Amelia Island, Florida..
For tourist information and planning:
Get in on a great vacation secret island. Set in the Sea Island chain, this barrier island was Florida’s first luxury tourist destination and it is still winning awards (and hearts) today. Named among the Top 10 North American islands by Conde Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Awards for seven consecutive years and recognized as a Top 25 Island in the World, Amelia Island is treasured for its long stretches of quiet beaches, natural beauty, unique history, and charming seaport character. Choose from golf, spa, dining, shopping, and a range of outdoor activities – or simply let relaxation take its course and enjoy time with loved ones. Lose yourself on Amelia Island and make memories.
Amelia Island is chock-full of historical lore: Over the past 400 years, Amelia’s been the conquest of eight different provinces, including France, Spain, Mexico, and the U.S. All of that hand-changing made it a haven for pirates who, according to legend, stashed their booty all over the island. It’s also the birthplace of the commercial shrimping industry—much of Florida’s white shrimp is caught right off the island’s coast—and the production of handmade shrimping nets still takes place there.
While on Amelia Island be sure and explore Centre Street. Once a vibrant, Victorian age, charming downtown, Fernandina Beach escaped the mass commercialization of the 20th century and boasts a beautiful 50-block historic district with many original structures dating back to the late 19th century, including many Victorian-style mansions and Victorian cottages. Take a stroll through the heart of Amelia Island’s shopping district, historic Centre Street. Visit the numerous boutiques and unique shops along the streets, it will take you back in time and you will feel like you have been transported to another era. The shops are all very uniquely different and host a wide variety of merchandise; you won’t find duplicate merchandise in these little independent shops, each shop is extremely unique and different. We were really impressed with the selection and pricing, something for everyone, all very unique and totally different. Really enjoyed the shopping!
Marriott Residence Inn
2301 Sadler Road, Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Nightwire was hosted by this gorgeous property which is one of Amelia Island’s newest treasures – “Marriott Platinum Award Winning!” Residence Inn – Amelia Island. They are conveniently located walking distance from the beach and just a short distance from all of the island’s treasures – great restaurants, local businesses, area attractions, and the best that nature has to offer. Whether you are on the island for business or the vacation that your family has been dreaming of, the Residence Inn is the hotel to meet all your needs.
They offer spacious studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom suites. All suites have full kitchens, HDTV with a large selection of channels, complimentary high speed Internet connections, access to our FREE island shuttle, and many more treasures to be found. Plus they offer a daily complimentary hot breakfast each morning. You will find this a great place to relax and unwind after a productive day of working or beach combing next to their outdoor pool and hot tub or enjoy a glass of wine with family and friends next to the fire pit! Bike rentals are available at the Front Desk or you can explore onsite Egans Creek Greenway, a part of the Great Florida Birding Trail with miles of fauna and flora to discover!
The property can easily accommodate meetings and social functions of up to 50 guests in the David Levy Yulee Meeting Room, and their outdoor venue, the Tides Terrace, will add a refreshing sea breeze to your special event. For more information, please contact their Sales Department at 904-277-2440. They specialize in creating memorable moments for corporate and social groups alike. Their well-trained staff of experienced specialists will make your trip to Amelia Island a memorable experience.
Fairbanks House – Bed and Breakfast
227 South 7th Street, Amelia Island, FL 32034
Phone: 904-479-4814 or (888) 891-9882
Twitter – @fairbankshouse
Facebook – Fairbanks House Bed and Breakfast
The Fairbanks House on Amelia Island has been awarded membership in Select Registry for 15 consecutive years and named to Conde Nast’s Gold List. They have been featured in publications such as The Best Romantic Escapes in Florida, Fodor’s, Frommer’s, Southern Living, Atlanta Journal, Miami Herald, Boston Globe and New York Times and now Nightwire!
Fairbanks House features an 8000 square foot 1885 Italianate villa and three cottages. Located in the historic district of Fernandina Beach, Fairbanks House is an easy bike ride to 13 miles of pristine beach. The mansion, cottages and pool all rest on an eco-friendly, landscaped, smoke-free acre featuring native plants, palm trees, large oaks and a butterfly garden. This inn caters to adults. Owners, Theresa and Bill Hamilton aims to please and genuinely welcome each and every guest, making you feel at home and like family.
The Fairbanks House sits on one manicured acre, the four-story Italianate-style villa is graced with dormers, bay windows, massive chimneys and balustrade balconies and porches and a fifteen-foot tower. Each of the twelve guest rooms, suites, and cottages offers magnificent splendor, superior comfort, and private baths. Guests will find queen and king size, canopy or four-poster beds, fireplaces and luxurious bathrooms with choice of Jacuzzis, claw-foot tub, or shower. The rooms are appointed with antiques, oriental rugs, and period pieces to create a special sanctuary for every guest. Cable television and telephones are provided in each room. Guests may also choose to enjoy the genteel country charm of one of the three cottages.
Breakfast at the Fairbanks House, is truly a treat and inviting with the scent of cinnamon orange pecan French toast topped with a caramel topping making its way through the mansion. The smell alone that will entice you out of our comfy beds each morning. Theresa’s Gourmet breakfasts are fabulous, their presentation and quality of fresh fruits and ingredients are incredible. Breakfast is served in their grand formal dining room or out on the breezy piazzas by the pool garden where you’ll definitely want to linger. This place is almost paradise on earth, we absolutely loved it!
Fairbanks House also offers complimentary bikes, wifi, off-street parking, beach equipment (chairs, umbrellas, towels and even a backpack to carry your things in) docking stations, games and reading materials are always available. Every evening they serve complimentary drinks and delicious homemade hors d’oeuvres. In addition to all these great amenities, they add a very personal touch by making recommendations and reservations which will make your trip an amazing Amelia Island rock star experience. Oh, and I must mention the fresh homemade gourmet cookies left on the entry table every evening for you to enjoy at the end of your evening. What a great and delicious touch! Thank you Theresa!
Bill and Theresa, the owners of Fairbanks House have been “green” since well before it became fashionable. They go to great lengths to make sure that their practices are in keeping with what’s best for the environment without sacrificing an ounce of pampering for their guests. They recently added two electric car charging stations featuring both Tesla and universal chargers.
Once you’ve arrived, you will lose yourself in the beauty and elegance of this property as well as the hospitality of the owners, you just won’t want to leave. Can’t wait to go back!
Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro
14 S 2nd Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Located in the heart of the Fernandina Beach historic district. This property is a restored 1900s home that’s filled with flavor.
The island-inspired dining room is amazing and upstairs is a private dining room, but we suggest grabbing a table out on the covered porch. A meal here is almost like eating in a chef’s home, a quaint and delectable experience, to say the least.
Try the grilled leg of lamb rubbed with black pepper, garlic, and herbs and served with tomato mint salsa, potatoes, and “cotton fried onions.” Shrimp is Amelia Island’s claim to fame, and rightfully so. It was the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry and where even now a good 80 percent of Florida’s sweet Atlantic white shrimp is harvested. Each year Amelia Island proudly hosts a shrimp fest.. which I’ve been told is something you must experience.
Joe’s serves local fresh seafood that they purchase daily. We highly recommended all of their seafood dishes which are original recipes and amazingly delicious, you can tell they take great pride and care in the preparation of each and every meal. For those of you that like landlubbers fare, we recommend the tenderloin of pork. Grilled to perfection and served with a smoked peach barbeque sauce. One of our favorites was called “Sweet Potato Hay.” Sweet potatoes very finely shredded and served crisp. Even if you are not a big lover of sweet potatoes, this dish is one that might just change your mind. Plus, the steaks, we had a filet and I must say, it was one of the best filets I have ever had.
Joe’s offers a wide variety of expertly freshly prepared menu choices including seafood, steak, pasta and game. The food is fabulous, their wine selection, atmosphere and attentive staff will make this one of your favorite places. Be sure and try one of their delicious homemade desserts.. to die for! After a meal at Joe’s order dessert to go, you’ll be glad you did!
Don’t miss it. You simply have to ……Eat at Joe’s.
Kayak Tour with Kayak Amelia
13030 Heckscher Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32226
Phone:(904) 251-0016 www.ameliaislandkayak.com
Kayaking is a great way to get out and explore the waterways between the Atlantic Ocean and Jacksonville. The staff was extremely friendly and the equipment was in excellent condition. They have a generous parking lot and the entire facility was inviting. We were greeted by their friendly staff, which was well prepared and extremely knowledgeable and helpful in getting us ready for our excursion.
We paddled our way through Fort George/Simpson Creek estuary, a series of tributaries that wind through the salt marsh, creating what looks like the arteries of the land. The water twists and turns creating intimate canals for the resident wading birds, fishing osprey, and provides protection for newly hatched fingerlings. The estuary is a fascinating environment, the lifeblood of the ocean, and the nursery ground for most of the life in the sea.
Along our travels we saw tons of birds and fish flying through the air around us. We found a number of great stops where we pulled over to rest and captured some great photos. For the beginner or experience kayaker this was a great experience that we definitely highly recommend. It was so much fun and our guides were awesome. Thank you to everyone for making this experience so memorable.
22 S. 4th Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Españas specializes in traditional flavors from Spain & Portugal. They have a menu of more than 10 tapas dishes, both hot and cold, and a variety of extravagant salads and main course options. We sampled five of the tapas and each one was more delicious and enjoyable that the other each in its own very unique way. One was hot, one was spicy, one was rich and smooth all different and so beautifully presented and scrumptious. The bread was unexpectedly sweet and it so nicely accompanied the variety of dishes. I have to tell you.. I loved the olive oil/aoli dipping sauce for the bread.
They also serve authentic paellas , Spain’s most traditional dish. Their paellas are cooked in a traditional Paella pan; a shallow flat pan with two handles, made in and imported from Spain. They start with extra virgin olive oil, saffron and a “sofrito”, which is the combination of garlic, onion, peppers and tomato. Next, they add seasoned meats, homemade stock and rice which are cooked together until the rice soaks up the delicate flavors of the stock. Once the rice is cooked, they garnish the paella with diced roasted peppers, English peas and fresh cilantro. You will enjoy and savor every single bite!!! This is a not to be missed authentic Spanish dish.
The owners, Roberto and Marina have over 20 year’s restaurant experience in both culinary arts and management. They take great pride in their original recipes, taking travels to Spain and bringing those authentic flavors to your table. They utilize only the freshest fish, shellfish, herbs (some grown on premises) and spices for our paellas.
Other menu highlights include varied hot and cold tapas, steaks, and homemade desserts. Accompany your meal with a fine wine from their Select Wine List or try their homemade sangria. The staff will do everything possible to make your evening a memorable one.
The service was excellent; the wait staff extremely attentive and knowledgeable. You can definitely tell the owners take great pride in their restaurant and it shows by the quality of food and their paying attention to every detail. Highly recommend this restaurant. Trust us, you’ll love it!
4924 First Coast Highway, Suite 10
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Bar Zin… neighborhood bistro offers guests a diverse menu of wines, local brews and Saki martinis. BarZin has a relaxed, upbeat atmosphere, and offers indoor and outdoor dining options with fresh made daily food offerings.
The original concept for ZinBar was that it was going to be a wine bar with a tapas food menu. Once owner, Tim Seyda discovered the Palmetto Walk site, that all changed. The location set up perfectly for a quaint little neighborhood American bistro which meant the food menu would take top billing and the wine bar would be an extension of the restaurant. The wine selection is probably the best on Amelia Island.
Guests truly feel comfortable just stopping in for a glass of wine, eating a small snack or having a complete dining experience. Zin Bar is a great neighborhood bar.
Their lunch menu offers great salads, sandwiches, burgers and grilled tacos. All are made fresh daily from the freshest and highest quality ingredients. Their dinner menu includes fresh seafood, salads, burgers and a variety of options, definitely something delicious and skillfully prepared by their chef for everyone.
Tim Seyda, owner of Zin Bar told us “The concept started over 30 years ago when I was attending the University of Minnesota. During this time I also worked downtown in a high-end classic French restaurant, Les Quatre Amis. After leaving Les Quatre Amis. I opened a 5 diamond regional American restaurant for Amfac Hotel Company. The chef at the French restaurant, Rene Debon, and the G.M., Carlo Bicacci, were my two mentors whether they knew it or not. Rene’s passion and intensity in the kitchen to insure that every dish was perfect has stuck with me over all these years. Carlo’s eye for attention to the smallest detail day after day was also very inspiring. I have brought my own passion and zest for life to Bar Zin with over 30 years of working in the restaurant / hospitality industry. I am truly grateful that I have the opportunity to share my dream with all of you!”
This is a must stop in and try restaurant for either lunch, dinner or just a glass of wine from their great wine list or a homemade cocktail. Simply Zin Delicious!
Stay’N Country Ranch www.stayncountryranch.net
There is nothing better than horseback riding on the beach, if you have never experience it.. you simply must. Stay’N Country Ranch does all the work and brings their finely groomed well trained horses to you on the beach at Peter’s Point Beach. Peter’s Beach is a pristine beach with crystal clear waters and blue skies. The horses are definitely well taken care of and trained to adapt for any level of rider. It is a guided beach ride and truly so much fun.
Stay’ N Country Ranch is a family owned and operated ranch just off Amelia Island in Nassau County, Florida. In contrast to the nearby beautiful beaches of Amelia Island, you will find over 43 acres of oak trees, stocked ponds, nature trails, a 20 stall horse barn with 2 indoor arenas, a walk in horse shower, tack lockers, large outdoor arena and a wonderful party barn ready for anything from a birthday party to a rustic wedding. Missy and Schad Freeman have converted a property once used to raise chickens into an equine center that offers not only horse boarding and riding lessons but a variety of activities open to the public. Trail rides are a popular activity in addition to the Children’s Birthday Parties with Wagon & Pony rides. The Party Barn supports a variety of events from weddings- birthday parties-fundraising events and much more.
Don’t miss a great opportunity to ride along the beach and create unforgettable memories.
Amelia River Cruise
1 N Front Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
This Sunset Cruise is an adult BYOB cruise designed especially for adults and is one of the finest ways to end the day or begin the night. The view on the Cumberland Sound can be as spectacular as a legendary Key West sunset. Enjoy a glass of your favorite BYOB beverage and listen to some of Fernandina’s finest local musicians on board. With the wind in your hair and the smell of sweet salt air, you will float away to a tropical paradise where all of your worries disappear and a sense of relaxation and appreciation of nature takes over you.
Amelia Island Museum of History
233 South Third Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Amelia Island Museum of History, housed in the historic Nassau County jail is a great way to experience the island’s 4,000 years of Florida history. A spoken history tour of the 8 flags that have flown over Amelia Museum tours begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Fort Clinch State Park
2601 Atlantic Ave.
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Fort Clinch is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts in the country. Visitors can also sunbathe, swim, and roam self-guided nature trails to discover native plants and wildlife, or explore a six-mile trail through the park with views of the biggest sand dunes in Florida. To learn more visit their website listed above.
We flew Allegiant Airlines to Jacksonville for our trip to Amelia Island. Allegiant Airlines recently started direct flights from Pittsburgh to Jacksonville departing on Mondays and Fridays only. This no frills airline carrier offers flights starting at only $56 one-way.
As with any no frills airlines and for $56, you get what you paid for: They do charge a small online booking fee and there are charges for checked luggage as well as carry-on bags. I was a bit taken back to find that they even charge for water onboard. Sodas and cocktails I understand, but charging for water onboard the aircraft? Now, I know grab a bottle of water in the terminal. All in all, the planes were clean, the crew friendly and very pleasant, even after the hours of delay they had to endure also, (they do have Pittsburgh based crew, so they are bringing jobs to our city.)
Our Jacksonville flight was delayed for several hours getting out of Pittsburgh (the gate agents did provide us with water and snacks at the gate while we waited.) Our departure delay did slightly impact our plans for arrival day, blew the whole day in the airport, but we rescheduled and all was good. Our motto.. stay calm and carry on, really applied that day. Plus, Bar Symon was just around the corner from our gate and their cocktails, food and friendly service made our delay time fly by. Hey anytime you can get out of Pittsburgh and go to the sun and beach and a fabulous island like Amelia Island…it a win-win no matter how long the wait.
Our return flight was on time, so no issues there. Remember, delays happen with any airlines, so be patient. If you are looking for a low cost budget carrier, check out Allegiant, it’s $56 – you can’t go anywhere for $56, but Allegiant will fly you to Florida for $56, so give them a try. They also offer non-stop flights to Myrtle Beach, Tampa/Clearwater and St. Pete and Punta Gorda and flights from Youngstown Airport for other destination choices.
The reviews online of this airline have not been good they are currently averaging 3 out of 10 stars, however my personal feeling is that only those passengers that are unhappy are writing reviews and those that are happy are just going on their merry way and not sharing their good experiences, why is it we always seem to focus on the bad, not the good? So, come on Pittsburgh, if you are on a budget or just looking to save money, I would definitely try Allegiant Airlines. After all, they have direct flights and are giving Pittsburgh a chance, bringing in new jobs and revenue….. how about we give them a chance?
Would Nightwire fly Allegiant Airlines again? I’d give that a definite, YES if for no other reason than to report back to you, my dear readers and tell you what a great flight we had at such a bargain fare! Check out Allegiant Air flight schedules and deals at www.allegiantair.com