Looking for a fun family vacation? Try Amelia Island. Beautiful, white sand and plenty of places to run and explore, it’s the ideal spot for a fun filled family vacation.
Earlier this month we visited Amelia Island as a family. We had the best time and are already trying to figure out when we can go back. The beaches are beautiful with white sand and miles and miles to run and explore.
It was such a lovely, family friendly spot to go. There is so much history on the island. You’ll also find some historical spots you will want to see and enjoy with your family. Below you’ll find lots of details on our trip and tips to help you plan an adventure to Amelia Island with kids.
Amelia Island with Kids
Getting to Amelia Island:
To get to Amelia Island, we flew from Newark to Jacksonville. Once you are in Jacksonville, you can rent a car for the 30 minute drive from the airport. It’s a beautiful, scenic drive as well.
Where to Stay on Amelia Island:
There are a number of options for staying on Amelia Island with kids. Some places that you will want to check out:
- Omni Ameli Island
- Ritz Carlton
- Vacation Rentals
There are also a number of beautiful hotels downtown that you may wish to look into as well. With our large crew, the best option was a vacation rental.
We stayed in a condo at Amelia By the Sea. It was wonderful. The views were amazing, it was clean, there was a pool, plenty of space AND we were right on the beach. The location is super convenient to everything you’ll want to do. Tom was working some of the time so he needed a quiet room and it was also great to have a full kitchen.
Where to Eat on Amelia Island:
I mentioned this a lot on Instagram while we were traveling, but Amelia Island wins best spots to eat with kids while traveling. One thing we like about being at a resort is the ease of eating… we tend to go with ease when it comes to dinning while traveling these days… this time we felt like we explored so many restaurants and had all great experiences. Here are our favorites:
Sliders Seaside Grill: This spot has a full playground and sandbox for the kids to hang in right by your table. The food and drinks were great and your kids can play until their food arrives. Sliders Seaside Grill is a lot of fun. Tommy recommends trying the giant pretzel!
The Boat House: We went to The Boat House for Tommy’s birthday dinner. The food and drinks were fantastic. It’s a great spot if you have people that like seafood and some looking for steak. The staff was wonderful, and our favorite part is the pirate treasure chest that kids can visit for a small toy to keep them occupied until their dinner arrives.
Salty Pelican: This is such a cool spot to enjoy downtown. It’s right along the train tracks so if your kids like trains, grab a table near the front. We were lucky enough to see the train go by twice which was VERY exciting for my boys. Again, the staff here was so welcoming to the kids. The kids’ meals comes served on a Salty Pelican frisbee which was really fun for the kids and made for a neat souvenir to take home. I would highly recommend trying the corn & shrimp chowder and the fish tacos.
Fantastic Fudge: When traveling, finding a good ice cream spot is just as important as a good dinner. One spot you’ll want to check out on Amelia Island was Fantastic Fudge. It’s right in the center of downtown. We went a few times and the kids loved the ice cream and the milkshakes. Also be sure to take home some of their delicious fudge. It comes in the prettiest Amelia Island box.
V Pizza to go! :V Pizza was right down the street from our condo, and it’s the perfect spot for a dinner “in”.
What to do with kids on Amelia Island:
Shark Tooth Discovery at the Omni Amelia Island Resort: We did the Shark Tooth Discovery at the Omni Amelia Island Resort on Tommy’s birthday and it was amazing. All 5 kids had fun and it will definitely be a birthday to remember for Tommy. You do not have to be staying at the Omni to do the activities at their Omni Nature Center.
The Omni Nature Center itself is a cool little spot to visit. There are lots of neat creatures to meet and learn about and a cute gift shop. The Shark Tooth Discovery started with a lesson on sharks which my kids were really into. Then they got to choose a shark tooth and make their own shark tooth necklace. After that, they learned about how to find shark’s teeth on the beach, which teeth they might find on Amelia Island beaches, and then our guide took us out to the beach to help hunt for teeth. All of the kids were able to find the shark’s teeth. It is a memorable experience.
Fort Clinch State Park: The Fort Clinch website says “History, nature and beauty meet in an experience like no other” and the description is spot on.We had planned for surf lessons yesterday but with the storm coming and the rough water, they were cancelled. The kids were really bummed and were a little skeptical about visiting an “old fort” instead but they loved it so much they have been begging to go back.They actually asked if we can come back to Amelia Island to go back to Fort Clinch!
Tommy wants to be “an army man” when he grows up, so he was in awe the whole time. Miles asked if you can launch people out of the canons into the water for fun…The girls loved going in and out of all of the rooms. If you pop over to my Reels on Instagram you can see some clips from our time there.
In addition to running around feeling like you’re living during in the 1800’s.. the beaches in front of Fort Clinch are covered in shells and shark teeth. If you come to the area, this park is a must see.
Gregor MacGregor’s Mini Links & Drinks: This is a fun spot for kids and adults. You can enjoy a round of mini golf while enjoying a drink. It’s right in the heart of downtown and a fun spot to visit before of after dinner!
Sunset River Cruise with Amelia River Cruise & Charters: This fun cruise is a great way to learn about Amelia Island. You’ll enjoy learning about the shrimp industry and history of the island. There was a lot to learn about pirates and treasure too!
In addition to history and a sunset, there were are lots of dolphins and wild horses to see. The boat was really comfortable and a great activity, even for a toddler or younger child.
Pirate’s Playground: You’ll see quite a few cool playgrounds on Amelia Island. Pirate’s Playground is located at 2500 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach.
Story & Song Bookstore: If you are a bookworm, you will love this bookstore. It’s 2 floors of books, a delicious cafe and wonderful staff. It’s the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon on the island. Bonus is getting some cool local books.
I think the story behind Story and Song is really cool: The owners have devoted their careers to helping people launch & operate successful independent bookstores for almost 30 years. Then a few years ago, they opened Story & Song Bookstore Bistro as a gathering place for the Amelia Island community and visitors to the island.
We truly love exploring independent bookstores on our travels and this one was amazing. The bookstore is not in the downtown area but close by. It’s a must visit for any age and be sure to grab breakfast or lunch while you are there.
Amelia Island Museum of History: I love a good history museum on a trip. The Amelia Island Museum of History is great for kids because it’s small, hands on AND you get a “treasure map” of questions to answer. When you find the answer you stamp your map and at the end… if you completed the map/answered all of the questions you get to visit a really cool treasure chest.
There’s a really neat pirate ship area where you can steer the ship, dress up and learn to tie different knots. The site of the museum was originally a jail (many, many years ago) and there’s a jail cell that remains in one of the room. I took the chance to “lock up” all of my crew!
Walk Around Downtown: Last but not least, make sure to spend time walking around downtown. There are so many cool historical facts to read in front of many of the buildings and there are great shops and spots to eat.
Overall, Amelia Island gets a thumbs up from our whole crew. The beaches are beautiful and there’s so much history packed into one town. We can’t wait to go back.
Disclosure: This trip was for a project with Visit Amelia Island. They were a pleasure to work with and we are so thankful they helped us experience this new place. As always, all opinions are my own.