If you’re into golf courses and beachfront condos, then you probably see Amelia Island Plantation and the surrounding developments as better than what was there before. But if you are bothered by a beautiful island’s encroachment by people who believe being one with nature is an afternoon on the golf course, you might think it worse.
But we’re happy for now. Amelia Island could have turned out much worse. At one point Union Carbide wanted to strip-mine the island for potassium. Fortunately, a developer named Charles Fraser purchased 900 acres and began developing in a way that would not disturb the fragile barrier island ecology.
Amelia Island Plantation has four miles of beach, which is a long, long strip. The sand is widened every few years by trucking sand in. So you’ll see a mix; the fine white natural sand of Amelia Island, and the coarser, shelly sand dredged elsewhere. It’s not perfect, but it isn’t bad either, making for a nice beach in front of the homes and resorts.
Amelia Island Resort occupies 1,330 acres of the island, which is a huge chunk. There is so much to do here, as you can imagine. We mentioned golfing, from Peter Dye to Tom Fazio designed courses, and a golf school at the Long Point course. Golf magazine rated Amelia one of the top 12 golf resorts in America. Tennis is available at the Racquet Park. Fishing and sailing can be arranged at the Amelia Angler where you can rent everything you need.
For youth, Amelia has supervised programs that allow adults to get away and play their own games. The “Kids Campelia” program is offered on weekdays 8:30 AM to 1 PM from early March to around Labor Day.
There are nature tours on the island if you are into that, plus biking and jogging – seven miles of nature trails. Rent a bike for $5 an hour at Wheels ‘n’ Keels 1-904-261-6161 ext 5427 along with baby joggers, golf carts, canoes and more.
Location: From I-95, take Exit 129 (Highway A1A) into Fernandina Beach and continue south for seven miles, following the signs to the resort.
Parking: Beaches and facilities are for the use of residents, registered guests, and their visitors only.
Hours: none posted
Facilities: concessions, restrooms, showers, and a visitor center
Contact: Amelia Island Plantation, 1-904-261-6161