Put Those Phones Down!

Pack Up the Family and Enjoy Some Time On Florida's Amelia Island

Article by Maria Dinoia

Photography by Photos courtesy of

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

It's easy to understand why Florida's Amelia Island was recognized as the #3 top island in the U.S. by Conde Nast's Traveler 2022 Reader's Choice Awards. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island has a lot to offer. Located on the northeastern tip of Florida, just 30 minutes north of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is an unspoiled setting for relaxing and rewarding getaways. So grab your family (teenagers included!) and step onto this southernmost jewel.


First Love Brewing With over 20 rotating taps, First Love offers a mix of porters, IPA's and ales that pair terrifically with their artisan pizzas, wings and their legendary smash burger (Teenager approved!). Owners Kevin and Jessie are top-notch. 

The Salty Pelican This restaurant serves up great, fresh-from-the-docks seafood along with incredible views of the Fernandina Harbor and marina on the Amelia River.  

Wicked Bao  Owner Nathalie (charming and friendly!) describes the deliciousness of this place as 'Asian street food.' A bao is similar to a dumpling, but sweeter. Light, round and soft, the baos are served with savory fillings like pork, beef or chicken and palatable, appetizing sauces. Absolute perfection. Kids will love them. 


Lay your head down at the Hampton Inn & Suites right on the Amelia River at this historic harbor front hotel. The colorful boutique style hotel is in the heart of downtown Fernandina Beach with fantastic views and over 50 restaurants and shops within walking distance. Ideal location for teenagers who might want to exercise their freedom with a walk on the pier or a stroll down the street to grab an ice cream. A well-prepared breakfast buffet is included in your stay, another plus for hungry teenagers. 


After a day at Seaside Park enjoying the allure of the Atlantic Ocean, head across the street to The Beach Store and More and get your bike on! Owners Kim and Mike Scott love to share the island hospitality and will get you and your family on bikes to start exploring. Take a ride along Egans Creek Greenway, a protected area of over 300 acres with grass-covered roads perfect for biking and walking. It's a nature lover's delight with lots of local wildlife adorning the Greenway. You may even be lucky enough to find a painted Amelia Island shell from one of the locals! 

Another fun-filled adventurous way to explore the island is on a go-cat boat! Drive your own two-man go-cat boat while a guide (on his boat) leads you through beautiful scenery, wildlife and sea life on some of the most beautiful backwater and marshlands that Amelia Island has to offer on this 2.5 hour tour. This is sure to capture your teenager's adventurous heart! 

History Buffs

Stories beckon from every corner of of historic downtown Fernandina Beach. The enchanting Victorian seaport village was once a stomping ground for pirates, Gilded Age millionaires, bootleggers and shrimpers. Grab a photo with the statue of David Yulee at the foot of Centre Street in front of the historic train depot. Yulee is largely considered to be the Father of Florida statehood.


An eclectic range of independent shops and boutiques dot the downtown landscape. Stroll along Main Street and capture a one-of-a-kind treasure to take home. 


Enjoy some miniature bowling at Duck Pinz. There are no finger holes in the smaller ball and the pins are shorter and lighter than in traditional bowling. It's more difficult to get a strike, so bowlers get three tries. A super fun afternoon excursion to get a good laugh with your teens.

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