JOURNEYS

A Food-First Itinerary for Amelia Island and St. Augustine

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AVILES STREET IN ST. AUGUSTINE

Northeast Florida’s Spanish history and its flair for Southern barbecue combine in the seaside towns of St. Augustine and Amelia Island to make this region one of the most delicious culinary destinations anywhere. Both cities have locally owned, tried-and-true staples that you can’t miss. And restaurants here focus on homegrown seafood specialties as well as international cuisine, so you can enjoy bao buns for lunch and fried green tomatoes at dinner.

Trip Designer

VISIT FLORIDA

VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation, serves as Florida's official source for travel planning to visitors across the globe. Discover how the distinctive regions of the state, filled with natural beauty, fascinating culture and history, and delicious cuisine, offer destinations for all types of travelers.

Trip Highlight

The Floridian

At The Floridian in St. Augustine, creative cocktails made with locally distilled gin accompany a seasonal menu of ingredients designed to elevate traditional Southern cooking. Florida shrimp feature in many of the appetizers and entrees alongside classics like fried green tomatoes. Hearty yet healthy bowls and salads with your choice of protein mean that vegetarian options here are much more than an afterthought.
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MAKING FRESH PASTA AT MATTHEW’S

DAY 1Arrive in Jacksonville

Check in for one night at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront (or the off-the-beaten-path Club Continental) to enjoy the farm-to-table approach of Matthew’s, a fine-dining standard that’s been beloved in Jacksonville for over 25 years. The pasta at the restaurant has been handmade from scratch for decades, and their Pasta Radiatori combines Wagyu beef Bolognese with truffle oil and shaved parmesan in a decadent entree. Make time for a visit to the Brumos Collection to discover the fascinating history, technology, and cultural influence behind the world’s most popular automobiles.
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DAYTONA BEACH PIER

DAY 2Amelia Island

For breakfast, check out Jacksonville’s unassuming Secret Garden Cafe for a hearty, Southern-style start to your day. The drive to Amelia Island is about 45 minutes. You’ll check into the Addison on Amelia Island, a bed-and-breakfast with 14 charming rooms on Fernandina Beach. Most importantly, it puts you steps away from some of the island’s best dining. (For something more remote and a beachfront stay in style, go to The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island.)

After lunch, get to know the island better by taking a trolley tour through the historic downtown. Or get out on the water for a river cruise to learn about the region’s historic shrimping industry. You’ll likely spot dolphins and wild horses along the way. When you’re ready for an afternoon snack, Asian street food restaurant Wicked Bao has small bites like crispy rice tots or fried shrimp bao buns.

As the complimentary happy hour at the Addison melts into dinnertime, celebrate the island’s Spanish heritage with paella (made in paella pans imported from Spain) and homemade sangria from España Restaurant.
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GOLFING ON AMELIA ISLAND

DAY 3Amelia Island food and outdoor activities

In the morning, enjoy the breakfast at your hotel made with locally sourced ingredients, and complemented with homemade granola and organic coffee. You’ll want the fuel if you’re a golfer; Amelia Island is a great place to hit the links. The Golf Club at Northampton, designed by Arnold Palmer, is a Scottish-links-style course with a Florida feel – water on every hole and frequent gator sightings. Not a golfer? Spend a morning by the water. With 13 miles of public beaches, Amelia Island has room to spread out by the sea whether you want to go stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking or simply lounge on the sand.

Treat yourself to lunch at The Happy Tomato Courtyard Cafe & BBQ. Enjoy a hearty salad, all varieties of sandwiches, or a hefty plate of barbecue ribs and chicken along with your choice of sides. Take advantage of The Addison’s complimentary bikes to explore the vast network of paths on the island, like Egans Creek Greenway and the Amelia River-to-Sea Trail. Or bike from the hotel to Fort Clinch State Park where you can stop at the lighthouse and 19th-century fort.

Dinner at Le Clos tonight will round out your Amelia Island culinary adventure. Traditional Provençal fare is served in a cozy cottage in Fernandina’s Historic District. Chef and owner Katherine Ewing has an impressive list of credentials, including Le Cordon Bleu degrees in cuisine and pastry and training from the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Her “De Ma Mere Meatloaf” is a must-try.
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SHRIMP AND GRITS AT CATCH 27

Day 4St. Augustine

Say farewell to Amelia Island and head south to St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city and, as it happens, a diner’s nirvana. Start by checking into the conveniently located Casa Monica Resort & Spa, housed in an 1888 building in St. Augustine’s Historic District. Pop by the Raintree Restaurant, in a restored 1879 Colonial Victorian home in the neighborhood. Venture from here to downtown St. Augustine to enjoy your first day by walking its narrow streets and alleys and pedestrian-only thoroughfares full of food, drink, and shopping options.

Get to know the coastline with St. Augustine Ecotours by learning from Captain Nick about the island’s maritime history. Kingfish Grill, located beside the docks of the Camachee Cove Yachts Harbor, will satisfy your seafood cravings with conch fritters and clam chowder, sushi, and crab cakes. Alternatively, The Reef is another great option for waterside seafood with the catch of the day cooked exactly how you like it.

Overwhelmed by the food options? Let a local lead the way. The Tasting Tours offer a range of experiences. Walking tours, “rolling tours” with a chauffeur, and even horse-drawn carriage tours are available to help you explore the city’s food and drink scene.

Visit Catch 27 for dinner to indulge in a menu full of seasonal, local ingredients. The restaurant has fish, shrimp, and clams delivered fresh daily for dishes like shrimp and grits and blackened fish tacos. If you’re feeling brave, take an after-dinner Ghost Tour where you’ll learn about the 450-year-plus history of St. Augustine and get to know many of its former residents.
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THE ST. AUGUSTINE LIGHTHOUSE

DAY 5More St. Augustine eats and adventures

Head out on the water first thing for an inshore excursion with Drum Man Fishing Charters to catch tarpon, black drum, redfish, trout, and flounder. When you’re ready for lunch, visit Cafe Alcazar to dine inside a restaurant originally built as an indoor swimming pool.

After lunch, climb the steps to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse, grab a coffee from the Tin Pickle Gedunk (snack bar), and learn about the region’s maritime history in the museum.

After a long day, wind down at the St. Augustine Salt Spa before dinner. Choose between massage therapy treatments, a soak in their float tanks, or a relaxing session in the Salt Cave. To top off the trip, there’s no better place than The Floridian for down-home comfort food and creative vegetarian entrees. Start with fried green tomatoes before digging into Minorcan cuisine like a shrimp and sausage pilau that will leave your taste buds happy and keep you dreaming of Northeast Florida’s cuisine until your next visit.