Top Locations for an Amelia Island Portrait Session
Are you planning a trip to the beautiful Amelia Island in the Sunshine State and want to bring home the memories to savor forever? Or maybe you are a local resident and it’s time to update your family photos? If you answered yes, you may be in the planning stages of your portrait session. You’re probably conducting your initial research and looking for the most breathtaking spots to capture this important event.
In this list, I have included my FAVORITE locations that I photograph on and around Amelia Island. I hope you find it helpful while you search for a location for your session. As always, ask your photographer for ideas, too, as they will have the best options for your session.
1) Fort Clinch Best For: Family Portraits Price: $
There’s SO many beautiful spots in Ft. Clinch to take advantage of. My personal favorite is the canopies of trees that welcome you into the park with the winding road in the background. Besides that, there’s plenty of nature trails (watch out for gators!) and parks to explore too. With 15 acres, there are many undiscovered spots that are waiting to be photographed.
The fort itself is a 19th-century masonry coastal fortification that was built as part of the Third System of seacoast defense. With it’s pentagonal shape, it consists of almost five million bricks! There are corner bastions and embrasures in the outer walls, as well as several structures in the interior courtyards, including a two-story barracks. The fort makes a great place for family photos with small children, because it offers them a ton of room to run around and exhaust all their energy. There is a beautiful beach access in the park as well. Unfortunately, the pier closed down due to hurricane damage, but there are still breathtaking views of the ocean. I love photographing at this beach because I can capture my clients with the ocean or the fort in the background. It offers such versatility!
**Make sure to check the hours of operation and entrance fees before planning your session here**
2) Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach
Best For: Engagements/Couple or Holiday Photos
Where does one even begin when describing the historic downtown center on Fernandina Beach? There are so many great little spots in this area of Amelia Island. I like to park my car near the beginning of Centre St. and walk down towards the water from there. I find so many fascinating little sections that make for unique and on-of-a-kind photos. With the array of shops, historic homes, and colorful buildings, you can’t go wrong with choosing this location for your portrait session. I personally recommend taking engagement photos here because of the charismatic charm and Victorian-like scenery. In December, the entire main street is decorated with lights, garland, and Christmas trees! This makes for the perfect backdrop for family holiday cards! When you’re finished with your session, be sure to celebrate by stopping at one of the 40+ restaurants that help make up the historic district. There’s yummy places around every corner for all your cravings!
3) Egan’s Creek Greenway Best For: Large Groups Price: FREE
If I could take all of my client’s photos at the Greenway, I totally would! This 5.6 mile long lightly trafficked loop trail offers the chance to see wildlife up close in their natural habitat (watch out for gators!). Beautiful native wildflowers, ponds, and nature bridges are what make the Greenway such a special place for photos. The wide, grass covered pathways are perfect for large groups and would make for the best spot to take extended family portraits! And if you are looking to set up a lot of props, I would highly recommend Egan’s Creek as being your go-to spot. One of the great things about the park is that is is accessible year-round, so you always have a backup location if your other portrait location is unavailable.
There are 6 total entrances/exits to Egan’s Creek, so you have quite a few options to get in. Because there are no vehicles allowed inside, keep in mind that you will have to walk anywhere you go when you enter the park. I like to bring a few cold waters with me in a cooler to keep hydrated. Be sure to pick up a trail map at the Fernandina Beach Atlantic Rec Center too beforehand!
4. Big Talbot Island State Park (AKA Boneyard Beach)
Best For: Families, Children, Engagements/Couples, Maternity Price: $
Big Talbot Island has eroded over time, creating 30-foot bluffs and toppling trees onto the beach. After years of being washed by salt water and bleached by the sun, these trees become white and bone-like, leading to the name Boneyard Beach. Located just about 5 minutes from the south bridge on Amelia Island, Big Talbot Island attracts hundreds of photographers every year for landscape, portraits, and nature photography.
Now, there are several little spots at Big Talbot that you can park at to get to your ideal location. I recommend scouting out the area a few days prior to your session so that you can get the best idea of where you'll need to go and how long it will take you to walk there from your car. If you are walking the nature trails, watch out for banana spiders. One summer, I was heading back to my car from one of my secret spots and encountered over 100 spider webs above my head on the trail! Another tip I recommend is bringing bug spray. The gnats can get pretty bad out there.
**Make sure to check the hours of operation and entrance fees before planning your session here**
5. John Muir Ecological Park Best For: Individuals
If you have a mini session planned in the near future and you're having a hard time finding a quick spot, head out to Yulee to John Muir Ecological Park. It is a quick walk from the car, giving you that extra few minutes for more photos. Although it is small, it is a beautiful and peaceful location. It would be ideal for very small families or aspiring models looking to have their portraits done. The park offers a short trail of the native trees and birds on a wooden boardwalk.
John Muir was a very famous and influential naturist and conservationist. He taught people the importance of preserving and protecting the country's natural heritage. He has inspired environmentalists everywhere with his love of nature and leaves his legacy in the National Park System.
6. Fernandina Plaza
Best For: Large Groups, Children
You will find Fernandina Plaza Historic State Park nestled at the North end of Amelia Island in what “Old Town Fernandina Beach.” The Park is the site of the historic plaza grounds that once laid in front of the Spanish Fort San Carlos. It overlooks the Amelia River, offering spectacular views of sunset. If you are dreaming of taking a silhouette portrait, look no further! Just across the street, you’ll find the famous Villa Villekulla home, which stood as the main setting for the 1988 movie, “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.”
Ideally, this location is great for big groups or active children. The big grassy field offers plenty of space to move around without feeling claustrophobic. If you are looking to bring a lot of props to your session or wanting a big set up, Fernandina Plaza has minimal background distractions, so you can guarantee your session theme will be the focal point. Photographers, if you want to incorporate big furniture into your photos (like a couch), this is a great location for that. Although this little gem may not seem like much, if you think outside the box a bit, the possibilities are endless!
7. Goffinsville Park
Best For: Families, Children, Couples
Do you have small children with endless energy that don’t like to sit still for photos? Goffinsville Park may be able to help with that! Just off the beaten path down Old Nassauville Road, you’ll find a one-of-a-kind locations that offers biking and walking trails, water views, and a playground! I love doing family portraits here because I can bribe the children with a visit to the playground if they smile for the camera. It works like a charm every time! There are lots of little sections off the beaten path of the park that make for special backdrops for magnificent portraits. If you are looking for a casual, strolling through the park theme with your spouse or partner, Goffinsville Park will exceed your expectations. If you’re thinking about visiting, I highly advised bringing bug spray, as the gnats can be a pain out here if you aren’t prepared. Bring small props and this park will make for fun and exciting lifestyle portraits!
I surely hope you enjoyed my list of the top locations on Amelia Island for your portrait session! Still looking for a portrait photographer? Check out Great Wide Somewhere Studios, conveniently located in Fernandina Beach. We specialize in family & couples portraits! Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.
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