Get Away to Amelia Island

August 2021

By Kara Franker

From beautiful beaches to historic brick streets, there is a wealth of things to see and do on Amelia Island, just a couple hours’ drive from Live Oak.

On a recent trip to the Northeast Florida island, I spent some time exploring the sites and natural beauty. Here are my recommendations on ways to make the most of your visit to the island.

Explore Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach

Learn about the island’s past 4,000 years while walking along the brick streets of historic Fernandina Beach. Many of the buildings here are on the National Register of Historic Places, and several historic homes are now cozy bed-and-breakfasts. Hop on a trolley for a tour, visit the Palace Saloon or make a dinner reservation at Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro.

Hunt for Seashells & Shark Teeth

With a different ecosystem than most of the Sunshine State, Amelia Island offers a combination of spacious white-sand beaches and natural green marshes. Stroll the sand along the Atlantic Ocean and search for seashell treasures like scallops, moon snail, or whelk. You might even stumble upon a tooth belonging to a great white, hammerhead, or bull shark.

Dine at Salt at the Ritz-Carlton

While you’re in town, you absolutely must make a reservation to dine at Salt. Not only is it one of the only five-diamond restaurants in Florida, chef de cuisine Richard Laughlin will blow you away with his creative and artful dishes. I recommend booking either the “Dine with the Chef” experience, where you get to nosh on dish after dish at the chef’s table in the kitchen, or try the “Chef’s Adventure Tasting Menu,” showcasing seasonal plates.

Set Out on a Sunset Sail

Set sail from Fernandina’s historic waterfront, and cruise along salt marshes and secluded beaches. It’s not uncommon to spot dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and herons along the way. Some cruises offer incredible views of wild horses roaming free on Cumberland Island. The guides with Amelia River Cruises & Charters will enlighten you with local history, as well as info about the ecosystem.

Listen to Live Music or Attend a Special Event

The Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance brings together automobile enthusiasts and collectors from all over the world each March. Other events include the Amelia Island Blues Festival in September, Jazz Festival in October, B&B Cookie Tour in November, and Holiday Home Tour in December.