Amelia Island, Florida
If you are looking for a cute beach town with lots of personality then Amelia Island should be added to your list of places to visit.
We have now visited this little town two times and each time has been filled with fun in the sun, and has been very refreshing for the soul! Our main purpose for each of these visits was my sisters wedding that just happened, but we aren't the type to do all work and no play!
When we were there back in May we were lucky enough to come on the weekend of their 54th annual Shrimp Festival! This is a big deal for the city which we found out pretty quickly as we were trying to make appointments with different vendors for the weekend but they were all closing up shop for the festival. We made the best of it anyway and met with whoever we could and then decided to check out the festival on Friday night after dinner. All of downtown was closed off and the streets were filled with people. As the festival was coming to an end for the evening we sat on one of the many benches enjoying some delicious ice cream from Fantastic Fudge (very popular spot for sure) while watching the fireworks. It was a good way to end the night for sure!
Both times we stayed at the Omni Plantation which is absolutely beautiful. They have a lot of options depending on what you are looking for when you come to visit. They have their hotel, one, two, and three bedroom villas, as well as some houses for you to choose from. We stayed in their 3 bedroom villas both times we were there so that we could have a kitchen and the extra space. Ours overlooked one of their golf courses as well as the beach and there was a boardwalk that lead from the villas over the golf course and out to the beach which made for easy beach access. I absolutely love the beach and the sound of the ocean so this was a huge plus for me because I was able to sit and enjoy the ocean no matter the time of day. This past time our sister also used one of the houses that they offer on site which helped tremendously in all the wedding preparations. It was a very beautiful house right around the corner from the hotel which made it very convenient coming and going to the pool all weekend long!
The Omni is not only lined by a beautiful beach but they also have multiple pools for you to enjoy that are right off the beach as well. The villas have pools along the boardwalks that are for your use if you are looking for a more quite spot and easily accessible from your villa, or you can go up to the hotel where the main pool area is located. There are two very large pools there along with a poolside restaurant and beach access. We spent most of our time at these pools and had lunch at the restaurant, we really loved the fish tacos!
They also offer a lot of onsite amenities so you don't have to leave the plantation if you don't want too. They have restaurants, shops, coffee, golf, as well as a spa. During the wedding weekend we weren't really looking to venture out to far because we had a lot going on in those four days so we stayed close by which helped maximize our time with everyone that came in town. We took advantage of the onsite spa one morning and some of us girls went and got a good pampering before all the festivities began. We got massages, some got facials and we all had our nails done, but one of my favorite parts was ending my spa day with an eucalyptus steam shower! If you have never had one before then you should because it was magical!
We were able to make it to the quaint downtown a few times over the course of our visits and enjoy some of the shops and restaurants. Like I mentioned earlier we got ice cream from Fantastic Fudge, as well as a light breakfast and coffee at Amelia Island Coffee which was very cute and had some very yummy coffee! We also love Italian food so we tried two different Italian restaurants: Ciao Italian Bistro and Lucas On Centre. I would recommend them both! Right across the street from the coffee shop there is an awesome bookstore called The Book Loft that we also spent some time in. It has a great selection of books and my three year old loved it! She does really enjoy books though so for her it was a constant discovery of new books to have mommy read to her! We definitely could of spent more time downtown because there was plenty to explore and lot's of places to eat.
However even with all these things available to do I would still say my favorite part of my time in Amelia Island was anytime I was on the beach. It is a very pretty beach, wide open and lot's of space. I can never get enough time on the beach though and would choose to spend my mornings listening to the waves and watching the sunrise just about everyday! So I may be biased when talking about the beach BUT it really was beautiful. My sister had a beach party to end her wedding weekend festivities and it turned out amazingly. The weather was perfect and we ate and danced the night away right there on the beach! Talk about a great way to end our time in Amelia Island?!!!
So whether you are looking to get away to a small beach town or looking to have a destination wedding like my sister did, Amelia Island is a good spot to check out!