Fernandina Beach is the perfect place for a day trip with the kids or a short weekend getaway. Just forty minutes north of Jacksonville this family friendly island, known as Florida’s Mayberry is an excellent getaway location. The easy, tranquil island is perfect and designed for family fun with endless options to entertain both the kids and the young at heart.
Fort Clinch is by far one of Fernandina’s claim to fame. This 19th century fort is at the most northern point of Florida and sits along the Amelia River. With over 1,000 acers the kids will have a day full of exploring. This historical fort is a favorite with daily guided and self-led tours. Explore the period inspired living quarters to experience what a soldier’s life was all about. The beaches at Fort Clinch are a hot spot for hunting shark teeth and enjoying the sunshine. There are hiking trails, bike trails, fishing, bird watching and some fun geocaching for hunting treasures and sharing your discoveries. Pack a picnic and make a day of this local treasure.
Amelia Island State Park is the only Florida state park that offers horse back riding on the beach. These guided tours are a family favorite. The park has 200 miles of beautiful beaches perfect for shell and shark teeth hunting. The park gives a close-up view of the Florida eco-system with Salt Marshes, Coastal Maritime Forests, and unspoiled beaches. Walking along the shore giving a different perspective of the dunes and natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled on this tour for dolphins and gopher tortoises they are a common site.
Big Talbot Island hosts Boneyard Beach with saltwater skeletons of oak trees and old cedars that used to call the islands shore home. There are 3 trails providing different experiences on the island; Big Pine trail takes you through the marsh, Blackrock trail will lead you to the shoreline and finally Old Kings and Jones trails take you through the maritime forest. You will find it’s a fun place to picnic but there is no swimming aloud on these shores. The little ones can let their imaginations run wild creating stories about the boneyard beach.
Little Talbot Island is known for its pristine beaches and bike trails. It is one of the few remaining undeveloped barrier islands left in Florida. A popular spot for families either on bike or walking, be sure to bring snacks and water on this eco-tour.
Egans Creek Greenway is on Amelia Island proper and has 300 acres of unspoiled coastal waterways and habitat. With several key stops along the trail with educational information about the upcoming leg of the greenway. You will often see turtles, local birds, and even alligators sunning on the banks. This is one of my favorite spots to take in all the natural beauty our island has to offer. It’s also a nature lovers paradise and a great place for educational trips. The Atlantic greenway entrance is home to Pirate Playground. This is a favorite of kids where they can use their imagination to tame the oceans before they set off on the Greenway.
Amelia Island River Cruises is a great way to see the island by boat with added history of the area. A family friendly tour, the kids will love the boat ride. With the Cumberland Island and Beach Creek tour they will get to see the wild horses in their natural habitat. It’s a great way to experience Ft. Clinch and the coastal rivers that run through Amelia Island. If you would prefer a land tour then the Amelia Island Trolly is a fun way to see the island. Pippi Longstocking house is one of the interesting stops along the Old Town area of Amelia Island. It’s a fun way to keep the kids entertained while parents having a chance to relax.
Amelia Island Museum of History is located in the Old Town area of Fernandina Beach. Learn the history of the Island from the beginning with the native Indian inhabitants and the 7 countries that claimed Amelia Island during the last 4,000 years. It’s a great indoor activity for all ages combined with an opportunity for a learning experience.
Family Friendly Dining in Fernandina Beach
T-Ray’s – Burger paradise, if you love old school burgers then this is your spot, perfect for the kids with outdoor picnic benches.
Cafe Karibo – A favorite spot for lunch and dinner, indoor/outdoor seating options make it good for kids, great food and prices.
Wicked Bao – Asian flair and family fun, this is a family favorite with the owner Natalie welcoming smile.
Salt Life – Located at the end of Atlantic Blvd with a great children’s menus and sand is encouraged.
Salty Pelican – This local hot spot sits just off the railroad tracks with trains coming by a few time a day. It’s a great family spot with an expansive menu and great prices.
Sliders – Fun twist on local favorites with swings at the outside deck, this ocean front spot is the perfect place to get out of the sun and enjoy the ocean breezes.
The Sandbar – Hands down one of the best beach restaurants on the island with a great American menu including chicken fingers and pizza.
Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop – A 1950’s inspired soda shop, it’s a must on the Island.
Fantastic Fudge – Watch these chocolatiers create these sweet treats right in front of your eyes.
Stefanie’s Sugar & Spice Cafe – Breakfast at Tiffanies styled sweet shop, her sweet treats and cupcakes are a local favorite.
Island Time Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt – Located right on Center Street where the kids can build their own sweet masterpieces.
Carrie Ann Kilpatrick is a lifestyle blogger and Realtor® at Florida Homes Realty Northern Florida. She strives to provide Fernandina Beach and surrounding residents with weekly information about the best things to do, live entertainment, outdoor activities and our local favorite eats in and around Nassau County, Florida. She features weekly local business spotlights to promote our shop local lifestyle. Join her as learn and support our community!