With an appealing mix of Southern charm and classic Florida beach culture, Amelia Island — in the northernmost reaches of the Sunshine State and just a short drive from Jacksonville — is ideal for a romantic weekend away.
The East Coast barrier island offers 13 miles of unspoiled beach to explore and atmospheric seafood restaurants where you clink glasses right by the water. If you love exploring by bicycle, this is among the very best places in Florida to pedal around.
Read on to discover where to make the most of a romantic getaway to Amelia Island.
Plan a Spa Date
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island is fronted by rolling dunes and ocean waves on a property surrounded by tidal marshes and moss-draped Spanish oak trees — a natural playground if ever there was one, in other words. When you’re ready for some indoor relaxation, the spa here, aglow with pink Himalayan salt lamps, is one of Florida’s finest.
The ultimate splurge for couples is the Wrap to Remember. It’s a decadent, 150-minute service in the couples treatment suite that includes a bath, full-body exfoliations, scalp massages and full-body massages on a special massage table made for two.
Add a complimentary bottle of Champagne to the mix, and it’s a celebration for your senses, indeed. Afterward, retire to the coed relaxation area or go for a dip in the spa’s adults-only heated outdoor pool.
Take a Sunset Horseback Ride on the Beach
The firm sands and seclusion of the beaches on Amelia Island make them ideal for exploring by horseback, and this is one of the few Florida beaches where you can saddle up side by side.
Experienced and newbie riders alike will find something to love during beach rides with Amelia Island Horseback Riding. If you want to gallop or canter, you’ll get your chance. But it’s just as fun to enter the shallow water with the horses, most of whom are rescue animals, for a playful splash. For added romance, request a sunrise or sunset ride.
Go Exploring on Two Wheels
Pack your beach towel, water and sunscreen for a day of exploring some of the 40 miles of diverse biking trails on Amelia Island.
From scenic coastal paths, where you’ll barely exert any effort to pedal, to winding mountain bike trails through forested Fort Clinch State Park (on the island’s northern tip) and the 13 miles of packed-sand beckoning you to the beach for a low-tide ride, you’ll be in two-wheeled heaven here.
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island rents beach-cruiser bikes complete with locks, helmets and baskets, and you can also rent bikes onsite at Fort Clinch State Park.
Florida Seafood with a View
Most tables have a water view at the casual but romantic Brett’s Waterway Cafe, located in the small seaside town of Fernandina Beach just north of Amelia Island. The restaurant overlooks Fernandina Harbor and a marina bobbing with boats on the Amelia River, and the setting is particularly romantic in the evenings.
The seafood on the menu is caught locally. There’s always shrimp from nearby Brunswick, Georgia, and you’ll usually find cobia, grouper and mahi-mahi dishes offered, too. Go classic with shrimp and grits or opt for a taste of everything with the low country boil.