Named after Princess Amelia, daughter of King George II, Amelia Island, the Southernmost of the Sea Islands in the United States, stretches from South Carolina to Florida. The Island is about 13 miles long and at its widest point, about 4 miles wide.
The Island has a rich history with the Timucuan mould building culture. Records reveal that the Timucuans, settled in this Island, which they called Napoyca Circa 1000, where they remained until the 18th century. The island also has been captured by various rulers, and at least eight different flags have flown, perhaps the only location in the US with this kind of tumultuous ruler ship.
Florida's Island travel destination
This is Florida's Natural Island destination, with the beauty of Amelia endowed with spectacular sunrises and sunsets over green salt marshes. The Island, with its beach resorts, offers villa accommodation for family outings with flexible meeting facilities. The villas offer golf, tennis, horseback riding, fitness centers, restaurants and more.
While the Island's golf courses conserve and restore natural ecosystems that inspire and challenge the golf guests, this is also a place for avid tennis players who can enjoy a 23 Har-Tru tennis courts.
The hallmark of Amelia Islands is the hospitality of the great American inns. Interestingly, Williams House Bed and Breakfast, one of Amelia's grandest historic homes was selected as one of America's top Bed and Breakfast centers, by the National Geographic Traveler for their 2009 places to stay visit. Another romantic getaway is the Victoria Inn, a classic antebellum mansion, built in 1859 - a tranquil retreat.
Amelia Island Plantation
Located on the Island just about 29 miles from Florida is the 1350 acre of property overlooks the blue water of the Atlantic on the east and the green marshland on the west.
The seven golf courses - the Amelia River Course, the Long Point Course, the Oakmarsh Coarse, the Ocean Links, and the Golf Course, are at the summer beach resort with the Royal Amelia Golf links nearby. There is also the Fernandina beach golf course, which is popular with the locals as the 'city course'.
Amelia Island Plantation named as the Silver Medal Resort by Golf Magazine, boasts of a 72 championship holes course. Two signature courses - Oak Marsh and Ocean Links - designed by Pete Dye and Bobby Weed, is a 36 hole configuration. Another primary 18 hole layout has been distinctly designed at Long Point among the primal marshlands.
Amelia Island State Park exemplifies over 200 acres of unspoiled wilderness, sprawling across the southern tip of this Island. Exotic beaches, salty marshes, and maritime forests afford a glimpse of the original Florida to the visitors. The beaches are perfect to unwind. Horseback riding on the beach is a delight on this Island shoreline. Strolling along the beach, surfing for fish or just watching the wildlife - there is plenty to do for anyone/everyone.
Amelia - Island of leisure
The canoe and kayak are provided at the Island's State Park facilities at Little Talbot and Big Talbot Island, about 6 miles south of Amelia. Rentals for canoeing and kayaking are available on site. Amelia's guided paddles include birding paddles, tai chi paddles, sunset and full moon paddles and special focus paddles.
Fishing is another popular leisure activity at Amelia Island State Park as well as the George Crady Bridge Fishing Pier State Park at Nassau Sound. Many kinds of fish such as whiting, redfish, flounder, speckled sea trout, jacks and tarpon can be caught. Redfish and speckled sea trout are found throughout the year and popular baits include mullet and shrimp which can be caught along the shoreline using a cast-net. Artificial baits are also popular here. Several small grass flats with a wide variety of catch can be found towards the end of the fishing bridge.
Guided beachfront horseback riding along the shores is common in the Kelly Sea horse Ranch. Saddling up, a discerning tourist can enjoy the beautiful beaches of Amelia Island and it is one of the most enjoyable ways to watch many of the island animals in their natural habitat. Playful dolphins, soaring great blue herons, wood storks and ospreys and endangered whale provide rare sights to the visitors.
Shelling is yet another favorite pastime for many visitors and the beaches of Amelia Island are a great place to find them. Multitude of species like clam, scallop, oyster, and periwinkle would delight a collector.
Amelia Island is one of the premier sites in the eastern section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Amelia Island is perfect for viewing shore birds. Black Skimmers, piping plovers, terns, brown pelicans, and other birds can be observed in the park. A rare right whale or a bald eagle can be spied during winter and early spring.
Tourist attractions at Amelia Island
Fort Clinch stands guarding the pass into Cumberland Sound into the deep water port of Fernandina - a fort that began in 1847 but was never completed. Although work continued post the American Civil War, with each side occupying the fort for some time, Fort Clinch has seen service during the Civil war, Spanish American war and the Second World War. It has since become one of Florida's finest parks in 1937.
The Fort George and the Kingsley Plantation was first established in the last 1790s by John McQueen who had fled from South Carolina to Florida due to mounting debts. This historic site though is well preserved and offers visitors an opportunity to walk the grounds of one of the earliest Florida Plantations.
Amelia Island Museum of History includes interactive exhibits, historic displays, railroad artifacts and Spanish work of arts. A typical Timucuan Village depicts the ancient inhabitants of northeast Florida. A section of the museum is devoted to the preservation of period artifacts from Spanish missions.
You can tour many local cities by car - Jacksonville, Yulee, May port, and the beach towns of Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach; all within 30-45 minute ride. St Augustine is a historic city and is an hour from Daytona Beach.
Accommodation in Amelia
This Island houses resorts and charming inns, comfortable hotels and more! There are several properties in Amelia which allows the entire family to stay. Another interesting aspect of Amelia Island is the combined 100,000 sq ft available for meetings and conference facilities so as to accommodate groups of any size. Full sized business centers, spectacular ballrooms, unique outdoor and ocean side venues, provide a perfect setting for executives and professionals for a special retreat.
Since this Island cherishes romance, travelers choose Amelia for weddings, family reunions and other special celebrations. From tranquil beaches to luxury villas, magnificent ballrooms and lush grandeur of gardens, Amelia is also the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing honeymoon.
Cuisine in Amelia
Amelia Island serves an enticing array of flavorful options to its guests. There are over 40 restaurants offering freshest Florida seafood and authentic Italian and Mexican delicacies. Amelia's delectable dining masterpieces and decadent desserts provides a satisfying gastronomic experience. Be it classic dining at the Joe's 2nd street Bistro or a small town charm at Crab Trap, which serves seafood in a down town home setting, Amelia Island satisfies every taste bud.
Reaching Amelia Island
Just about 30 minute drive from Jacksonville International Airport, Amelia Island is quick and convenient to reach by air. Shuttle services are available for tourists accommodated at Omni Amelia Island Plantation or the Ritz Carlton. Major International Airlines and a host of domestic carriers have regional network here.
Amelia Island's temperature is pleasant year round with cool sea breeze and mild temperatures. Even during the summer months, Amelia Island offers visitors the coolest of Florida's temperatures.