Looking for Amelia Island free activities? Look no further. Amelia Island is a beautiful little beach town on the northeast coast of Florida. Known mainly for it’s golfing, resorts, beaches, and shopping, often the excellent free places in this area are overlooked. But Amelia Island, and Fernandina Beach (a small town known for its shrimping), have much to offer in the way of gorgeous parks and historical sites just waiting to be explored. Here are some of my favorites, starting with those closer to Jacksonville.
1. Kingsley Plantation – FREE
One of my favorite Amelia Island free activities, is to visit the Kingsley Plantation on your way from Jacksonville. The plantation is rich in history. You can tour the grounds for free and see the old plantation house, slave quarters, barn, kitchen house, and gardens. You can see beautiful views of the waterfront here as well. On the weekends, starting in November of 2020, there will be tours of the plantation house. Please call 904.251.3537 to inquire about a tour.
Just before reaching the plantation, you will pass through some of Fort George Island – which has some quiet trails to walk or bike. They have a 4.4 mile paved biking trail and another 3 mile biker friendly wooded trail. You can pick up a map at The Ribault Club. You may also fish from the waterfront with a fishing license.
2. Huguenot Park – $5 per car
Just across the street from the entrance to the Kingsley Plantation and Fort George is my absolute favorite park in all of North Florida. There is something about its quiet, small charm that I have always enjoyed. This park is technically part of the city of Jacksonville park network, although it is far to the northeast of the city. For $5 per car (up to 6 people), you can visit this beach and park. This is a popular spot for fishing and birding. They offer camping for $22+ a night as well and it is worth it!
3. Little Talbot Island – $5 per car
Visit Little Talbot Island for a nice long walk down their 5 mile stretch of undeveloped barrier island. This place is serene and a place to find some peace. The beach is open to fishing and surfing as well. If you enjoy trail riding, they do offer a 3 mile bike trail. The entrance fee is $5 a car.
4. Big Talbot Island – $2 fishing pier, $3 for car
Big Talbot is a good choice if you want to launch a boat or a kayak. You can kayak or boat through the secluded waterways between all the islands. This park also has a 3 mile paved trail for walking or biking. While you are here you can visit famous boneyard beach. At this beach you can view the salt-washed skeletons of cedar and live oak trees that used to grow near the shoreline. An excellent stop for a photographer!
5. George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier – $2 per person
This is one of the most unique spots to fish in Florida. It is a 1 mile section that is only open to pedestrians. The bridge goes over the Nassau Sound (see the map at the bottom of the page for reference). You can fish here for just $2 a person! Fish known to this area are tarpon, jack, and drum.
6. American Beach Museum – $4 Adults $2 Child
Heading farther north towards Amelia Island, you can make a stop at the American Beach Museum. This museum celebrates the triumph over segregation and other forms of racial discrimination in Florida. This museum depicts the story behind American Beach, a historically African American beach.
7. Main Beach Park – FREE
Continuing up A1A into Fernandina beach, you will find several more free and low cost places to stop. These stops are a little different than the parks, as Fernandina is a small beach town with many shops and restaurants. The first stop is main beach, a popular spot for tourists. If you want to access the beach you can go here, but be aware of crowds on the weekends and during the spring and summer. Down the street from the beach there is also a great playground for kids called pirate playground.
8. Fernandina Beach Riverfront Area
When you head into Fernandina be sure to stop by the area over by the Amelia River. There you can visit the Welcome Center & free shrimping museum. Learn about ship building and net making and also about the families that brought shrimping to the area. On a Friday, you can stop by the Amelia Island Museum of Natural History. It is free on Fridays from 5-6pm.
If your thirst for history isn’t quenched yet, you can go to the Maritime Museum. View exhibits about pirates, Spanish treasures, and tons of Navy memorabilia. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for kids.
9. Fort Clinch State Park – $6 per car
At the northern tip of Fernandina you will find a huge state park called Fort Clinch. History buffs and natures lovers will both equally enjoy this park. Do not skip it!
You can view the grounds of an old Fort from the civil war. Visitors can see barracks, guard rooms, a prison, hospitals, kitchens, and a blacksmith shop. The bonus is that they have re-entacters dressed in time-period appropriate attire to help guide you and answer questions about the fort. On the first weekend of the month, you can her them fire off the cannons!
For the nature enthusiasts, there is a 6 mile off road trail and several shorter hiking trails. The beach has hard packed sand which is great for those wanting to take a walk. For the bikers, you can ride several miles of beach with a fat tire bike. There is also a 3 mile paved cycling trail.
Hope you will enjoy your next trip to Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach! If you are looking for more, feel free to visit our page on Jacksonville, Fl attractions!