Amelia Island Plantation

Amelia Island Plantation Pool

While spring isn’t quite officially here I think it's time for spring break. For those of you in colder climates perhaps a nice warm, welcoming beach with enough diversions for visitors of almost any age. Today, we'll consider the Amelia Island Plantation where kids young and old can enjoy a truly Floridian vacation with numerous amenities at one single destination.

Located just 29 miles from Jacksonville, the 1,350-acre Amelia Island Plantation has been in operation since the early 1970s and was created as one of the country’s first “In Harmony With Nature” developments. Decades before the ecology movement took hold in social conscience.

"We have focused on being in harmony with nature since our founding in 1971," said Jack Healen, president of the Amelia Island Company.

Today, Amelia Island is a certified green resort. To achieve its green rating the resort first began with its design and landscape. Each building, courtyard, terrace or boardwalk was placed with the natural environment in mind, making sure that each structure is set within nature’s arms instead of distracting from it. The philosophy that each structure was to embrace its site and become one with it while providing guests will all the amenities associated with a four-star accommodations. These efforts have earned Amelia Island its Green Lodging destinations from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Green is great but I came for the fun stuff. Activities include horseback riding along the beach, kayaking, swimming and fishing. Golfers can pick from two championship courses and if golf isn’t your game there is always tennis. Or, you can bike or segway the miles of pathways that crisscross the island, or take a stroll and go shelling with one of the naturalists from the Nature Center. Simply wanting to rest and recharge? Chill and catch a few rays poolside or book a spa treatment at The Spa.

On site restaurants include the Ocean Grill, a white tablecloth menu where Florida shrimp, grilled salmon and free-range chicken are favored picks. The Beach Club or The Verandah provides more casual fare with choices running the gambit from sashimi to sammies to wraps and ice cream. Cooking in is an option for those renting villas with fully equipped kitchens.

Venture off property and spend an afternoon in the nearby Fernandina Beach, the only city on Amelia Island. This 1880s fishing village boasts a 50-block historic district of 19th century Victorian buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The focal point of historic downtown Fernandina is Centre Street, where visitors can browse specialty boutiques and art galleries, or enjoy lunch at outdoor cafes and waterfront restaurants.

Spring break packages and getaways are available. Best buy is the all-inclusive packages that include three meals a day and unlimited use of the recreational facilities. Other packages offered are unlimited golf, island spa and the friends or the romantic getaways.

Amelia Island Plantation: www.aipfl.com or (888) 261-6161