Amelia Island: Your family’s next sunny destination

Amelia Island
Amelia Island Sara Kendall

Amelia Island is an enchanting blend of Southern charm and Florida style. The island, known for its natural beauty, uncrowded beaches, ocean activities, and incredible restaurants also boasts a charming historical district. Being the first barrier island off the northeastern coast of Florida, Amelia Island is an easy trip for Charlottean families.

Enjoy Some Beach Time

Amelia Island has 13 miles of gorgeous and uncrowded beaches, so you won’t have any trouble finding a favorite spot. Whether your family likes to sit back or stay active, there’s something for everyone’s favorite beachgoing style.

Cruise the Amelia River

A perfect activity for the whole family is a pontoon boat ride with Amelia River Cruses that starts out in the takes you along the Amelia to the St. Mary’s River. Your family will learn about the history and environment of the area while enjoying the surrounding scenic views. You can see various wildlife including dolphins, armadillo, or wild horses on Cumberland Island National Seashore. Your family will learn fun facts about the area while the captain points out local landmarks like the house used in the filming of The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.

Check Out Fort Clinch State Park

Here your family can visit a historic fort, and then play on the gorgeous surrounding beaches. Dating back to the Civil War, Fort Clinch is a place where kids can learn about soldiers’ life back in the day, and then spend time exploring the lightly populated beaches, and hiking trails. Families have found this state park is an ideal place to ride bikes.

Go Shark Tooth Hunting

Amelia Island is known for an abundance of shark’s teeth. This is a result of all the dredging on the north end of the island. While you are on Fort Clinch State Park, you are at some of the best spots to find shark’s teeth. Go hunting for small black triangles around the beach at the fishing pier and behind the fort at low tide.

Experience A Kayak Excursion

Book a guided tour with Amelia Island Kayak Excursions. After choosing from forested wetlands to ocean waterways, your family can get a glimpse of the natural world while getting everyone’s body moving for a bit. Depending on the tour you select, you can see turtles, alligators, wild horses, dolphins, crabs, and pelicans. Paddlers of any level, including children and beginners are welcomed.

Eat Around the Island

Dine with your children at these two fabulous kid-friendly restaurants – Timoti’s Seafood Shak and Tasty’s Fresh Burgers & Fries. You just can’t go wrong with dining at Timoti’s, since it has fabulous seafood, open-air seating, and a wooden pirate ship for kids to play on. At Tasty’s, it’s counter service, but servers will deliver their yummy burgers to your table.

Cruise Around The Historic District

The 50-block historic district was once a bustling Victorian seaport village. Luckily, it has been preserved for locals and visitors to enjoy. The charming atmosphere will beckon you to slow down to experience this unique area. There are 400-plus historic structures filled with restaurants, pubs, gift shops, and art galleries. Jump on a horse-drawn carriage or trolley to learn about local history.

Stay at a Family-Friendly Hotel

A budget-friendly option is the pet-friendly Marriott Residence Inn where your family can spread out within spacious two-bedrooms suites with a full kitchen. There is an outdoor pool and hot tub for your enjoyment. For a luxury experience, book your stay at Ritz-Carlton. All rooms have ocean views and private balconies. Everyone can splash around in the outdoor and indoor heated pools plus jump in the whirlpool. Keep kids entertained at the Ritz Kids program and game room.

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Sara Kendall has traveled halfway across the globe with her kids and lived to tell about it. Stay tuned to hear about family destinations around Charlotte and beyond. Check out more of Sara’s travel at her website or email her at