Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Amelia River, and fronted by 13 miles of pristine beaches, this quiet and relaxing barrier island is famous in the travel industry for nature preserves, challenging golf courses, dining and shopping opportunities, waterfront activities, and lodging choices that fit any family's budget.
Amelia Island has a truly unique and fascinating history as it's the only town in the United States to operate under eight different flags, including the French, Spanish, English, Patriots, Green Cross, Mexican, Confederacy and U.S.
The island's maritime heritage is due in large part to its shrimp industry, and the natural deep harbor on the north end of the island, which at one time provided easy access and shelter for pirates and smugglers.
Amelia Island and its quaint seaport village of Fernandina Beach are characterized by their colorful past, a 4,000 year history full of tales and treasures that live on today.
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- The island is home to Northeast Florida's oldest continuously operating bar, the Palace Saloon, and to Florida's oldest operating hotel, the Florida House Inn.
- On the north end of the island, visitors can explore Old Town, the last Spanish Town in the Western Hemisphere in the early 1800's. It was the original encampment of the Timucuan Indians, and at one time featured the Spanish Fort San Carlos. In 2011, Old Town will celebrate its 200 year anniversary.
- In 1996, the first Amelia Island Concourse d'Elegance was held on The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island property. Today, this annual event draws huge crowds, as the show features one of the most extensive displays of classic automobiles assembled in one place.
- Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival
Once a year, the island hosts the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival (the world's largest) to celebrate that industry's impact on the island. Activities include live music, arts and crafts, and boatloads of fresh shrimp and seafood.
This annual celebration begins the first weekend in May each year, and Thursday and Friday typically feature a Pirate Parade down Centre Street, a Downtown Merchant's Sidewalk Sale, and the colorful invasion of pirates, topped by evening fireworks.
On Saturday and Sunday nearly 300 artists and craftsmen display their creations in a Fine Arts & Crafts Show in the downtown area. In addition, 25 food booths offer a variety of seafood and other delicacies. Family-friendly fun includes a Kids Korner, 5K Run, Youth Run, and an Antiques and Collectibles Show.
- Amelia Island Jazz Festival
The Amelia Island Jazz Festival provides a rich, diverse cultural offering to the Amelia Island area by exposing thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds to the sounds, excitement and vitality of great jazz. The Festival presents world-class jazz in many styles, including swing, bebop, Dixieland, big band, Latin, and contemporary.
During the week-long festival, held in October each year, music is performed by jazz greats as well as fresh, up-and-coming young talent. Performances are staged in several venues around Amelia Island, including the beautiful courtyard of St. Peter's Episcopal Church. The Amelia Island Jazz Festival helps preserve the American art form Jazz by increasing the exposure and awareness of the music genre to the general public.
- Fort Clinch State Park
Fort Clinch is one of the most well-preserved 19th century forts in the country. Although no battles were fought here, it was garrisoned during both the Civil and Spanish-American wars.
Daily tours with period reenactors depicting garrison life bring the fort to life for visitors. Hikers and bicyclists can enjoy a six-mile trail through the park. Self-guided nature trails provide opportunities to learn about and observe native plants and wildlife. A full-facility campground and a youth camping area provide overnight accommodations.
Fort Clinch, Amelia Island
Amelia Island Sunrise
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