Seaside Serenity

Florida’s historic Amelia Island beckons beach lovers in search of the ultimate relaxing escape.

Arriving at Omni Amelia Island Plantation instantly sets the scene for luxurious relaxation. Spanish moss-draped oak trees line the roads that wind past marshes and into the resort, which is at the southern end of the island. As guests take their first steps into the hotel, they’re greeted by a glimpse of its breathtaking setting. From the lobby, the views are uninterrupted down the tiered pool, past the swaying palm trees, out to the white sand beach, and to the azure Atlantic Ocean. Like the resort, these first moments are designed to be at once both delightful and soothing—and lure you to its 3.5 miles of sun-drenched beaches. 

Stay

Omni Amelia Island Plantation has been a popular destination for beach lovers for years—and with good reason. The stylish resort is nestled between gorgeous marshlands and ocean, and curves around chic pools and houses plenty of entertainment. Spacious rooms feature wide balconies with views overlooking the stunning beach and water beyond. And while you’ll likely spend little time in your room—the sun and sand are calling, after all—plush linens and serene blue hues make it almost as relaxing as the beach below.

To truly soak in the resort, you’ll want to wander a bit. Stop for an icy cocktail at one of the cozy poolside fire pits. Venture down the wooded paths to the nearby nature center to learn about the wildlife on the island. Take a stroll around the Plantation’s shops and Marche Burette Deli, and stop for a cup of coffee in one of the rocking chairs. Or, after a day splashing in one of the resort’s large pools, walk down to the beach for s’mores at dusk. There’s plenty to soak in here and no need to rush.

Eat

Those in search of fresh seafood in a stunning setting have come to the right place. Guests can indulge in a decadent breakfast buffet with views of the sun rising over the Atlantic at Seaglass. And lunch at the breezy Oceanside restaurant is a must, where the only thing distracting you from tuna tartare and local swordfish is the sound of breaking waves and families splashing in the nearby pool. 

In recent years, though, the resort has taken its dining to the next level. Each spring it hosts the popular Fish to Fork event, featuring top chefs around the country for a series of culinary events. The festive weekend culminates with the chefs showing off their skills on the water and in the kitchen, with a competition featuring dishes prepared with fish they’ve caught.

The most popular dining addition to the hotel’s repertoire, though, may be its dinner series at The Sprouting Project. Each month, the resort’s executive chef and his team host a multi-course dinner focused around one seasonal ingredient—and it’s all done next to a picturesque stream in the middle of the beautiful Lowcountry woods. Diners sit beneath towering trees and are surrounded by an organic garden, an aquaponic greenhouse, and even beehives, as they sip cocktails, chat with the chef, and dine. Is your mouth watering yet? This fall’s dinners will feature main ingredients like sunflowers, squash, and even a special truffle dinner in December.

Play

It’s tempting to simply stretch out in one of the luxe lounge chairs and order something cool from the poolside tequila bar. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with spending an afternoon snoozing in the sand beneath one of the resort’s expansive umbrellas. But for those in search of playful adventure, there’s plenty to be found around the resort.

In addition to its 54 holes of golf and numerous tennis courts, Amelia Island offers its own natural beauty to explore. Make reservations for a morning kayak ride, which leaves from the nearby Walker’s Landing. From there, you’ll paddle through marshes filled with egrets and ospreys, and even the occasional bottlenose dolphin. To really get up-close with the property, rent a bicycle from Amelia’s Wheels and take a spin down its many paths and roads, riding past lush woods and salty marshlands.   

If you decide to venture off the resort, or if you’re looking for a spot to stop on your way out, head to the nearby charming town of Fernandina Beach. Take a stroll past its historic homes, sites, and shops before you stop in for a bite on the porch at the popular 29 South restaurant. Its playful take on “Coffee and Doughnuts,” made with warm doughnut bread pudding and rich mocha ice cream, is the perfect sweet end to any day.

Getting There

American Airlines offers direct flights to Jacksonville, Florida and it’s less than an hour drive from the airport to Omni Amelia Island Plantation. If you prefer driving, it’s an easy five-and-a-half-hour drive from Charlotte.