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Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
39 BEACH LAGOON ROAD
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034

48 Hours in Amelia Island

downtown fernandina beach

Once a vacation spot for the wealthy, Amelia Island in Florida offered unspoiled beaches and incredible views of the local salt marshes. Though it is now a popular spot for east coast tourism—especially those interested in golf, seafood or simply soaking up the sunshine—not much has changed in the grand scheme of things. You’ll still find spectacular views of pristine coastlines as well as historic buildings to take you back to bygone eras.

For an ideal stay on the island, the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is located to give you access to all of the small-town adventures to the north and beautiful landscapes to the south.

Day One

Morning

On your first morning, stay on property and experience Omni’s signature Art of the Breakfast buffet at Sunrise Café. With stations dedicated to fresh baked goods, eggs, meats, and more, this culinary experience combines national trends with regional flavors and challenges traditional breakfast fare. Be sure to try a famous made-to-order omelet from omelet chef Ms. Donnie.

If you want to explore off the property, drive Fernandina Beach and enjoy breakfast at The Picnic Basket. This island favorite is all about fresh foods and simple favorites with a unique twist.

Devote your morning to an incredible experience at Kelly Seahorse Ranch. Located at the southern tip of the island, this ranch offers horseback rides along the beach. The slow, gentle walks are perfect for teens as well as adults, and you’ll enjoy beautiful views of the coast during the relaxing jaunt.

After your trek across the sand, return to Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort for some exploring on land. The property is filled with thrilling activities, from Segway™ tours, nautical-themed miniature golf to fishing, golf and tennis. There are more relaxing options too, like the full-service spa, private beaches, tours from the on-site Nature Center and the largest pool area in northeast Florida.

Sunrise Cafe terrace

Afternoon

In the afternoon, head up to the Fernandina Beach area for lunch. Timoti’s Seafood Shak relies on the area’s history to form its menu, as the island was once a major player in the shrimping industry. Start with the clam chowder before ordering one of their famous poke bowls, rice boxes or baskets, filled with things like shrimp, oysters, clam strips or fresh catch fish.

Just next door, Cafe Karibo is another laidback option. In addition to soups, salads and sandwiches, the restaurant offers “pub grub”—tuna sashimi, grilled flatbread, sweet potato fries and Thai spring rolls.

Stick around town after you eat to see the sights on the Amelia Island Trolley Tour, a daily historic adventure that lasts for over an hour. Another way to learn about the local area is with a trip to the Amelia Island Museum, which is housed in the old county jail and provides exhibits on over 4,000 years of local history.

Before the afternoon ends, visit Marlin & Barrel Distillery for a tour and tasting experience. The brand creates a variety of labels, from vodka, rum and gin to orange- and grapefruit-flavored liqueurs.

Evening

It’s time to get some shopping in while still in the quaint downtown Fernandina Beach area. Spots like Lemongrass and Twisted Sisters! boutique offer an impressive selection of clothing and home décor while gift shops like Color It Green, Pineapple Patch and Hudson & Perry make it easy to buy treasures for friends and family back home.

There are some great options for dinner in town. Arte Pizza, located right next to many of the popular shops, is a casual joint offering pizzas made in an open-hearth oven with Old-World recipes. Another local favorite is Wicked Bao, which serves Southeast Asian street food in the form of small plates, noodle bowls, rice bowls and signature Baos—steamed bun sandwiches.

After dinner, take a sunset boat ride with Amelia River Cruises & Charters. Those traveling with kids will enjoy the Family Friendly Sunset Tour, where you’ll see stunning skies, while those looking to have a few drinks can relax on the Adult Twilight BYOB Cruise, which includes live music.

Day Two

Morning

For coffee and a light breakfast at the resort, Marché Burette is a French-style market and deli offering a great start to your day. Another option for a traditional breakfast is Bright Mornings Bistro and Café. The cheery restaurant features a menu with everything from egg plates and breakfast sandwiches to griddle items like pancakes and French toast.

After breakfast, take a visit to Fort Clinch State Park and step back in time. You can explore the many rooms and grounds and watch living history interpretations of the life of a Union soldier circa 1864. The park is also popular for swimming, fishing and viewing wildlife in addition to hunting for shells and shark teeth.

Fort Clinch cannons

Afternoon

Head back to the resort for lunch and enjoy beachside dining at Oceanside restaurant. Experience sweeping ocean views, tropical cocktails and flip-flop friendly dining on a menu that features Florida and Caribbean flavors and dishes like crab soup, fried plantains and jerk chicken wings.

After lunch, get ready to spend the afternoon on the beach. Go for a walk along the 3.5 miles of private, uncrowded Amelia Island beach or rent a cabana and enjoy the sand and surf. Complimentary beach games are available as are rentals of body boards and stand-up paddleboards. You can also choose to take a surfing lesson.

If you would rather explore the nearby state parks, head south to Big Talbot Island and Little Talbot Island both of which offer endless nature experiences. On the bigger island, hike the coastal Blackrock Trail, the marshy Big Pine Trail and the Old Kings Highway and Jones Cut, located in the maritime forest. The smaller island is great for wildlife viewing, beachcombing and surfing.

Amelia Island Beach Cabanas

Evening

For dinner, make the quick drive to Down Under, a casual nautical-themed restaurant that offers plenty of delectable meals, from crab dip, oysters Rockefeller and orange blossom honey-glazed salmon to spicy fried shrimp and fresh fish, served either blackened, grilled or fried.

If you prefer to stay at the hotel for dinner, you’ll have a couple great options as well. At Verandah, you'll enjoy fine seafood, with dishes like shrimp and grits, seafood carbonara, filet and lobster, grilled mahi mahi, swordfish, ahi tuna, famous deviled eggs, seafood tower and more. Additionally, Omni’s signature steakhouse, Bob’s Steak & Chop House, is a must for prime steaks and chops such as the bone-in ribeye, New York strip steak, pork “rib” chop and seared duck breast.

End the evening with an after dark, private beach fire (make sure to schedule in advance). An Omni activities associate will escort you to your fire pit and provide chairs and s’more supplies. Listening to the waves and gazing at the stars on a tranquil evening makes for a perfect ending to a great escape.

Verandah seafood restaurant

If you have more time...

Head to some of the events held regularly on the island, like Sounds on Centre, a series of live concerts that are held from April to October, or the Saturday morning farmers markets in downtown Fernandina Beach. There are also some festivals held annually on the island, including Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Dickens on Centre, book and film festivals, a holiday home tour and more.

Those looking for some extra adrenaline during their stay on the island can visit Skydive Amelia Island to experience some added adventure while enjoying views of the region from a whole different perspective.

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort concierge team contributed to this article.