Though Amelia Island has a long history dating back to the country's founding, it first became known as a tourist destination in the 1800s. Thousands of New Yorkers came to Fernandina Beach in the summer aboard the Mallory Steamship Line. Among those visitors were esteemed families such as the Vanderbilts, Carnegies and DuPonts, who flocked to the sunny shores of the Atlantic Ocean and the charming Victorian seaport. In fact, in 1896, American Resorts magazine named Amelia Island "The Queen of Summer Resorts." When Henry Flagler built his railroad and his resorts in St. Augustine, Palm Beach and Key West, modern tourist developments bypassed Amelia Island, preserving its Victorian charm and giving the island a timeless allure today. Check out these recommendations below for where to stay on Amelia Island. (Note: Rates may be higher in peak season or during holidays.)
1. Omni Amelia Island Plantation
This luxury resort is a golfer's paradise with an oceanfront course that meanders right above the dune line. The property also features a full-service spa and salon, fitness center with indoor heated lap pool, onsite shopping, tennis and both casual and upscale dining options. 39 Beach Lagoon Road; From $299.
2. Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
This beautiful property gives honeymooners, business travelers and families a classic beach vacation with plenty of room to breathe in the ocean air and enjoy nature's surroundings. Guests can enjoy beautiful common areas, a kids club, onsite golf course, fitness center, full-service spa and oceanfront pool. Also on property is the highly acclaimed, AAA five-diamond restaurant Salt. 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, From $399.
3. Fort Clinch State Park
If you prefer a setting to get up close to nature, Fort Clinch State Park offers gorgeous campsites near the ocean. Amenities include a fishing pier, a six-mile hiking and cycling trail, a historic fort with daily tours and a full-facility campground. 2601 Atlantic Ave., $26/night for a tent or up to a 40-foot RV.
4. Elizabeth Pointe Lodge
This gorgeous, oceanfront inn has been rated the No. 1 spot in Florida for honeymoons. Guests can enjoy sweeping ocean views and amazing amenities, while just being a short bike ride from downtown Fernandina Beach for shopping, dining and nightlife. All rooms at the Elizabeth Pointe Lodge come with a complimentary breakfast looking over the ocean, a wine hour, beach chairs and umbrellas, morning newspaper and parking. 98 S. Fletcher Ave.; From $240 for a queen room and up to $495/night for a cottage.
5. The Fairbanks House
Step back in time to the Victorian era at this lovely bed and breakfast right in the heart of Fernandina Beach, just a few blocks from Centre Street. Enjoy complimentary bikes, beach equipment, games and reading materials along with a mouth-watering breakfast of bananas-foster Belgian waffles and cinnamon-orange-pecan French toast with caramel. 227 S. 7th St.; from $185 to a standard room to $450 for a suite.
6. Private Home Rentals
Many vacationers to Amelia Island choose to rent a condo or beach house for a longer stay with plenty of room for an extended family. The Amelia Island Convention & Visitors Bureau provides a list of preferred vendors, or you can visit Vacation Rentals By Owner where you'll find hundreds of options at competitive prices. Both sites allow you to search by amenities, whether it's pet-friendly, on the ocean or has a pool.