21 things to do in Amelia Island with your dog
So, Amelia Island is on your “sandy bucket list” of beach getaways. And it’s on your dog’s bucket list too! But will there be things to do in Amelia Island for both you and your dog? If you’re wondering what kind of adventures you and your canine companion can enjoy on this barrier island in Florida that welcomes dogs, we’re glad you’re here. We hope our mega list of fun and relaxing things to do in Amelia Island with your dog inspires you!
While we’d read that Amelia Island’s beaches were dog-friendly, we were curious how many other places on the island paid special love and attention to dogs. Would there be dog-friendly restaurants, shopping, activities? With dogs top-of-mind during our stay, we found 21 tail-wagging happy things to do in Amelia Island with your dog.
Things to do in Amelia Island: Outdoor activities
1. Enjoy dog-friendly beaches.
Amelia Island welcomes leashed dogs on the beaches. Many dog owners took their dogs for walks along the beach in the mornings and came back in the evenings with beach chairs to sit and enjoy the ocean breeze with their dogs by their sides. In addition to the ocean views and breeze, there is shelling, dolphin sighting, and bird watching for the humans. For the doggos, just being at the beach provides plenty of mental stimulation. Plus, there’s digging in the sand…which dogs seemed to enjoy too.
2. Take a dog-friendly cruise.
Yes, Amelia Island River Cruises welcomes well behaved, leashed dogs. For pics by cruise travelers, check out #ameliarivercruises on social media.
3. Take your dog for a drive along the roads surrounded by oak trees laced with Spanish moss.
The canopies that the trees made along the roads and walkways topped our list of favorite things about Amelia Island. It was both beautiful and a welcoming respite of shade on a sunny day.
4. Walk your dog on one of the many nature trails.
For most dogs, there’s nothing like getting outside and walking. In addition to the exercise, on-leash walking along Amelia Island’s nature trails is a chance for your dog to enjoy some “scent work” by sniffing out all the new smells. Before you go, please remember to pack plenty of water, dog snacks, and other essentials for happy outings with your dog. Also, as the sign in the photo below warns, be watchful for the creatures who also call Florida home. Happy-Go-Doodle Chloe‘s motto? Safety first and happiness will follow.
5. Bring your binoculars and go bird watching.
If your dog is laid back and patient, you can go bird watching together. According to Amelia Island Travel & Leisure, it’s estimated that there are over 470 bird species in Florida.
6. Walk along the dog-friendly beaches in search of shark teeth.
Yes, there really are fossilized shark teeth hidden among the shells on the beach. As a first-timer, I did find a couple of shark teeth. However, a fellow dog lover more experienced in searching for shark teeth found dozens. He kindly shared the photo (inset below) with me for this blog post, so that you can see what the shark teeth look like.
7. Watch the sun rise over the ocean.
Few things are simpler and more peaceful than watching the sun rise over the ocean. It’s the perfect way to start your day with your dog.
8. Watch the sun set over the riverfront.
At the end of your day, you can watch the sun set over the Amelia Island river. Amelia Island is just two miles across at its widest point, so catching a sunrise over the ocean and a sunset over the water is easily within reach. The historic downtown district of Fernandina offers free parking (yes, it’s true) so you can walk along the cobblestone streets and enjoy sunset views along the Amelia River. It’s a relaxing way to end your day with your dog by your side.
Things to do in Amelia Island: Enjoy some of Amelia Island’s dog-friendly restaurants
Yes, there’s seafood and restaurants and ice cream shops. We couldn’t try them all, but we found a few favorites during our stay…and they are dog-friendly.
9. For seafood and scenic views, visit Brett’s Waterway Cafe.
If you enjoy seafood and scenic views, Brett’s Waterway Cafe was a favorite for us. Is Brett’s dog-friendly? Their slogan displayed on the wall in the photo below sums it up best. Just knowing that the owners are dog lovers made us feel more welcome.
10. For refreshment for you and your pup too, check out London’s Pub & Pups.
What’s a pub named “London’s” doing in Amelia Island, Florida? According to the very kind people we met while visiting London’s Pub & Pups, the owners are true dog lovers. So much so, that they named this indoor/outdoor pub and restaurant after their dog, London. Dog-friendly London’s Pub & Pups offers menu items for both dogs and their people. If you’d like to learn more, check out their Facebook page.
11. Sit under a canopy of shade trees and twinkle lights at Cafe Karibo.
Cafe Karibo offers a charming, natural courtyard setting with shady trees and twinkle lights for dogs and their people.
12. Enjoy a picnic-style atmosphere at dog-friendly Timoti’s.
We’d read that Timoti’s was the restaurant that the Amelia Island locals recommend, so we had to check it out. The outdoor picnic table-style seating is super casual and dog-friendly. Also, if you have little kiddos, they can play in Timoti’s outdoor play area.
Things to do in Amelia Island: Fernandina’s historic district
Looking for a dog-friendly town with a mix of history, charm, unique shops, and beautiful architecture? Amelia Island’s downtown, Fernandina Beach, is a step back in time with cobblestone streets and storefronts that have character. Here are some fun things that we found to do in Fernandina’s historic district with your dog.
13. Take in a little souvenir shopping.
Dog-themed souvenirs? We found them while window shopping. Walk along the cobblestone streets and check out the cute dog-themed T-shirts.
14. Admire the architecture and Victorian-style homes.
If you’re ready for a vacation sans the cookie-cutter chain stores, Fernandina’s it. Take your dog for a walk along the cobblestone-edged streets and enjoy the architecture and Victorian-style homes, many of which are on the National Historic Registry.
15. Live in the moment with your dog.
Dogs teach us how to live in the moment, so take a lesson from your canine companion and just soak up all the sights, scents, and sounds you can.
16. Meet other dogs and dog lovers.
Dogs are great connectors. If you have a dog you already know this. Most of us enjoy the chance to “talk dog” with other dog lovers, share ideas about dog-friendly vacations, and get the inside scoop on other dog-friendly things to do.
Things to do in Amelia Island: Where to stay
From our research, there are many pet-friendly accommodations including hotels, resorts, condos, and VRBOs. If you’re looking for a familiar chain, Hampton Inn Amelia Island welcomes pets as does the Ritz-Carlton and Residence Inn by Marriott. After much Google searching, for this particular trip (our first of what we hope to be many), we chose the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Villas for its 3.5 miles of private beach and beautiful ocean views.
17. Stay at a pet-friendly resort with great views
Trails. Bike rentals. Segway tours. Restaurants. Golfing. Kayaking tours. Omni Amelia Island Villas offers so many activities. Or you can just sit and sip coffee as you watch the sunrise with your dog. Bliss. (For more about Amelia Island Plantation stay tuned. It will be featured in our third article on dog-friendly Amelia Island.)
18. Stay by the sea so your dog can play by the sea.
If your dog prefers condo living, we found these beachfront VRBO retreats during our visit. Through a chance meeting on the beach (stopping to take pictures of their adorable dog Biscuit, :)), we met the family behind two beautiful oceanfront condos—The Sea Turtle and Sea Glass. It was easy to see the love they had for Biscuit, and their enthusiasm for making dogs and dog owners feel at home while staying at their condos.
Below are pictures of their dog-friendly oceanfront condos. If you’d like to learn more, check out these links: Sea Glass Cottage and Sea Turtle Cottage. The units are next door to one another and are located in Turtle Dunes in the Amelia Island Plantation.
Finally, if you’re looking for more information about dog-friendly accommodations for your getaway, check out Bring Fido’s page, Pet-Friendly Hotels in Amelia Island.
Things to do in Amelia Island: Don’t forget the treats and dog supplies
While we were visiting Amelia Island, we kept an eye out for dog-friendly pet stores for those “we forgot to pack the ___” moments.
19. Treat your dog to a doggie bakery item.
Redbones Gourmet Dog Bakery features a bakery case full of puppy treats and also a variety of pet supplies.
20. Stop by the pet store for last-minute items and dog beach supplies.
Did you forget to pack the puppy sunscreen? In addition to Walmart and Publix stores, there is a pet supermarket on Amelia Island. We stopped in for a visit and this pet store had a wide range of dog supplies for anything you might have forgotten to pack for your pooch.
Looking for more things to do in Amelia Island?
If your furry pal is ready for an afternoon nap in the air conditioning, here are some other things to do in Amelia Island that are more “human-friendly” than dog-friendly:
- Go horseback riding on the beach
- Visit the Amelia Island Museum
- Take a bicycle ride along the beach or on the trails
- Try kayaking or paddleboarding
- Enjoy championship golfing
- Go fishing
- Head to Fort Clinch State Park: We checked out the 19th-century fort (see photos below). While it is not dog-friendly, some other areas of the park do allow well-behaved, leashed dogs.
More about Amelia Island…
Amelia Island is a barrier island located just off the coast of northeast Florida in Nassau County. It offers a unique combination of 13 miles of beaches, historical exploration, and an abundance of natural beauty including canopies of Spanish moss-laced trees. Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is about a 30-minute drive from Amelia Island.
We hope we’ve inspired you with this list of things to do in Amelia Island with your dog. Whether relaxing on a dog-friendly beach or watching a sunset together, there is an abundance of joy…for both ends of the leash.
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