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Amelia Island is considered to be one of America's few remaining unspoiled island paradises. As well as being the southernmost of the chain of Atlantic coast barrier islands, that stretch from North Carolina to Florida, Amelia Island is also located as far north in Florida as you can go without bumping into Georgia.
Amelia Island quietly boasts a long, white beach that often makes it onto "Top Ten Beaches" lists. Virgin forests sit just inland and slow-motion enjoyment is the rule of the day.
The beach in Amelia slopes gently into the water making it the perfect introduction to the surf for even the smallest children.
Amelia Island has a rich history as well as 13 miles of uncrowded beaches, lush natural settings, moss-covered oaks, teriffic golf, boating, fishing, tennis, biking, historic forts, gentle waves, stunning sunrises and sunsets, and friendly "locals".
Accommodations on Amelia Island include numerous condo rentals. One can rent a condo either on Amelia Island Plantation or on the island proper. Prices are much lower outside of the Plantation, which is really a combination residential/resort area. A similar condo outside of the Plantations' gated grounds, generally runs for about half the price. Most of the condos are large and can easily accommodate two families traveling together.
The Plantation itself is strikingly beautiful and has on-site swimming pools, tennis courts and golf courses. A boardwalk winds through its forest and there is excellent biking. For those who visit just for the beach a condo outside is more than fine. You can rent a condo not far from the Plantation that is right on the beach.
The Amelia Island Plantation site was actually the first resort for Timucuan Indians who discovered the area around 1600 B.C. and are believed to have stayed 2800 years.
Named twice by Family Circle magazine as the Nation's Best Family Beach Resort, the Amelia Island Plantation truly has something for everyone. This 1,250 acre resort features four miles of wide, sugar-white sand beaches, world-renowned golf and tennis facilities plus 6 restaurants, entertainment and shopping.
For younger children, there is a supervised youth program with arts and crafts, sports and swimming. Because the resort has a strong commitment to preservation and the ecology, the Plantation is relatively unchanged from the time when the first known inhabitants made the resort their home. It is still a haven for tribes - only now tribes of city-dwellers and suburbanites come seeking the perfect retreat.
Carefully placed in the midst of this island sanctuary are the greens and fairways of two championship golf courses, 27 holes designed by Pete Dye and 18 by Tom Fazio.
The Plantation is surrounded on 3 sides by water - the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway and Nassau Sound, there are plenty of surf fishing and deep-sea excursion opportunities. Chartered sailing expeditions are available as well. Inland, freshwater lakes and brackish lagoons yield bass, bream, tarpon, snook and redfish. Walker's Landing, a recreation and boat launch area on the creek, has excellent crabbing.
In Town Activities: Fernandina Beach is the local town on Amelia and it couldn't be more appealing for an afternoon of shopping and strolling.
Fernandina Beach is a picturesque Victorian seaport. It boasts a 50 block historic district of 19th century buildings listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. It also has Florida's oldest saloon and Florida's only oral history museum. The museum is housed in an old jail, which means the treasures inside are secure.
Fernandina Beach is the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry and it plays host to an annual "Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival" the first weekend of each May. The event attracts hundreds of artists, artisans, and craftsmen from across the country .and more than a 150,000 visitors each year.
St. Augustine, the oldest city in the country, is about an hour down the coast and is a beautiful drive, close to the water all the way.
Take some time and visit Amelia Island State Recreation Area. The area has over 200 acres of undeveloped sea island recreational opportunities including pristine beaches, salt marshes and coastal maritime forests. You will find concessions, guided horseback rides along the Atlantic beach, fishing, hiking, sunning, and bird watching.
Do not miss a visit to Fort Clinch State Park
Located on the northern tip of Amelia Island. At Fort Clinch, the striking natural environment mergers with one of the best-preserved masonry military forts in the U.S. Here, park rangers, dressed in Civil War uniforms, offer regular programs to showcase the daily life of a Union garrison in 1864. The beach is right in front of the fort and provides a unique experience for visitors by preserving, protecting and showcasing portions of Florida's natural and historic resources. The combination makes Fort Clinch State Park a teriffic place to take the kids. For more information...click here.
Other Beaches on Amelia Island
Fort Clinch State Park.. read more>
Amelia Island Plantation & Summer Beach..read more>
Amelia Island State Park
Fernandina Beach....read more>
For some, a drawback about Amelia Island is that there is very little to do at night.
Amelia Island Plantation, reservations & information...go>
Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, reservations & information...go>
Golf: 54 holes of golf including 36 designed by Pete Dye and the 18 hole Long Point course create by Tom Fazio.
Fishing and sailing are arranged at the Amelia Angler
Amelia Island has miles of sandy beaches
Amelia Island Plantation has four miles of beach with sand that ranges from fine white to sand of the course shelly type.
Plenty of room to find a quiet corner of a beach to yourself
Amelia Island is located 8 miles south of Fernandina Beach By car, Amelia Island can be reached by using Exit 129, the Fernandina Beach/ Callahan exit off of Interstate 95. Follow the signs east for 15 minutes or so to Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island.
The nearest airport is in Jacksonville, which is about 35 minutes away. A car really is necessary unless if you are staying at the Plantation and have no desire to venture out.
Private, corporate and charter aircraft may use the facilities at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport. Rental cars are available at both airports
Places To eat & Things To Do
The Amelia Inn (Amelia Island Plantation, Highway A1A South) 904.321.5050 ($$$$) specializes in an upscale atmosphere and hearty food, simply but elegantly prepared from fresh ingredients.
The Veranhda (Amelia Island Plantation 904.321.5050) ($$$) is a less expensive alternative and their seafood dishes are delicious.