On a recent trip to Amelia Island, I knew that I had to make a stop at the small harbor-side town of Fernandina Beach. The town has just about everything that a cute, historic town should have. If you're looking for a place where time has been lovingly restored, somewhere you can find not only super trendy boutiques, and shops but also amazing restaurants and bars, than this is it. Street after street of this town is more charming than the other. After our drive in from Orlando, my husband and I decided to just park the car and walk around. The cobble stone streets and rows of historic homes are a reminder of a different time. Each store front and restaurant sits in a historic building. My husband and I decided to grab a bite to eat and ended up eating at Amelia Tavern, where the food and beer are amazing.
Could you imagine that this National Historic landmark encompasses 50 blocks. It is the perfect opportunity to take in the lovingly restored Victoria homes while strolling the streets. Massive moss covered oak trees line the streets and evidence of the past still remain. While we were there we saw the town decorating for Christmas, and found out that these privately owned homes offer a tour during the holiday season. Each home is decorated and trimmed perfectly for the season, and Docents are stationed at each home pointing out the rich history and architectural details of each home. While I was not in town long enough to see that...I promised to return (sounds like a future blog in the making).
Amelia Island truly offers something for everyone. From the historian buff to the beach goer, there is always something to do. Within Amelia Island you will also find an incredible State Park. Amelia Island State Park is on the southern most tip of the island and covers 200 acres of unspoiled, untouched wilderness. The opportunity to see the beautiful salt marsh and miles of true Florida beach line is what makes this park a must for anyone. Along with all of the natural beauty found at this park, it is one of the few locations where you can horseback ride on the beach. Visitors to this park need to know the following...
In order to drive on this beach you must have 4 wheel drive. If not, you can park and walk the shore line. Just because you have an SUV or truck, unless it's equipped with 4 wheel drive I would not take your chances. While there, we saw an SUV without 4 wheel drive get stuck in the sand. When we asked the ranger, he advised that despite the signs that warn visitors that 4 wheel drive is require to drive on the beach, they often times have to dig cars and SUV out of the sand.
I know that this is first for my blog, and I don't normally include any of the hotels that I stay at but the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is absolutely amazing. This 1,350 acre resort reaches the gorgeous beaches on the east and the natural marsh on the west. With over 3.5 miles of private beach front the hotel offers visitors the chance to unwind and relax. The hotel grounds are the perfect combination of luxury meets nature and the list of things to do is endless here. You could easily spend the weekend right on the grounds with out having to leave. The resort offers everything from high end restaurants to an adorable lagoon side café and general store. Outdoor activities include kayaking, Segway tours, paddle boarding and surf lesson. Be sure to check out the mini golf and the nature center.
This hotel made for the perfect Anniversary weekend for us. We spent mornings taking in the view and watching sunrise from the beach. I of course made friends with the wildlife while the hubs flew his drone around the beach. During the day we headed out for adventure at several of the near by State Parks (check out my Blog on Driftwood Beach, Kingsley Plantation and Fort Clinch). We were amazed by how many wonderful natural places we could go all within 45 minutes of Amelia Island. To finish out our day of adventure we relaxed at the pool side bar and fire pit. Unfortunately our weekend came to a close and upon checkout we decided to walk around the Village and Nature Center. The Nature Center made me miss being the Mom of little kids, they had all sorts of cool things for kids to do and see, including some live animals exhibits.