventures, and charming small-town vibes. Here’s a closer look at some activities that will keep your family entertained throughout your weekend getaway:

1. Fort Clinch State Park

Step back in time and explore the fascinating Fort Clinch, a Civil War-era fort. Kids will love climbing the ramparts, exploring the tunnels, and learning about the fort’s history through interactive exhibits. The park also features nature trails, picnic areas, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, perfect for a family bike ride or a relaxing afternoon.

a brick building with a brick structure in the background from Fort Clinch State Park in Amelia Island
a girl sitting on a bench in front of a brick building at Fort Clinch State Park in Amelia Island
a body of water with buildings and trees, Fort Clinch from the inlet

2. River Boat Cruise

Enjoy an unforgettable adventure with Amelia River Cruises. Choose from a variety of narrated tours that showcase the island’s rich history and abundant wildlife. Spot playful dolphins, majestic bald eagles, and even the occasional wild horse roaming on Cumberland Island. The cruises offer a unique perspective of the island and provide insightful commentary on the area’s fascinating past.

We chose to do a sunset river cruise. It was the perfect length for our impatient daughter. I would definitely recommend bringing binoculars if you have them to help spot dolphins or wild horses.

a group of people posing for a picture on boat dock in amelia island
a selfie of a family on boat with Amelia River Cruises, things to do in Amelia Island, Weekend in Amelia Island

3. Explore Downtown Amelia Island

Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Downtown Fernandina Beach, the heart of Amelia Island. Discover one-of-a-kind treasures in locally-owned shops, where you’ll find everything from handcrafted souvenirs and beach essentials to specialty toys and gourmet treats. Savor a scoop of homemade ice cream at a charming parlor or quench your thirst with a refreshing beverage at a sidewalk cafe. Don’t miss the Amelia Island Museum of History, where you can dive deeper into the island’s fascinating past and learn about pirates, shrimping, and the unique cultural heritage that has shaped Amelia Island.

4. Horseback Riding, Kayaking, Beach, and More!

No family weekend in Amelia Island is complete without embracing its beautiful beaches! Build sandcastles with the kids, splash in the refreshing waves, or embark on an exciting adventure. Experience the thrill of a guided horseback ride along the shore, feeling the cool ocean breeze on your face and the sand beneath the horses’ hooves as they gallop beside the turquoise waters. For a different perspective, glide through the calm waters on a kayaking adventure, spotting marine life and enjoying the natural surroundings. Whether you prefer relaxing on the beach or seeking an active adventure, Amelia Island’s coastline offers something for everyone.

girl on the beach in Amelia Island, family Amelia Island, things to do in Fernandina Beach

Places to Eat in Amelia Island for Families

Amelia Island offers a variety of dining options, from casual beachside cafes to upscale seafood restaurants.

1. Timoti’s Seafood Shak

Hands down, Timoti’s has the most amazing food and is a must visit if you’re in Amelia Island. This Amelia Island staple offers a menu that celebrates fresh, local seafood. Expect a warm ambiance and friendly service, perfect for a relaxed family dinner.

We enjoyed our meals so much, we actually went back for more. We enjoyed shrimp and chicken tacos, the fried shrimp basket, and our daughter had the chicken fingers with fruit.

2. Salt Life Food Shack

Calling all beach bums! For a casual and delicious lunch or dinner with a laid-back vibe, head to Salt Life Food Shack. Their menu features fresh seafood baskets, tacos, and sandwiches, all perfect for enjoying with a view of the ocean.

We enjoyed fried calamari as an appetizer, fish tacos and fried shrimp for our entrees, and our daughter very much enjoyed a corndog and fruit.

a collage of food from Salt Life Food Shack in Amelia Island

3. Salty Pelican

Another great option for a casual beachfront meal is the Salty Pelican. They offer a wide variety of seafood dishes, including peel-and-eat shrimp, fish and chips, and their signature “Salty Pelican Burger.” They also have a dedicated kids’ menu.

4. Pepper’s Mexican Cantina

Craving a fiesta? Take your family to Pepper’s Mexican Cantina for a vibrant atmosphere and delicious Mexican fare. From sizzling fajitas to cheesy enchiladas, their menu has something to please everyone.

5. Sliders Seaside Grill

This lively oceanfront spot is ideal for families seeking a fun and casual dining experience. Sliders offers a menu of classic American fare with a beachy twist, including their namesake sliders, juicy burgers, and fresh seafood options. Don’t forget to try their famous fried pickles! They also have a beautiful beachside tiki bar with live music for the adults, and the playground and sandbox will keep kids entertained.

Family Weekend in Amelia Island: Conclusion

As your family weekend in Amelia Island comes to an end, you’ll be filled with heartwarming memories and sandy toes. From exploring historic forts to kayaking alongside playful dolphins, Amelia Island offers a unique blend of relaxation and exploration that caters to families of all ages.

With so many options for things to do, you can really customize your weekend schedule based on weather or availability.

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to check out the local events calendar before your trip! Amelia Island often hosts festivals, art shows, and family-friendly activities throughout the year. This can add another layer of fun to your weekend getaway.

Now that you have a taste of what Amelia Island has to offer, are you ready to start planning your perfect family weekend getaway? Reach out in the comments below with any questions or share what excites you most about exploring Amelia Island!

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The Comments

  • Beth
    June 4, 2024

    This is such a great guide. I love that you included everything from where to stay to what to eat. I think we’d enjoy all the water activities.

  • Ben
    June 4, 2024

    We’ve actually been talking about taking a trip to Amelia Island next year, so I’m definitely bookmarking this.

  • Karen Morse
    June 4, 2024

    Amelia Island wasn’t even on my radar until now. The idea of exploring Fort Clinch State Park and possibly spotting dolphins on a riverboat cruise would be AMAZING! Plus, your dining suggestions are spot on – me and my husband are all about seafood!

    • Brittney
      → Karen Morse
      June 4, 2024

      I’m a shrimp girl through and through. Had some of the best shrimp in Amelia Island!

  • barbie ritzman
    June 4, 2024

    Amelia Island looks absolutely stunning! Florida is such a beautiful state, and this island seems to capture all the best parts. The horseback riding along the shore sounds particularly amazing – a perfect way to enjoy the scenery and connect with nature.

  • Catherine Kay
    June 4, 2024

    Wonderful article! The Ultimate Family Weekend in Amelia Island sounds like a fantastic getaway. Your suggestions for family-friendly activities and local spots are very helpful.

  • Richard Lowe
    June 4, 2024

    This looks like a great place to visit. It reminds me of Catalina Island in California. Thanks for the photos and descriptions.

  • Stephanie
    June 5, 2024

    Amelia Island sounds like a delightful get away! Loads of fun for the whole family (culture, beaches, good food, etc…) and a little R&R for the adults. Thanks for the accommodation’s reviews!

  • Michelle
    June 5, 2024

    Amelia Island sounds like such a beautiful place for a family getaway! I’ll have to visit it when I’m in Florida next.

  • pedja
    June 6, 2024

    This is a great guide for everyone visiting Amelia Islands. Thanks for sharing!

  • Carol Colborn
    June 6, 2024

    Thanks for letting me take a peek at Amelia Island. I had been wondering what to do there.

  • Clarice
    June 7, 2024

    Happy to know that you had a great time. Did not realize that there is so much to see and do in Amelia Island. The river boat cruise sounds awesome. Glad to know that it was the perfect length for the kids. It would be exciting to catch some dolphins.