Amelia Island offers unique experiences for all kinds of groups, including the well-traveled, high-achieving and multi-generational. Here are eight wonders to explore on and near Amelia, on land and sea.
White Oak, a 13,000-acre conservation facility located half an hour from Amelia Island, is home to more than 35 species including rhino, giraffe, okapi and cheetah. The animals roam freely in spacious natural enclosures and can be viewed on a safari-like tour hosted by wildlife and conservation experts.
Tour historic Gilman Hall, where Al Capone’s bar, a bowling alley and a collection of performing arts memorabilia coexist. See the dance studio built for Mikhail Baryshnikov and enjoy cocktails by the pool overlooking the St. Mary’s River as the sun sets. This private sanctuary, open by reservation only, has hosted global policy makers and celebrities.
Amelia Island is one of the few places where you can saddle up and ride on the beach and experience the pristine beauty of these shores from a unique perspective, whether you are new in the saddle or a seasoned rider. Happy Trails Walking Horses, Kelly Seahorse Ranch and Ride the Beaches of Amelia Island all work with groups and lead guided rides.
Fort Clinch State Park boasts a Civil War-era fortress overlooking the Cumberland Sound. The park sprawls across more than 1,400 acres on the island’s northern tip. The scenery is beautiful with panoramic waterfront views, extensive sand dunes, ancient, moss-covered oak trees within the lush maritime forest. The fort itself is recognized as one of the “most well-preserved 19th-century forts in America” and it can also be booked as a stunning setting for a private event.
If surfing is on your bucket list, Surf Asylum knows the ocean and they know how to help check it off. Owners Betsy and David Harris team with groups to get them out in the water for a surfing or SUP lesson tailored to ages, abilities and personalities, infused with a love of the area born out of two decades of surfing this part of the Florida coastline.
Departing from the harbor at the foot of Centre Street, a charter with Windward Sailing takes your group on a completely customized excursion—and, since their seasoned captains are also sailing educators who teach certification courses, they will let you try your hand at the wheel if you feel inspired. A two-hour sail in the early evening gets you back just in time to see the sunset and arrive at your dinner reservations at one of downtown’s eclectic and excellent restaurants.
Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga with Kayak Amelia. Serenity is especially close when you are moving gently through poses on a (tethered and stable) paddleboard in the marsh with birds as your soundtrack and the softly swaying grasses as your backdrop. Your team can also go on a meditative guided paddle in the moonlight as the weather and tides allow (and you can do a combination of kayaks and SUPs.)
Captain Terry Lacoss is the elder half of one of the country’s most successful father/son fishing teams, and Amelia Angler Outfitters has been out on the water since 1978. A favorite activity of guests at Amelia Island’s luxury resorts, options for custom fishing charters include deep sea, backwater, fly and inshore fishing.
Team building gets especially interesting when it takes place in 25-foot Voyageur “War Canoes” from Big Canoe Fun, likely a new experience even for those who have canoed or kayaked before. Canoeing with a group—as part of a team—is an excellent opportunity to learn to work together in a fun, low-stress environment while experiencing nature. For larger groups, two Big Canoes provides an opportunity for some friendly competition.
Located just off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island is easy to reach, but hard to forget. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife and pristine waters, this barrier island has long been a beloved destination for visitors and residents alike.
Visit www.ameliaisland.com for more information.