The best restaurants in Amelia Island for eating with kids have a great atmosphere, lots of kid-friendly menu items, and an awesome vacation vibe for the whole family.
During our week in Amelia Island, Florida with the kids for our annual beach trip, we had the opportunity to sample some of the best restaurants in the Fernandina area for vacation dinners.
We rented an oceanfront condo for the week and took advantage of the kitchen for cooking our own breakfast and a second lighter meal for either lunch or dinner depending on our schedule for the day.
If you’re renting a beach condo too, don’t miss my beach house meal plan here.
The third meal each day was enjoyed at a restaurant because dining out and sampling the local foods is one of our favorite parts of traveling.
A few restaurants weren’t worth mentioning, but the winners were so good I wanted to share our experience with you.
The Surf is a beach motel and restaurant on Fletcher Avenue that was built in 1957.
It was actually located practically across the street from our beach condo and we drove past it on our way to our adventures for a couple days before giving it a try.
We immediately regretted not going sooner! It was by far the very best dining experience we had during our entire week long trip.
The Surf has an amazing outdoor patio with plenty of shaded seating for sunny days. They host live music and events most weekends.
The ambiance was a huge hit for all four of us during our visit but the food was downright delectable.
Everything was fresh and perfectly prepared but the winning item from our meal was the “Grilled Cheese” which is actually BBQ pulled pork, fried green tomatoes, cheddar cheese on Texas Toast.
It was huge and hearty and could absolutely be shared between two people for dinner.
The Surf, Amelia Island
3199 S Fletcher Ave
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Phone: (904) 261-5711
The Salty Pelican
Our second favorite restaurant in Amelia Island to eat with the kids was right in the hub of downtown Fernandina Beach.
The location for The Salty Pelican is so incredibly convenient. While not directly on the water, it is just across the road from the beach and has outdoor dining with a view.
It came recommended to us by the folks at the Visitor’s Center just across the way on the other side of the restaurant. We were able to walk right over and get the perfect table.
My oldest daughter is currently obsessed with Caesar salads with grilled shrimp on top. It is her favorite dish to order when we go to the beach.
She reported back that the Caesar salad with seasoned shrimp here was the BEST she has ever had and she still dreams about going back!
We always try to encourage our kids to try something new when we dine out on vacation. The kids spotted the Gator Bites on the appetizer menu and begged my husband to get them.
I was quite shocked they were feeling so adventurous but it was a happy surprise to discover just how much we all ended up loving them. They taste a bit like chicken, but chewier. The “pelican sauce” was just spicy enough and perfect with the gator.
If you’re kids are interested in trying gator while you’re in Florida, this might be the perfect spot to go for it.
If your kids aren’t as adventurous as mine were that day, the rest of the menu has tons of options that are super kid-friendly.
The Salty Pelican, Amelia Island
12 N Front St.
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Phone: (904) 277-3811
Brett’s Water Way Cafe
If you’re hoping to get closer to the water for your dining experience, another restaurant with a fantastic location is Brett’s Waterway Cafe.
It is also just across the way from the Visitor’s Center and The Salty Pelican, but is located directly on the water with beautiful views.
We were able to get outdoor seating on the patio for our meal but they do offer indoor dining if you prefer.
The premium location does come with a bit of a premium price. The menu items at Brett’s ran a little higher than other locations where we dined, so we decided to eat family-style and share a few items.
We shared an order of fried green tomatoes and peel and eat shrimp as a starter and both were very delicious.
My husband shared his pulled pork sandwich and fries with one daughter while I split the fish tacos with the other.
The portions were generous enough for us to all leave completely satisfied and it was a fun way to mix and match a few different items from the menu.
Brett’s Waterway Cafe, Amelia Island
1 South Front St.
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Phone: (904) 261-2660
Slider’s Seaside Grill
What is a beach vacation without visiting a fun beachside restaurant with live music?
We ended our vacation with a visit to Slider’s Seaside Grill and couldn’t believe how popular of a spot it was!
We arrived at peak traffic time and were unable to get a seat on the crowded outdoor patio but were able to enjoy a spot inside much more quickly.
To be honest, I think we would have enjoyed ourselves a lot more if we had waited for the outdoor seating. The vacation vibes were just right, inside felt like a bit of a letdown.
By this time in the week, we’d eaten plenty of fish tacos, fish sandwiches, and shrimp of all kinds. The food at Slider’s was very much more of the same.
While not our favorite food-wise, we did enjoy our meal. Service was a bit slow, but they were slammed with visitors at the time.
The good news is, a little noise from your kids shouldn’t be a big deal indoors or out!
My daughter was simply thrilled when we let her order the giant pretzel appetizer as her dinner item that evening. It was vacation, after all.
Sliders Seaside Grill, Amelia Island
1998 South Fletcher Ave.
Amelia Island, FL 32034
Phone: (904) 277-6652