Exploring Florida’s Amelia Island by Campervan
By Dawn S
A string of barrier islands dot the Florida and Georgia Atlantic coastlines. We had a fun getaway weekend by campervan on Florida’s most northern one, Amelia Island. This small, historic island has a lot to see; beautiful beaches, tidal river and marshland, quaint Victorian homes, upscale resorts, and once a year…hundreds of unique, collectible, automobiles. It’s just 5.5 hours from Escape’s Atlanta depot and 6 hours from Escape’s Miami depot.
Concours d’Elegance Car Show
For our anniversary last fall, I had surprised John with tickets to the Prestigious Concours d’Elegance car show, usually held in March at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. He watched some TV shows about classic cars and had always wanted to attend. The weekend finally arrived. We took the scenic route, and drove along the coast on A1A from Ormond Beach, North to St Augustine, before jumping back on the interstate around Jacksonville, then headed to the most Northeastern corner of the state.
The four day Concours d’Elegance event contained a schedule full of seminars, special dinners and brunches, and an auction by RM Sotheby’s. We had tickets to the main event on Sunday. The show field contained a select group of historical cars, and of course the presentation of awards. We also attended the free “Cars & Coffee” show. We strolled through vintage, exotic, and collectible cars and motorcycles displayed on the fairways of The Golf Club at Amelia Island. There were food stalls and vendors. The intermittent rain that weekend caused a few changes in the schedule, but we had mostly sunshine and a cool breeze as we enjoyed seeing and learning about the different cars. John even bumped into one of his favorite car racing celebrities (literally)!
Sunset and Sunrise
We explored the roads around Amelia Island, found a lighthouse, and had dinner in the historic downtown area. We walked across the railroad track to the harbor afterward to enjoy a brilliant orange sunset over the river. We set our alarm for early the next morning to catch the sunrise at Fernandina Beach on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island. It was interesting to see the heavy equipment on the move before daybreak, working to repair the beach erosion after the recent hurricanes. I thought the cigarette butt receptacle was cute, discouraging littering on the beach by voting for the Florida Gators or Georgia Bulldogs. The beach was wide and uncrowded. There were a few shells, and sandpipers running away from the breaking waves. We watched as low-flying pelicans plunged into the water.
Hidden Gem: Fort Clinch State Park
We camped at Fort Clinch State Park. What a treasure this turned out to be! There are two full-service campgrounds, one in a thick canopy of moss-covered oaks, and another one near the dunes and ocean beach. But the real gem at this park is the fort. This is an intact, furnished fort that you can tour and explore on your own. We climbed the towers, walked atop and inside the thick walls, and explored the many furnished rooms with relics from the civil war era. Seasonally there is also a schedule of civil war re-enactments and guided tours. This is an interesting place to bring the entire family.