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Escape to Amelia Island

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Luxe Getaway

The island’s position along the Atlantic Ocean offers a picturesque setting for a romantic weekend, golf outings with clients or family-friendly recreational activities. It’s a petite island (only 13 miles from north to south and four miles wide), but Amelia City and Fernandina Beach are packed with things to see and do. After a day in the white sand, sunshine and ocean breeze, you’ll never want to leave.

 

Photo courtesy of Amelia Island Tourist Development Council

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island

The swanky Ritz-Carlton is located on a quarter mile of coastline. The resort features more than 400 guest rooms, a spa, golf course and on-site recreational facilities such as pools, tennis courts and bike rentals. Don’t miss the fine dining and ocean views at Salt, the longest-running AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Florida. 4750 Amelia Island Parkway, 904-277-1100.

 

Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton

Amelia Island State Park

More than 200 acres of well-preserved wilderness can be found along the southern tip of Amelia Island. The beaches, salt marshes and forests offer a glimpse of Florida’s natural beauty. Fish in Nassau Sound or take a beachfront horseback ride. The Kelly Seahorse Ranch offers guided horseback tours daily for those 13 years and older. Call 904-491-5166 for more information. State Road A1A N., 904-251-2320.

 

Photo courtesy of Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Golf

The island is a premier golf destination with several championship courses. Whether located on the oceanfront or designed by PGA greats, the courses on Amelia Island offer unique experiences for all skill levels.

 

Photo courtesy of Amelia Island Tourist Development Council

Omni Amelia Island Plantation

This certified Green Lodging destination occupies 1,350 acres of land overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Omni Amelia Island Plantation includes ocean view hotel rooms, private villas, 20 pools, 7 miles of trails and more. If you’re interested in a day trip, certain areas are open to the public. These include the spa, shopping village, Nature Center and The Verandah restaurant. 6800 First Coast Highway, 904-261-6161.

 

Photo courtesy of Omni Amelia Island Plantation

Palace Saloon

Open since 1903, the famous Palace Saloon is Florida’s oldest continuously operating bar. Go to experience the history (the 40-foot long bar was designed with the help of Anheuser-Busch founder Adolphus Busch), but stay for the nightly live entertainment and signature cocktails. Be sure to check out the Palace’s neighbors too. Sheffield’s at the Palace offers a more upscale, ultra lounge atmosphere, while Uncle Charlie’s is a casual pub with a poolroom. 117 Centre St., Fernandina Beach, 904-491-3332.

 

Photo courtesy of Palace Saloon

Fernandina Farmers Market

With the exception of the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival in May, the Fernandina Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stock up on local fruits and vegetables, as well as organic products and specialty items. Corner of Centre Street & 7th Street North, Fernandina Beach, 904-491-4872.

 

Photo courtesy of Amelia Island Tourist Development Council

Amelia Island Museum of History

Housed in the renovated 1935 Nassau County Jail, the Amelia Island Museum of History displays 4,000 years of Florida history. Exhibits and lectures showcase the rich and turbulent past of the island. The museum also offers historic walking tours and ghost tours. Join in on Thursday evenings to tour four of Fernandina Beach’s most popular pubs and bars. One tour ticket buys a drink at each establishment. 233 S. Third St., Fernandina Beach, 904-261-7378.

 

Photo courtesy of Amelia Island Museum of History

Fort Clinch State Park

Fort Clinch is a well-preserved 19th century fort located on the island’s northern tip. Although no battles were fought here, it was occupied during the Civil and Spanish-American wars and joined the Florida park system in 1935. Today, Fort Clinch is open for daily tours with professional re-enactors, who bring the fort to life in period wear. The park also has a beach for swimming or sunbathing, a fishing pier and a six-mile trail for guided or self-guided nature walks. 2601 Atlantic Ave., Fernandina Beach, 904-277-7274.

 

Photo courtesy of Florida Department of Environmental Protection

Amelia River Cruises & Charters

The island is surrounded by scenic waterways and one of the best ways to explore them is on a river cruise. Amelia River Cruises & Charters provides narrated tours of historic riverbanks and wildlife areas. You may even spot dolphins, manatees and alligators while aboard. 1 N. Front St., Fernandina Beach, 904-261-9972.

 

Photo courtesy of Amelia River Cruises & Charters

Amelia Island is a beach getaway about an hour from downtown Jacksonville. Known as the “Isle of Eight Flags” for the number of countries and entities that have claimed ownership since the 1500s, the island sits just south of the Georgia border. From beach bonfires and farmers markets, to river cruises and fine dining, there is something for any romantic, adventure seeker, nature lover or history buff.—Amanda Hoffstrom

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