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Amelia Islander

2019 Fun in the Summer Sun Guide

Jul 10, 2019 04:48PM ● By Tom Barrett
Amelia Island comes alive during the summer months, jam-packed with activities and entertainment for the whole family! While much of the South suffers with sweltering temperatures, Amelia Island’s cool ocean breezes bring people from all over the world to bask in its beauty and seek respite from the heat. No matter what your interests, you will always find something new and different to occupy your lazy days of summer on Amelia Island, from boating, fishing, surfing, and shelling to hiking, biking, yoga, and golfing.
Amelia Island’s 13-miles of pristine beaches take on a special magic at sunrise, and its harbor sunset is a must-see experience. Main Beach, Peter’s Point, American Beach, and many more are great places to spend a few hours of swimming, surfing, and shelling. In addition, the City of Fernandina Beach is a treasure trove of heritage and history. So, whether your summer fun is a guided kayak tour or a stroll through Fernandina’s lovely tree-lined streets, there is always something to keep you and your family entertained, and happy!

ON THE WATER
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 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 waverunners to non-members. Select a boat from their fleet and leave your cares on shore!
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 an Amelia Island Adventure Camp for kids ages 9 to 12. 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 safe and easy to operate. It’s one of the best ways to explore Amelia and Cumberland Island’s wildlife and sea life.
Kayak Amelia (904-251-0016) wants you to get outdoors this summer! They are the official concessionaire for Talbot Islands State Parks, offering guided kayak and stand up paddleboard ecotours, as well as kayak and bike rentals, SUP instruction, SUP yoga, and a summer kids camp. Amelia Island Kayak Excursions (904-557-5307) is an award-winning business offering a variety of guided adventures exploring creeks, rivers, and marshes in and around Amelia Island, Cumberland Island, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, and the Suwannee River. The Bullington family professional guides provide kayaks, Hobie Mirage® Kayaks, SUPs, and motor boat tours for an authentic, fun, and informative experience.
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 products from the most reputable brands in the surf industry, and they offer surf lessons for all ages and abilities.
Are you ready to try 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 Outfitters (904-261-2870) for the best in sport fishing, boating, sailing, and sightseeing opportunities, for groups, families, and even hardcore “big game” anglers.

ON THE TRAIL
Here in Northeast Florida, our favorite paths are paved with sand, and our local beach parks provide access to a spectacular shoreline and the rolling 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, has a network of trails that are great for walking and bicycling, its environment offering a variety of natural wildlife and vegetation. Alligators, snakes, bobcats, raccoons, armadillos and many birds can be spotted on a walk or bike trip through the Greenway.
Friends of the Amelia Island Trail has completed a bike path from 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, with much of the trail 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 this year along Simmons Road from South Fletcher Avenue westward to the city ball fields off Bailey Road, and then onward to the new 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, which pass by a number of endangered and threatened species. Rides include lunch and a chance to talk to their animal experts. White Oak also hosts several summer camp experiences for all ages.
Active outdoor adventure-seekers should 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 remarkable wilderness experiences that include hiking, biking, fishing, camping, picnicking, bird watching, and beachcombing for the whole family. 
Only a short day trip from Amelia Island, Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is one of the world’s most unspoiled and fascinating black water wilderness swamps in North America. Okefenokee Adventures (866-843-7926) will help you explore this wilderness area with boat tours, naturalist walks, fishing opportunities, and even overnight camping trips. 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 summer camp.  

IN THE GYM
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. 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. A Healing Back Care Series begins in July, and ongoing Qigong, Tai Chi, and Belly Dance classes will keep you moving!
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. And be sure to stop by Central Park on Atlantic Avenue to check out their tennis, pickleball, and petanque courts for players of all ages. And for your four-legged friends, try the Nassau Humane Society Dog Park (904-491-1511) or Hot Paws (904-277-3075) for canine socializing, doggie day care, and a cool down at their bathing stations.

UP IN THE SKY
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 (877-933-6359) 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.

ON THE GREENS
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. Fernandina Beach Golf Club (904-310-3175) is conveniently located, featuring 27 holes, a full-service restaurant, clubhouse, and is one of the most popular municipal golf courses in Florida.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort Golf (904-277-5907) provides golfers 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 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 waterfalls, bridges and tunnels, with music throughout the course from their outdoor sound system.

ON THE TOWN
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 12 and August 9 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 Summer Drum Camp (904-310-9243) that will help develop rhythm and enhance their musical skills. Camp is held July 9-11 and July 16-18.
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.
And what to do on a rainy afternoon, or if you’ve had a bit too much sun? Stop by Amelia Makery (904-310-9520) and get creative! They offer a myriad of crafty ideas, like sign-making, board and pottery painting, and more. And for those with a sweet tooth, Peterbrooke Chocolatier (904-277-0162) offers a Chocolatier Day Camp and a Mommy & Me Chocolatier Classes for all ages; it’s chocolate fun for everyone!
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. For a relaxing stroll through great shopping and restaurants, be sure to explore the wide variety of specialty stores in historic downtown Fernandina Beach. 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 Nassau County 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 at www.ameliaislander.com.