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THE AMELIA ISLAND INSIDER

We're partial to Amelia Island vs. Hilton Head or other options, and these views are just one reason why

Amelia Island vs. Hilton Head vs. Others … What’s the difference?

Where should you vacation?

Simple question, but tough answer! And even though we’re a vacation rental company in Amelia Island, we get it – maybe you need something just so that might take you to Hilton Head, or over to Cocoa Beach.

We’d MUCH rather you enjoy the #IslandLife with us, but in the spirit of helping you plan … here’s a comparison of Amelia Island vs. Hilton Head vs. Cocoa Beach vs. Jekyll Island … perhaps you’ll learn something new!

But seriously. Come visit Fernandina Beach. Say hello. You won’t regret it – or staying in a Guest Cottage vacation rental 🙂

And we hope to see you soon!

Why Amelia Island?

Guest Cottage is a property management company in Amelia Island serving guests with luxury properties for their stay on the island!
We’re here! Enough said, right?!

We dig into what makes the island special in another article, so we won’t repeat that fully here … but a few reasons that differ from other options:

Accessible Luxury. From fine dining options to upscale resorts or beachside houses, Amelia Island provides a wealth of available options to live it up a bit … for nearly anyone.

A combination of nature and fun. Want to get away from the bustle and be alone with nature? You can do that here, with plenty of tours to take you to often-overlooked areas of the island or simply enough space on the beach to spread out and relax without having people uncomfortably close.

But you’re still a short jaunt to any number of activities when ready for a change of pace.

Golf, but not as busy. There are plenty of courses to choose from, ranging from Fernandina Beach Golf Club to the Oak Marsh at at Omni Amelia Island Resort (a 10-hole gem that’s great for shorter outings). So you get a great blend of designs in a smaller space.

Our courses are in high demand, but the island isn’t as busy as a golf destination like Hilton Head – and it’s pretty easy to hit the beach after your latest round.

Style. Victorian mansions and buildings abound, bringing a delightful architectural charm to many areas.

Space on the beach. Easy to access, but never over-crowded like you’ll find with other popular vacation spots along the coast!

Why Hilton Head?

If you’re looking for plenty of things to do and don’t mind a crowd, then Hilton Head may be a great fit. It’s quite a popular tourist destination for a reason!

A few reasons you might lean Hilton Head:

Golf. There’s a reason it’s nicknamed “The Golf Island.” There’s 30+ courses to choose from, including the iconic Harbour Town Golf Links, host of the RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour. If you want a golf weekend … or week … or month … then this is for you.

Shopping. We have plenty of boutique-style shopping in Amelia Island (especially in downtown Fernandina Beach!), but the amount of options throughout Hilton Head is enormous – including Harbour Town, which has the famous red-and-white lighthouse towering overhead.

It’s definitely a great family outing or girls’ day out.

Arts. Galleries, various events, and the award-winning Arts Center of Coastal Carolina are just a few of the available options as part of the avid arts scene across the island.

Biking. You can bike the entire island – it’s all connected. In fact, it’s been designated a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the American League of Bicyclists. So if leisurely pedaling around the island, to the beach, or to your next activity strikes your fancy, then Hilton Head is worth checking out.

Why Cocoa Beach?

Cocoa Beach is known for its surfing conditions and culture

Love surfing, cruising, or space? Then Cocoa Beach might be up your alley.

Surfing. It’s known as the Surf Capital of the East Coast for a reason! 11-time world surfing champion (as of this writing) Kelly Slater calls the area home because it has consistently great surfing conditions and waves. And of course, that means the culture abounds throughout the area (including one of Ron Jon Surf Shop’s first stores) – so if surfing’s your thing, you’ll feel at home with like-minded folks.

Space. Cocoa Beach is near both the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. In addition to its surf nickname, Cocoa Beach also goes by “Space Coast” since so many landmark achievements in space development have occurred here.

So let your mind – and your children’s – run wild … or even better, catch a launch.

Cruise. Port Canaveral rates as one of the busiest cruise ports in the world, including well over 6 million passengers in 2023 and having taken the title of “world’s busiest cruse port” from Port Miami at different times.

Why Jekyll Island?

If you want to be left more alone and hang out with Mother Nature, Jekyll Island might be an excellent choice.

Turtles. Specifically, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is here, and the island is a fantastic place for sea turtle viewing from August – October. You can see this in other places (including Amelia Island), but Jekyll Island is built around this in unique and amazing ways.

Slower pace. You can slow down on Amelia Island, but there’s even less hustle-and-bustle throughout Jekyll and so it may be just right for those who literally need to get away … and be left alone. The island is much more residential than other options we’ve listed here.

And if you want a change of scenery, St. Simons Island is quite close by, offering you another option.

Outdoors. If you’re planning on getting outside for a majority of your trip, the island is basically built for what you’re looking for.

Why St. Simons Island?

Do you enjoy a blend of things to do, maritime history, and natural beauty? Then St. Simons Island could be a location worth considering, which has some of what above locations offer.

Size and space. St. Simons is part of the Golden Isles and is the largest of the four islands, giving plenty of things to do while also some convenience of nearby day trips.

Little St. Simons Island. It’s actually an entirely-separate island! But it’s an easy day trip, just a couple of miles away by boat and providing even more options during your stay with a quieter atmosphere. It’s not accessible by car, which only adds to the experience you won’t find in many other places.

Lots of activities. It’s similar to Hilton Head in this regard, with lots of family activities and Pier Village (with a beautiful pier) that has shades of Harbour Town, but with St. Simons style and atmosphere.

History. From the St. Simons Island Lighthouse to plenty of nautical sites, you’re never for want in terms of exploration and narrative.

Conclusion

Picking a vacation destination is never easy! We all have stories of taking way-too-long to finally select a spot, having lost hours of sleep trying to decide.

Whatever you’re looking for, we wish you a restful, wonderful vacation.

And hopefully, we’ll see you soon here on Amelia Island … or even better, we’ll serve you with one of our vacation rentals!

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