If you want a FUN family vacation, these are the best things to do in Amelia Island with kids. Skip those tour book checklists, these activities will help you actually enjoy your week at the beach.
- First Stop: Welcome Center
- Stroll and Shop
- Spot the Window Shrimp
- Visit the Pier
- Try Gator Bites
- Climb the Fort Clinch State Park Bastion
- Learn about Pirate History
- Bike the Spanish Moss Trails
- Hunt for Shark Teeth
- Play Miniature Golf
- Listen to Live Music at a Beach Bar
- Enjoy an Oceanfront Breakfast
- Swim at the Beach
First Stop: Welcome Center
Visitor Centers are so often bypassed or overlooked at the start of a family vacation, but when they are as cute as the one in Amelia Island, they are absolutely worth a stop.
Conveniently located right downtown in Fernandina Beach, it takes just a minute to walk over to the Welcome Center before you stroll around for shopping or a bite to eat.
Snap a picture with the kids at the David Yulee statue out front and tour the Gilded Age train depot that has been turned into the visitor’s center.
We got some excellent advice on how to spend our week and where to eat in Amelia Island from the ladies inside!
102 Centre St.
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034
Stroll and Shop
The Welcome Center is right at the edge of Centre Street where so many quaint stores and delicious restaurants are within walking distance.
This is a great spot to get the wiggles out and let the kids wear themselves out with a stroll.
We popped in and out of touristy souvenir shops as well as high end boutiques. Any store that wasn’t interesting to the kids often had convenient benches outside for some of us to wait while the others browsed.
Grab an ice cream or treat while you stroll and turn it into an event.
Spot the Window Shrimp
Part of the reason my kids loved window shopping so much is that so many stores had shrimp-themed art decorating the windows.
We had such a great time seeing display after display on that theme.
Visit the Pier
Across the road the other way from the Welcome Center is the waterway pier outside Brett’s Waterway Cafe.
You’ll find all kinds of boats coming and going and a long wooden pier for strolling along the water’s edge.
Try Gator Bites
There is so much amazing seafood to be found throughout the restaurants in Amelia Island but the thing my family still talks about all this time later is our first experience trying gator bites.
Fried alligator in a delicious crispy batter coating and then dunked in a spicy sauce on the side was a huge hit with my whole family. Who knew??
We had that delicious platter at The Salty Pelican but you can read about all our favorite Amelia Island restaurants here.
Climb the Fort Clinch State Park Bastion
This Civil War Era fort is located in Fort Clinch State Park and the perfect destination for a day visit during your trip.
There are plenty of wide open spaces for the kids to stretch their legs and the whole family will enjoy seeing the preserved army fort.
Climb to the top of the bastion wall for amazing views of the ocean. You can read about our Fort Clinch State Park visit here.
Learn about Pirate History
During the 17th and 18th centuries, Amelia Island was a safe haven for famous pirates like Blackbeard and Luis Aury.
The port is among the deepest in the southeastern coast of the United States which allowed pirate galleons to enter even at low tide.
You’ll spot pirate themed photo ops and activities all around Amelia Island so it would be super fun to prepare the kids before you go by reading a few of these pirate books for kids!
Bike the Spanish Moss Trails
Plan ahead and bring your bikes from home or rent bikes for the family while you’re on Amelia Island.
The whole area is super bicycle friendly and it would be a great way to get around town.
That said, I’d love to go back with our bikes just to be able to tour the trails all around the Amelia Island Fort Clinch State Park.
Stunning views of Spanish moss covered live oak trees line the pathways.
Hunt for Shark Teeth
Ask the staff at the Welcome Center while you’re there about how to find shark teeth in Amelia Island and they just may give you a sample tooth.
They directed us to the beach at Fort Clinch State Park as one of the best places to find shark teeth on the island.
So ride your bikes out on those paths or simply drive and visit the Fort for the day and see if you can spot the shark teeth for yourselves!
Play Miniature Golf
We love to rent a beach condo for our family trips so it has been ages since my kids have seen the inside of a fancy hotel.
The Omni Amelia Island Resort is a stunning luxury hotel in Fernandina Beach, FL. The room rate was definitely outside of our family budget for the week, but we learned there is an amazing miniature golf course on site that is open to the public.
We were blown away by the gorgeous setting for the mini golf course and our kids loved having a little peek at the resort during our visit.
You can check pricing and hours at the Omni Resort site here.
Listen to Live Music at a Beach Bar
Our family vacations tend to be on the quiet and relaxing side of things but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy mixing it up with a little live music fun during the trip.
We hunt down fun restaurants with live music to take the kids because it makes the meal so much more fun and we never have to worry about the kids being too noisy.
Sliders Seaside Cafe or The Surf often have live music playing, you can read more about both spots in our dining guide here.
Enjoy an Oceanfront Breakfast
The #1 reason we enjoy heading to the coast for a family beach vacation is . . . the BEACH. Of course it is!
I love to find an ocean front beach condo for us to stay at so we can enjoy our morning coffee and breakfast out on the balcony with ocean views.
If you’re unable to find an oceanfront place to stay, you could always stop for donuts or pack a breakfast picnic and get the kids out early to enjoy the morning sunshine right on the warm sand.
Swim at the Beach
It’s a beach trip. Of COURSE you’re going to spend a ton of time on the beach!
We’ve found that when traveling with kids, our time actually on the beach makes up at least 70% of the time during our vacation.
The other things to do with kids are always nice to have in case the weather isn’t ideal or you’ve had a bit too much sunshine. Mixing things up adds a great sense of variety to your trip.
But at the end of the day, beach trips are always so much more about soaking up the sound of the waves to get you through to next year!