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36 hours on Amelia Island

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle, Amelia Island is the place to go.  With over 40 public beaches, state parks, and an island full of history, this hidden gem doesn’t feel like any other.  You can easily sneak away for the weekend, spend 36 hours here and return home feeling refreshed and renewed.

Amelia Island is located just north of Jacksonville and is a bit off the beaten path, so it is not overrun by thousands of tourists.  Fernandina Beach historic district (on Amelia Island) boasts some Victorian architecture and over 400 historic structures that are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Where to Stay in Amelia Island

We stayed at the Amelia Schoolhouse Inn, which was originally built as the first school on Amelia Island in 1886.  The school closed down and then the building was restored and reopened as the Schoolhouse Inn in 2017.  This boutique hotel has 17 rooms, a pool, a courtyard with putting green and a bar.  The bar is called “The Principal’s Office” that gives a unique historic flair to their cocktails.  The Schoolhouse Inn is located in a prime location, where you are within walking distance to over 30 restaurants and shopping.


The rooms are decorated in a schoolhouse theme and are very cute!  The rooms are well appointed to include cozy robes and plush beds.

Amelia Schoolhouse Inn Location:
914 Atlantic Ave
Fernandina Beach, FL

Amelia Island Weekend Guide


We drove down from Georgia Friday afternoon. We arrived to the Amelia Schoolhouse Inn and were greeted with such Southern Hospitality. The “innkeeper” lives on property and as soon as we checked in, she showed us to our room and made sure everything was perfect for us.

We put our bags away and headed directly to the Principal’s Office for a snack and drinks before we headed to our dinner reservations. I had two Principal’s Ritas and my hubby had two Rum Punches. These weren’t your ordinary drinks though, they are well thought out and much care was taken in preparation. Make sure you watch when they make your drink, you might see a flame and smoke involved in the preparation!

For dinner, we headed to Burlingame Restaurant. They realize dining out is more than just the food on your plate. They focus on the whole dining experience. I had the steak and frites and my husband had the Red Snapper. My husband hates eating anything related to rice out (he lived in Japan) and is a Puerto Rican native, so he knows his Red Snapper. They won him over though with the deliciousness and perfect preparation of everything. My steak and frites was delicious and was presented perfectly. I had a Lovely Rita at Burlingame and it was fabulous as well!


Burlingame Restaurant Location:
20 South 5th St
Fernandina Beach, FL

Sunset at Fernandina Harbor Marina

When we walked out of dinner, we saw the sun starting to set as we walked down Atlantic Avenue in downtown Fernandina. The sun as it peaked through the old oaks covered in Spanish Moss was an irresistible sight. We weren’t really sure where we were headed as we headed towards the mesmerizing sunshine, but the road ends at the marina where you can watch a fabulous sunset every evening.

Fernandina Harbor Marina Location:
3 S Front St
Fernandina Beach, FL


Big Talbot Island State Park

While Big Talbot Island State Park is not on Amelia Island, it is a short drive and in my opinion worth it to visit. Big Talbot Island State Park is primarily a natural preserve providing a premier location for nature study, bird-watching and photography. Bird watching and nature photography are some of my absolute favorite things, so we spent the morning exploring here. The Boneyard Beach at the park had very few people and it was a very peaceful morning of exploration and photography. Boneyard Beach is a mile long beach littered with bleached skeletons of oaks that have tumbled on the beach through erosion. To me, it compares to Driftwood Beach on Jekyll Island in Georgia. The Boneyard Beach is much less crowded though and much easier to explore and photograph freely.

Big Talbot State Park Location:
A1A North
Jacksonville, FL

Wave crashing and Beach laying

After we hiked almost 3 miles at the Boneyard, we headed to splash in the waves on Amelia Island. We headed to Main Beach Park. The beach had quite a bit of people, but plenty of room to social distance and enjoy ourselves. We enjoyed the water and a little laying in the sun. This beach has nearby rentals, restaurants, restrooms, pavilions, volleyball nets, and even lifeguards.

Main Beach Park Location:
32 N Fletcher Ave
Fernandina Beach Fl

We were ready for some drinks and a late lunch, so we headed to Timoti’s Seafood Shak for a light lunch. They are a casual dining establishment, but are full of fresh and flavorful seafood.

Timoti’s Location:
21 N 3rd St
Fernandina Beach, FL

Due to social distancing and limited seating at Timoti’s, we took our sandwich to-go and ate back at the Schoolhouse Inn. We split a grouper sandwich and it was absolutely delicious. Although the Principals Office was not officially open, they were able to serve us wine to go with our lunch. After we finished lunch, we lounged by the pool until it was time to get ready for dinner.

Dinner at Espana

Espana Restuarant and Tapas specializes in traditional flavors from Spain & Portugal. They are located in historic downtown Fernandina Beach. Choose to dine in our cozy main dining room, enclosed patio dining room or in our lush outdoor garden. We ordered four tapas (octopus, potatoes, pork belly (special) and duck empanadas (special)) and dessert (cheesecake with raspberry sauce) and of course some sangria.

Espana Location:
22 S. 4th Street
Fernandina Beach, FL

Walking tour of Fernandina Beach

After dinner, we walked around enjoying the shops and historic sites. There are boutiques and antique stores everywhere with so much to see.

The macarons at Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop were very fresh and delicious! This bake shop is right next to Timoti’s so I had scoped it out earlier in the day when we were nearby.

Nana Teresa’s Bake Shop Location:
13 N. 3rd St
Fernandina Beach, FL 

Sunset! Did you say sunset?

Another night, another sunset. Today, we didn’t make it to the Harbor as early as Friday, so we caught the end of the sunrise with more pinks and purples in the sky.

Today was absolutely filled with a ton of food and drinks, so we headed back to the room to relax with our full bellies. Now for a good nights rest before our Sunday explorations.


We woke up early and headed to get breakfast. Hopped in the convertible and were headed to a breakfast spot when we spotted a corner Cuban restaurant called Hola Cuban Cafe and detoured. We had cheese pastelitos and pork empanadas. They had great cafecitos too! It was a perfect taste of the Caribbean.

Hola Cuban Cafe Location:
31 S 5th St
Fernandina Beach, FL

Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch State Park is located right in Fernandina Beach. The historic fort is only one aspect of this diverse 1,400-acre park. Maritime hammocks with massive arching live oaks provide a striking backdrop for hiking and biking on the park’s many trails. You can also view the lighthouse at Egan’s Creek Scenic View.

Ft Clinch State Park Location:
2601 Atlantic Ave.
Fernandina Beach FL

Pier on Fernandina Beach

We had heard from locals, that we needed to check out the pier on the beach, but we had to do a little hunting to find it, as it isn’t very advertised. The closest beach access to the pier is Beach access 33, but the closest beach access with parking is Beach access 35. It is a wooden pier that is among one of the most photographed spots on the island, so of course, I had to check it out. This end of the beach had very few people, but a storm was rolling in. We wandered the beach, watching the birds and getting our feet wet before we headed back home.

This weekend was very refreshing and relaxing packed with a ton of tasty food and drinks. We would definitely recommend Amelia Island for a laid back food inspired weekend!




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