NATURE CALLS: Backwater fishing.
photography courtesy of Amelia Island Plantation
|You can swing away on three golf courses.|
photography by George Hunter
WHEN TO GO: While summer is understandably the peak, it’s almost as appealing to visit now, when temperatures are still in the upper 60s but the beaches are thrillingly desolate. Have you ever had the pleasure of enjoying a patch of undeveloped oceanfront all to yourself? Christmas is also worth considering, with horse-drawn carriage rides, Santa’s workshop, wine tastings, movie screenings, and a grand buffet on Christmas day.
|Abundant shopping along the water.|
WHAT A RACKET: Like the golf courses, the Plantation’s clay tennis courts have won plenty of best-of nods and hosted numerous tournaments, including the Women’s Tennis Association tournament for 29 years, welcoming every major player from Martina Navratilova to Maria Sharapova. Weekly events for kids and teens include bowling nights, pizza and movies, beach fires, and trips to the zoo.
End your day by kayaking at sunset.
GOOD EATS: Of the nearly dozen eateries on-site, Ocean Grill is the high-end pick with foodie favorites such as arugula and Niman Ranch. This close to the ocean, there’s no reason to eat anything but fish. Find cedar-planked salmon and mahi mahi with mango salsa at the more casual Verandah. Finish your night with a cocktail and karaoke fix at the Falcon’s Nest in the center of the complex. Go ahead and sing your heart out. You’re unlikely to see these people ever again.
See It All on Foot, By Boat, or on a Segway
WHERE TO STAY
Amelia Island Plantation
Rates run from $149 for a
single room to $800 for a three-
HOW TO GET THERE
Jacksonville JAX Airport is serviced by American (aa.com), Continental (continental.com), Delta (delta.com), and Southwest (southwest.com). Amelia Island is about 30 miles north of the airport; approximate travel time is 45 minutes. Amelia Island Plantation offers a shuttle service for $44 per person. Cab fare is $60.
WHEN TO GO:
Now. The beaches are bare.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW: