When families visit Amelia Island, they create lasting memories. Here, you can experience history, art, food, nature and music in ways that appeal to all ages and delight the senses. Not only is an Amelia Island getaway entertaining, it’s a great value. Many of the island’s hotels, motels, resorts and B&Bs are providing a free night stay to use whenever you’d like. Now is the ideal time to visit charming and affordable Amelia Island!
See: Union Garrison at Fort Clinch State Park
A trip to Fort Clinch State Park is educational fun for kids and intriguing for history buff dads. On the first weekend of every month, living-history interpreters recreate what a soldier’s life was like during the Civil War. Take a glimpse inside the barracks, kitchen, laundry and infirmary. There are artillery demonstrations, medical presentations and soldier drills. After making a journey back in time, enjoy the park’s natural surroundings – beaches, hiking trails and bike paths.
Taste: The 47th Annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival
Seafood lovers rejoice. The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, held April 30-May 2 in historic downtown Fernandina Beach, features 25 food booths with delectable shrimp prepared in every way possible. Bubba Blue would be proud. But there’s more to this event than fried shrimp and shrimp salad. Pirates invade the streets, 275 juried artists and craftsmen display their works and there’s a contest for the best decorated shrimp boat. A Kids Fun Zone includes face painting, pony rides, a rock climbing wall and live entertainment. Don’t miss the Friday night fireworks!
Smell: Salt Marsh Breezes During a Kayak Amelia Tour
Appropriate for beginners, Kayak Amelia offers a guided tour of the Talbot Islands State Park and Timucuan Preserve. There are double kayaks as well as kid-sized kayaks so the entire family can make the trip. The three-hour adventure includes a short instruction on land and mid-trip snack. Along the way, take in the salt-marsh air while learning about the park’s wildlife and history. You might see a dolphin or a manatee!
Hear: Chamber Music Festival
From May 7-30, more than 50 internationally acclaimed classical musicians are performing concerts held in various venues across the island. From the outdoorsy Fort Clinch State Park to the luxurious Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, each setting enhances the spirit of the music. The Chamber Music Festival’s ninth season commemorates the 200th anniversaries of the births of Frederic Chopin and Robert Schumann. The Eroica Trio, Arnold Steinhardt and famed pianist Andre Watts are among the event’s stars.
Touch: Wild Amelia Nature Festival
Celebrating the environment, the fourth annual Wild Amelia Nature Festival is held May 21-23. Experience hands-on encounters with critters, birding walks, nature photography workshops taught by local professionals and stargazing. Learn how to live green at the EcoExpo and enjoy nature-based activities at the Kids Niche. Every year, a local animal is spotlighted. The 2010 honoree is the egret, a beautiful bird which was nearly extinct because its feathers were worth double the price of gold in the early 1900s.
This article is brought to you by Amelia Island Tourist Development Council. For more information about planning an Amelia Island vacation, visit www.ameliaisland.com.