2018 Fun in the Summer Sun Guide
Jun 29, 2018 01:30PM
[heading style="subheader"]Take to the Water[/heading]
Amelia Island is home to a number of marinas, including the Harbor Marina in downtown Fernandina Beach, Tiger Point Marina in Old Town, and the Amelia Island Marina, just off A1A, which are all great places to rent a boat, book a cruise, or find a fishing charter. Amelia River Cruises (904-261-9972) offers narrated historic sightseeing boat tours 7 days per week from Fernandina Beach up to Cumberland Island National Seashore. Breathtaking views of wildlife and fascinating stories will enrich your coastal experience with intrigue and wonder, a fun and memorable experience for all ages. Amelia Island Boat Club, located at Amelia Island Marina (904-277-4615) provides a variety of boats, gear, and boating accessories so that its members can maximize their time on the water. In addition, they also rent boats and wave runners to non-members. Select a boat from their fleet and leave your cares on shore!
Backwater Cat Adventure Amelia Island (904-753-7631) offers one of the most unique boat tours you will ever experience. You get to drive your very own Craigcat boat, which is very safe and easy to operate. It’s one the best ways to explore Amelia and Cumberland Islands’ wildlife and sea life. And if you love the outdoors, Amelia Adventures (904-500-8687) provides kayaking tours that are a great way to explore the rivers and marshes of Coastal Georgia and Florida. In addition, Amelia Adventures also provides Amelia and Cumberland Island Nature Boat Tours, paddleboard lessons and tours, and on July 30, an Amelia Island Kids Camp.
Have you considered trying your hand at sailing? Whether you want to learn how to sail or just enjoy some relaxing time on the water with family and friends, Windward Sailing (904-327-3265) makes it fun and easy with sailing excursions, overnight trips, and sailing lessons. Or if angling is your passion, join Captain Terry Lacoss at Amelia Angler (904-261-2870) for the best in sport fishing, boating, sailing, and sightseeing opportunities, for groups, families, and even hardcore “big game” anglers. Kayak Amelia (904-251-0016) wants you to get outdoors this summer! They are the official concessionaire in Talbot Islands State Parks, offering guided kayak, stand up paddleboard, and Segway ecotours, as well as kayak and bike rentals, SUP instruction, SUP yoga, and a summer kid’s camp. Amelia Island Kayak Excursions (904-557-5307) is an award-winning business offering a variety of guided kayak adventures exploring creeks, rivers, and marshes on and near Amelia Island. Join the Bullington family on one of their popular naturalist-led eco-tours. With their fun and professional guides, get off the beaten path and discover Amelia Island, Cumberland Island and surrounding areas. Driftwood Surf Shop (904-321-2188) is a local, family-owned shop that has been serving the Fernandina Beach community since 1979. A surfer-owned store, Driftwood understands the needs of surfers, from beginners to experts, carrying all the latest apparel ad beach gear from the most reputable brands in the surf industry, and they offer surf lessons for all ages and abilities.
[heading style="subheader"]Take to the Trail[/heading]
Here in Northeast Florida, our favorite paths are paved with sand, and our local beach parks provide people of all ages access to a spectacular shoreline and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. But there are lots of other paths you can take throughout the island, too. Egans Creek Greenway, with its grass-covered paths, serve as a network of trails that are suitable for walking and bicycling, and its environment exhibits a variety of natural wildlife and vegetation. Local wildlife, such as alligators, snakes, bobcats, and many birds, may be enjoyed from a distance.
Friends of the Amelia Island Trail have completed a bike path that covers over seven miles, between Peters Point County Park to the south end of the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park, where it connects to Big Talbot Island. The trail takes advantage of the tree canopy alongside A1A so that much of the trail is shaded and shielded from the wind. A map of the trail can be found at www.ameliaislandtrail.org. In addition, the Amelia River-to-Sea Trail is set to be completed by the end of this year, along Simmons Road from South Fletcher Avenue westward to the city ball fields off Bailey Road and then onward to the new privately-funded Crane Island development on the Amelia River.
White Oak Conservation (904-225-3200) offers “Safari from the Saddle” horseback rides with experienced guides through manicured trails, while passing by a number of endangered and threatened species. Rides include lunch and a chance to talk to their animal experts.
Active outdoor adventure-seekers will want to check out the local maritime forests, state parks, and green spaces located in and around Amelia Island. Fort Clinch State Park, Pumpkin Creek Preserve State Park, Little and Big Talbot Island State Parks, Fort George Island Cultural State Park, Yellow Bluff Fort Historic State Park, and George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park all provide a remarkable wilderness experience, offering hiking biking, fishing, camping, picnicking, bird watching, and beachcombing for the whole family.
Only a short day trip from Amelia Island, the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the world’s most unspoiled, fascinating, and precious black water wilderness swamp in North America. Okefenokee Adventures (866-843-7926) will help you explore this wilderness are with boat tours, naturalist walks, fishing opportunities, and even overnight camping trip. During the summer, alligators are out in full force basking on the flats and on the canal banks soaking up the sun. The prairies are filled with fragrant white water lilies, yellow and purple bladderwort, pitcher plants, sundew, grass pink, and ladies hatpins. Visit early in the day to avoid the heat!
Nature lovers will want to visit Amelia Island Nature Center (904-321-5082) and join one of their naturalists on a hike, bike, Segway, or kayak tour, discovering birds, plants, and wildlife. Stop by the fully stocked retail shop complete with top-of-the-line binoculars and field guides, to fulfill all your exploring needs. Or visit with their local rescued critters, chat with a naturalist, rent a fishing pole, or sign up for a tour or camp.
[heading style="subheader"]Take to the Gym[/heading]
Summer is a great time to get into shape, and what better way to beat the heat and stay fit than a yoga or exercise class at one of Amelia Island’s fitness studios or gyms! AmeliaFit (904-432-8060) offers programs for different levels of fitness including Jazzercise LO, Yogalates, Barre, Silver Sneakers, as well as other formats of yoga. AmeliaFit features a welcoming and comfortable environment, and first-time visitors are always welcome to come try a class at no charge.
Community Yoga + Wellness (904-613-6345) offers all the essential ingredients for an intelligent Iyengar Yoga practice, a mindful Vinyasa class, or a powerful Pilates session for students of all levels and abilities, including a Healing Back Care Series beginning July 5, and a free yoga class on July 4. Be sure to call them to book a class.
The City of Fernandina Beach operates two recreation centers —Atlantic Recreation Center (904-310-3350) and Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreation Center (904-310-3358)—offering aquatics, fitness, and other family activities. The McArthur Family YMCA (904- 261-1080) provides swim lessons, youth and adult sports, summer specialty camps, and personal training so you and your family will stay fit and busy this summer.
[heading style="subheader"]Take to the Sky[/heading]
Are you ready to feel the excitement of skydiving at 120 miles per hour? Skydive Amelia Island (904-718-4648) can provide you with a tandem skydiving experience that deposits you two miles high in the sky! During your skydive, you will see miles of beach views, along with the splendor of North Florida, and your instructor will even provide you with a video of your jump.
How about another thrilling Florida flying adventure experience? Hang Glide USA (877-WeDoFly) provides motorized hang gliding flights for the first-time pilot as well as those with experience, and they cater to both thrill-seekers and the not-so-thrilled alike. Your power hang gliding experience will have you soaring over the beauty and wonder of Amelia Island, Cumberland Island, and the colorful green marshes on Fernandina Beach with a birds-eye view few ever experience.
[heading style="subheader"]Take to the Greens[/heading]
Golf is one of Florida’s favorite pastimes and Amelia Island’s fairways and greens are close to the beach, meandering through unique coastal maritime hammocks. The Golf Club of North Hampton (904-548-0000) is carved into the natural surroundings and framed by spring-fed lakes lined with coquina boulders and the wild grass and rolling dunes capture the feel of a Scottish links-style course. It’s a challenging Arnold Palmer signature course that’s enjoyable for persons of all skill levels. The Fernandina Beach Golf Club (904-310-3175) is conveniently located near the beach on Amelia Island, featuring 27 holes, a full-service restaurant, clubhouse, and it is one of the most popular municipal golf courses in Florida.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort Golf (904-277-5907) provides the golfer with breathtaking views and intriguing play. The Omni offers a first-class golf experience for members and guests, with three championship courses including Oak Marsh, Ocean Links, and Long Point. The Amelia River Golf Club (904-491-8500), known for its smooth TifEagle greens, manicured fairways, and challenging pin positions, is one of the most interesting courses in North Florida. Whether a true beginner or a single digit handicapper, Amelia River’s par 72 course is a challenge for golfers of all skill levels. For the young and the young at heart, Island Falls Adventure Golf (904-261-7881) is Amelia Island’s best miniature golf course with 18 (and a half) inventive and beautiful holes, surrounded by water falls, bridges and tunnels, with music throughout the course.
[heading style="subheader"]Take to the Town[/heading]
After a day at the beach or a round of golf, treat yourself to Amelia Island’s vast array of art, music, theatre, and dining experiences. Many of the local pubs and restaurants have live music, featuring some of the best local bands around. And if you love live theater, Amelia Community Theatre (904-261-6749) presents local talent in new and familiar plays, celebrating over 35 years as Amelia Island’s premier theater.
Crescendo Amelia (904-302-6086) is partnering with their dance partners, Ballroom on Amelia and Bold City Swing, for a great Summer Dance Series of music and dancing on July 13 and August 10 at the Kraft Athletic Club. You may purchase tickets in advance or at the door.
If you have children 9 and older who are interested in music, Les DeMerle, world-renowned drummer and Artistic Director of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival, in conjunction with Arts Alive Nassau, Inc., presents a Drums & Rhythm Summer Camp (904-310-9243) that will help develop rhythm and enhance their musical skills.
Located throughout the island you’ll find many beautiful galleries and antique shops. Check out the Amelia Islander Magazine’s Galleries & Antiques page for a list of the area’s finest local paintings, sculpture, jewelry, textile designs, plus antiques, collectibles, and furniture. The Island Art Association (904-261-7020) also offers summer classes, open studio hours, children’s art programs, and more. And each second Saturday of the month, enjoy a special Artrageous Artwalk from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., taking visitors to many galleries in the downtown area. Clay Times Art Center (904-624-5824) is a pottery studio that offers art classes for all ages, ceramic supplies and equipment, handmade art by U.S. artists, and special events for all art lovers!
The Amelia Island Museum of History (904-261-7278) is located in the old jail and boasts its own colorful past, in addition to the pirates, bawdy women, and rich history presented by its interesting docents and exhibits. On the Discovery Ship, “Margery,” children will learn about knot tying and be able to pilot their own ship, among other interactive activities.
And there are plenty of places to shop around the island. If you’re staying at one the local bed & breakfast inns (www.ameliaislandinns.com), be sure to check out the myriad of specialty items at Fernandina Beach’s downtown shops. Other places to shop include Palmetto Walk Shopping Village, The Shops at the Omni Resort, and Sadler Road businesses.
If you’re staying at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort or The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, both resorts offer plenty of amenities and fine concierge services. Along with events and activities that are open to the public. The Spa at the Omni Resort (877-843-7722) will help you unwind after a long day of summer activities with vast array of herbal teas and organic citrus water, and rejuvenating spa treatments that include couple massages, facials, steam showers, and much more! At The Ritz-Carlton’s Florida Spa Resort (904-277-1087) let cares and distractions melt away as you relax under the therapeutic benefits of zero gravity with a Heaven in Hammock massage, or simply take time to breathe deep in a eucalyptus infused steam room.
For more information on Amelia Island summer activities, visit www.ameliaisland.com or call the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center at (904-261-3248). And be sure to check out Amelia Islander Magazine’s blog that features updated weekly activities and more summer fun, and visit our calendar of events.