We recently spent two whole weeks on Amelia Island in northeastern Florida. We rented an AirBnB, took the dogs on the road, and had a great home base to explore the area. We have had good experiences with our AirBnB’s on our last few trips. It ends up being cheaper than a hotel and with all the amenities of home, such as a fully stocked kitchen, washer and dryer, and yard for the dogs. The house was great and a short walk from the beach. Our hosts were great, and very responsive to any concerns. I know the dogs appreciate coming on vacation with us, rather than being boarded at home.
One cool thing about the neighborhood that we stayed in was that it is directly behind Fort Clinch State Park. This meant that there were often deer hanging out in the neighborhood, which was great fun to watch.
As I stated before, the beach was a short walk from our house. Fernandina Beach (which is the name of the town where we stayed) is known for shells and shark teeth that wash up on the shore. We spent a lot of time looking for shark teeth, but never found anything that we could definitely identify as one. We found plenty of triangular shaped things that could have possibly been shark teeth, but may have just been shell fragments. My daughter chooses to believe they were shark teeth.
The beach was dog-friendly, so even though I have two senior dogs (aged 14 and 15), it was their first ever trip to a beach! Thankfully, the beaches were usually pretty empty, because our dogs get a little too wound up when they see other people and dogs. We took them down there at a particularly down time so that they could explore a little.
One of the benefits of staying in a home on vacation is the money saved on eating out. There are a couple of grocery stores on the island and it was easy to buy things to cook. We did eat out at several restaurants during our two week stay, however.
Another benefit of staying on the island for two whole weeks is that it leaves plenty of time for relaxing (I’m a big napper) and regular activities. My husband always likes to continue playing tennis on vacation. He found people to play with at the local park, and my daughter could hang out at the playground. Young children have a great ability to just make friends and play with anyone, so she had lots of fun playing with different children throughout our several trips to the park. She really appreciated having some kid friendly interactions, and I could sit on a bench and read (or end up pushing her and her new friends on the twirly playground equipment).
We were not far from downtown Fernandina Beach and visited several times on our trip. There are historic buildings, shops, restaurants, etc.
We visited this delightful little bookstore one night when walking around later than usual for us (the power was out at our house). It was one of the few stores open at night.
We visited the Amelia Island Museum of History. It is a small museum, but well done and interesting. There were some hands on things and a scavenger hunt to keep kids interested. The museum is housed in an old jail. Amelia Island is called the Isle of 8 Flags, because it is the only place in the U.S. which has been under 8 different flags of rule during its history.
One morning we took a boat tour with Amelia River Cruises to see Cumberland Island in Georgia. I love boat rides and the captain did a great job keeping us entertained with funny jokes and lots of history. We saw birds, dolphins, and the wild horses that live on the island. On the way back, my daughter got to take a turn driving the boat.
During our time on the Island, we visited a few different state parks. Fort Clinch State Park is the one directly behind the neighborhood where we stayed. There are trails, beaches, and also the fort, which we climbed and explored.
Little Talbot Island State Park is on the other side of the island. It is mostly just a beach. But I saw some cool birds and tortoises.
We also visited Big Talbot Island State Park. This one required a hike to get to the driftwood beach. We would have spent more time here, but it was quite hot.
One morning of our trip, we took a kayaking trip of Lofton Creek through Amelia Adventures. We had it scheduled for Father’s Day, but the weather cancelled our trip. We went the next day, however, and it was great, because we were the only ones on the tour. Another couple didn’t show up, so it was just us and the guide. My husband and daughter took a tandem kayak, and I had my own. The water is extremely still, so it was easy to navigate. I only got stuck on two trees. Ha! We saw alligators.
We played putt-putt one evening at Island Falls Adventure Golf. This was a fun putt-putt course with pretty backdrops.
One morning, we visited the Jacksonville Zoo. This was truly a great zoo. There were fun, interactive experiences. There was a wide variety of animals, and it was all very nicely set up. The zoo was a large loop. I highly recommend visiting this zoo if you are in the area.
Egan’s Creek Greenway was a park very close to our house. We visited different sections of it at different times. There were lots of trails and wildlife. We even happened upon a lane full of rabbits one evening, which was very special!
You may remember from previous posts that I have gotten really into birding lately. I had an opportunity to see so many birds on this trip! I added 12 new species to my 2021 bird list!
Overall, we had a great visit to Amelia Island. It’s a wonderful place to visit with lots to see, especially if you love nature.