Rockin’ away to the rhythm of the waves on one of the comfy rocking chairs, I seemed to have lost myself in a world of beauty and relaxation. The Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Northeast Florida is a place filled with fun for all … with some extra perks here and there, too.
Pick from one of many outdoor lounge chairs and relax by a fire pit, fountain, pool or just under a palm tree. Did you know, there’s a chair for every bed there is? You don’t have to worry about not finding a place to sit near the pool. Enjoy the breeze and let your mind wander … until the kids come shouting, “Wake up, Mom! We wanna go out to the beach!”
Rent a cabana and chairs out on the sand or just plop right down on the guest towel you grabbed at the pool desk. Remember your room key — it’s how you get in and out from resort to beach.
Done playing at the beach? Wash off and return to enjoy the three-tiered swimming area. The adult-only hot tub and serenity pool begin at the top, followed by the family-friendly pool down to the kids’ splash area. Both pools have chair lifts to make access easy for everyone. If you need help, staff will help you into the chair and gently lower you down.
The kids’ splash area has rock formations making it a great little spot for climbing toddlers. Lots of water spouts up from the ground in an inches-deep pool. When everyone’s had enough water for the day, take in one of the many other activities.
See and Do
If you’ve got kids ages 13 and older, go for some stand-up paddleboarding. Don’t know how? All skill levels are invited to give it a try with an introductory paddle lesson. Once you’re set, tour the marsh. It’s a quiet area for sneaking up on local wildlife. The water’s not too deep, so don’t worry about falling off. It’s a lot of fun and a must-do activity.
The Amelia Island Nature Center offers lots of scheduled tours and programs. “Beach Bounty” allows you to hunt for natural treasures along the shore. “Timucuan Indian Tour” lets you explore Walker’s Landing to look for historic Timucuan Indian remnants around a burial mound. You can also learn about the critters that live at the Nature Center during “Critter Encounter.” Enjoy crabbing with naturalists the old-fashioned way, go freshwater fishing on the banks of Aury Island, take on a treasure hunt and more. When your kids are done with the group setting, set out on your own little adventure to find a place to let loose and play around.
One of the many paths etched into this serene location leads you to a little hidden area, Aury Island Playground. The play structure is a wooden ship and surrounding it are things to climb on and dig with, swings and more — all nestled in it’s own quiet spot.
Kids can register to participate in a wide variety of programs at Camp Amelia. Interactive learning excursions are offered as either half-day or full-day sessions and give your kids something fun (and … shhh! … educational) to do while on vacation. The newly remodeled Camp Amelia room is also filled with toys, games, a giant dry-erase board and more. The kids are in wonderful care and are sure to have fun while enrolled in one of the activities led by award-winning counselors.
Ages 9 – 15 can also take on Junior Adventures. There are plenty of programs for them as well. Teens aren’t left out either. They have their very own room (Gamers) filled with game systems, foosball and more. Teens can hang out and make new friends here.
One feature that I’ve never seen at a resort before is unlimited use of a telescope. The hotel has a telescope that guests can use for free to view the night sky … but be sure to share. While you wait your turn, enjoy a s’more by one of the fire pits. These spots become popular as people gather around to warm up as the cooler evening sets in.
And for Mom or Dad? There’s lots just for them, too. Mom, it’ll be a good idea to schedule yourself some alone time at the resort’s luxurious full-service spa and salon. The spa offers lots of unique experiences, including treatment rooms with a nature view and a relaxation area and garden, which is simply wonderful after a massage. Who said you had to hurry off just after you’re all relaxed and refreshed? It’s nice to just sit back and let it all soak in.
Golfers will be in awe at the availability of places to play a good round of golf — there are two different courses (and a member’s only course) to take on! I’ve never picked up a club before, and let me tell you … it wasn’t pretty. But, with the help of a quick private lesson from a trained staff member, I felt a little more comfortable … and I learned a lot, too. The courses are amazingly crafted and stunning. It’s a great place for Dad — or Mom — to enjoy a little time away from the family.
What to Eat?
Nine restaurants including a deli/market, Marché Burette over in the shopping area, will surely leave you asking, “Where do we want to eat today?” There are many options offering a variety of tastes. If you need something quick and familiar, head to Natural Slice, which is a surf shop with a pizza restaurant. Yummy! There’s also a farmers’ market if you come during the right season, where you can buy locally grown fresh veggies, fruits, cheeses, jams, jellies and more. That’s a great way to pick up a healthy snack for the kids. My favorite dining spot was Sunrise Café. The breakfast buffet is extraordinary and you can sit with the view of the rising sun over the Atlantic — lunch is served seasonally. You can order a la carte from the menu, too. There are just so many options that will leave your taste buds screaming for more.
When the family is all worn out and everyone’s bellies are full, rest peacefully in your room and prepare for the next day’s events. This family-friendly resort is a blissful place filled with amazement. A place where every room has an ocean view … helping you create a most memorable family beach vacation.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation
39 Beach Lagoon | Amelia Island, Florida 32034 | 904-261-6161 | omnihotels.com/AmeliaIsland