Why We Love Amelia Island, Florida—and You Should Too

Plan a getaway to one of our favorite coastal towns

Southern Living Omni Amelia Island Plantation
Photo: Omni Amelia Island Plantation

Looking for a summer escape? Plan a trip to Amelia Island, Florida. About 45 minutes north of Jacksonville, we love this Atlantic Coast gem and its 13 miles of beautiful, picturesque beaches. This barrier island offers plenty of things to see and places to stay, eat, and explore, making it an ideal destination for a family getaway.

Book your stay at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation, which recently landed a spot on our list of the top 10 best resorts in the South. Along with unbeatable beach views, the resort's 1,350 acres offer tennis, championship golf courses, luxurious spa services, and more fun that the whole family can enjoy. You'll also find charming bed-and-breakfast options located throughout the island.

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There's no shortage of natural wildlife to explore here. Spend an a day at the Amelia Island State Park, which you can discover the island's salt marshes and maritime forests as well as go horseback riding on the beach. Search for shark's teeth and shells on the shoreline, and learn about the park's sea turtle conservation efforts. You'll also want to check out the historic Fort Clinch State Park, which hosts Civil War reenactments and other live interpretations of life as it was back in 1864. Other recreational activities include fishing, shelling, and guided nature walks on the Willow Pond Nature Trail.

Take a break from the surf and sand, and hop over to Fernandina Beach for a true Old Florida experience. This quaint beach town made our list of the South's best small towns. Here you'll want to visit the Amelia Island Museum of History along with other museums, galleries, and boutiques. Another can't-miss spot in Fernandina is The Palace Saloon, the oldest bar in Florida, and be sure to order the Pirate Punch.

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