Beyond Jacksonville: Visiting Amelia Island

By: Carrie McLaren

October 26, 2015

Located an hour north of Downtown Jacksonville, historic Amelia Island offers a relaxing escape from the hectic pace of everyday life. From historic spots like Fort Clinch State Park to an array of boutique shopping along Centre Street and crisp, clean beaches, it’s easy to see why so many locals recommend visiting Amelia Island from Jacksonville.

Amelia Island shopping

Take a stroll down historic Centre Street to find the perfect souvenir and latest fashions. Bijoux Amelia features accessories for men and women, alongside beach attire and gifts. Browse the shelves at The Book Loft on Centre Street and you’ll find rare reads alongside a large section of Florida and Georgia history books. At two storeys, this shop is a book lover’s dream come true.

For a touch of southern hospitality, stop by the family-owned Cinnamon Bear Country Store for ice cream, sample homemade jellies and preserves and let the kids pick out a fun gift to remember their visit. With a recipe that dates back to 1887, stop in at Fernandina’s Fantastic Fudge to sample chocolates made from a copper kettle and marble slab. The handmade treats are favourites of locals and visitors alike.

Visiting Amelia Island
Stroll down Centre Street surrounded by boutique shops and southern eats © Amelia Island Tourist Development Council

Take a bite of Southern cuisine


For a true taste of southern cuisine, make a reservation at 29 South. Chef Scotty Schwartz’s neighbourhood bistro features dishes such as fried green tomatoes, a sweet tea brined pork chop and the popular lobster corn dog. The restaurant prides itself on using natural and organic products with many ingredients coming from the on-site garden.

For a unique dining experience, don’t miss trying the alligator ribs at Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen. Chef Kenny Gilbert was a fan favourite on the 2010 season of Bravo TV’s Top Chef and has returned to Northeast Florida where he began his culinary career. In addition to the alligator ribs, be sure to try Chef’s southern barbecue featuring grilled Andouille sausage, turkey, pork and brisket sandwiches.

Visiting Amelia Island
Don’t miss trying Chef Kenny Gilbert’s alligator ribs © Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen

Explore Amelia Island


For a unique look at the barrier island, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through town and experience the charm of Amelia Island. Combine the beaches, plentiful shops and southern eats and it is easy to see why travellers keep coming back.


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Are you planning on visiting Amelia Island? Have you spent time there in the past? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Written by Carrie McLaren


Carrie McLaren

When she’s not playing dress-up with her children or feeding her love of social media, Carrie McLaren can be found cheering on her favorite sports teams or exploring the state with her family. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Carrie was a dancer for sixteen years and also has a special love for the performing arts.You can follow her adventures online at and on Twitter at @CarrieMcLaren.

Categories: Our Places