Are you traveling to Amelia Island, Florida? Do you live in Florida and want to take a day trip to the island? Read about the best things to eat, see and do in one day – featuring Fort Clinch State Park, Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, Downtown Fernandina and more!
One of the benefits of living in Florida is that there are endless things to see and do. Many places are within driving distance and can be visited for the day. Amelia Island is a barrier island located on the northernmost part of the east coast of Florida. With beaches, festivals, golfing, shopping, dining and nature, there are many fun and unique places to visit. The following provides a one-day itinerary of things to do, places to see and where to eat on Amelia Island.
(1) Amelia Farmer’s Market
When traveling, I always love to check out the local farmer’s market to purchase local goods and sample delectable creations. The Amelia Farmer’s Market is located at the Shops at Omni Amelia Island Plantation. In addition to plants, fruits and vegatables, there are freshly baked breads, treats and prepared foods to sample and purchase. The farmer’s market is open every Saturday from 9am – 1pm so it is a great way to start the day. Stop by Marche Burette, the gourmet food market and deli and grab a light breakfast.
(2) Stroll Downtown Fernandina Historic District
Downtown Fernandina Historic District is located right near the marina and features many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Walk the streets, browse through the antique stores and gift shops and explore a little piece of American history.
Everything is located within walking distance. Park your car, stroll the streets and watch the boats dock at the marina.
(3) Enjoy lunch on the patio in downtown Fernandina
One of the best things about Florida is the ability to enjoy lunch outside almost year round. With plenty of outdoor patios, Amelia Island is the perfect place to enjoy lunch outside. Cafe Karibo and Timotti’s Seafood Shack are just two of the wonderful outdoor dining options downtown. Both are family friendly and serve fresh local seafood and more.
(4) Stop for dessert at Fantastic Fudge in downtown Fernandina
Craving dessert after lunch? Go to Fantastic Fudge located in downtown Fernandina. The fudge is made fresh on site. They also have ice cream, pralines, chocolate candy and more. You know that I can’t ever resist chocolate so I stop in for a few dark chocolate peanut butter cups and milk chocolate fudge.
(5) Spend the afternoon at Fort Clinch State Park
Located on the most northern part of the island, Fort Clinch State Park is a great place to spend the afternoon or even the entire day. The fort served as the base of Union operations in the area throughout the Civil War and was used as a communications and security post during World War II. The historic fort costs just a few dollars to visit and you step back in time to the year 1864 with live soldiers reenacting life during the Civil War. The park is one of my favorite things to visit on the island.
The park is more than just the fort. With 3 miles of shoreline, there is plenty of space to grab some beach chairs and an umbrella and enjoy the ocean views. On the most northern part of the island you can see across to Cumberland Island, Georgia. The park ranger told us that you can frequently see the wild horses roaming the beaches on Cumberland Island, so bring your binoculars. The park also offers a 1/2 mile long fishing pier and miles of bicycling on historic canopy roads.
(6) Make a reservation at Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen for dinner
Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen is one of the newest restaurants on the island and grabbed my attention the first time I read about it. Executive Chef Kenny Gilbert was featured on season seven of Bravo’s “Top Chef” and previously worked at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island and James Beard recognized restaurants such as Yardbird and Swine in Miami.
The restaurant features a daily seasonal menu inspired by southern cuisine and local ingredients. On the night we visited, the restaurant featured a Caribbean inspired menu in addition to the weekly menu. We ordered the fresh conch salad, pork belly, chicken and dumplings and banana foster tart. It was difficult to choose what to order because everything on the menu sounds amazing. The portions were surprisingly large and made with the freshest ingredients. Featuring three different dining areas, the restaurant is relaxed and welcoming. It is a must on the island and I can’t wait to return for brunch!
A day trip to Amelia Island is a great way to enjoy many of the things that the island has to offer. Amelia Island is the type of place where you could easily spend a week and still not experience everything on the island. I can’t wait to return and stay at one of the resorts or inns and experience all that the island has to offer. Kayaking, river cruises, horseback riding, golfing, fishing, and bike riding are just a few of the things I hope to do on my next visit.
Whether you spend a day or a week, Amelia Island is a great place to experience nature, history and culinary activities!