Top 5 Things to Do on Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach

A sudden thunderous boom prompts cheers from ear-covering shrimp fans, clamoring for trinkets and candy. A rolling pirate ship decked out in shrimp décor punishes the air with real cannon shots. How can one not love a boisterous celebration of these other worldly looking crustaceans?

Beginning in 1964 as a celebration of the local shrimping industry, players, craftsman, captains & laborers, The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival has morphed and grown into an event that attracts over 100,000 visitors. It is undoubtedly the biggest yearly event on the quaint, seaside village.

For three consecutive days, there’s a full-on assault of the taste buds. Shrimp rolls, buffalo shrimp wraps, shrimp gyros, shrimp deviled eggs, shrimp burgers, shrimp & grits, shrimp low country boil and well, just watch this clip from Forrest Gump and you’ll understand the possibilities.

The combination of a pristine setting, incredibly fun schedule of events and amazing culinary masterpieces makes this an absolute do not miss event. Be sure to attend the Pirate Parade which kicks off the festival. Grab a spot near the road and be witness to an old fashioned bevy of local high school marching bands, children’s gymnastics and martial arts clubs, dancing seniors from Osprey Village, the local retirement community, Shriners cars, loud revving motors, and of course the firing cannon.

Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach are home to many festivals, activities, superb beaches and incredible restaurants. There’s so much to do, which is why we’ve taken a small slice of the island life and narrowed it down to 5 do-not-miss events.

Top 5 events on Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach

1. The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

That’s a given considering all the accolades we’ve given it so far. We can easily make multiple top five lists based solely on the Shrimp Festival.
The Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival

2. Amelia Island Jazz Festival

The mastermind behind an always incredible lineup of musicians, artists, and all things jazz is Les DeMerle, who himself is an accomplished professional musician. The festival is approaching its 20th year and quickly becoming one of the absolutes in the world of jazz. With a week-long schedule and locations all over the island, it’s a chance for exploration of not only wonderful jazz, but also the island’s unique venues.
Amelia Island Jazz Festival

3. Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Interested in an incredible Automobile Collector show, located on a golf course with an ocean view at The Golf Club of Amelia Island? Want to be up close to rare and vintage vehicles such as a Duesenberg, Packard, Rolls Royce, Porsche? There’s even a RM SOTHEBY’S AUCTION and Porsche DRIVING EXPERIENCE. It’s a three-day festival that will remove any doubt that automobiles are simply driving machines. Tickets to Amelia Island’s Concours d’Elegance can be found here.
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

4. Pétanque America Open

This is the largest Pétanque event in the Americas. If you’re not familiar with Pétanque, read a little bit about it here, and then head on over to the tournament. Enjoy delicious food, wine and music, all while watching other people stress over making strategic and masterful throws. Here you’ll find a How To Guide.
Pétanque America Open

5. Dickens on Centre

Inspired by Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol, downtown Fernandina recreates life as is was told through the classic. A holiday festival with charming festivities, seasonal goodies, and even some mischief with the Dickens after Dark experience for those 21 and over.
Dickens on Centre

Honorable Mention: Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch is a Civil-War era fortress complete with ocean views, good fishing holes and re-enactments on the first weekend of the month. It’s truly an island treasure.