An easy 30 miles from Jacksonville, Florida, is a barrier island that”s a 13-mile slice of awesome: Amelia Island. If you”re a beach-aficionado and love sunsets, wildlife, powdery soft sand and a laid-back downtown vibe, Amelia Island needs to top your family travel list.
Amelia island accommodations range from 5-star resorts to friendly value-stays sprinkled throughout the rustic and wild landscape. Consider one of these Amelia Island resorts, approved by our staff of experts and other family travelers, for your next vacation.
Written by Wendy Irvine
Comfort Suites Oceanview Amelia Island
A short half-block walk to the beach gives you giant savings. Concerned that a Ã¢â‚¬Å“valueÃ¢â‚¬Â stay means old and scruffy? Not at this all-suite hotel that received a head-to-toe glamour makeover in 2014; furniture, carpets, bathrooms, everything received a sleek update. Comfort Suites Oceanview Amelia Island is a pro at keeping rates low while offering reliable amenities like a large complimentary breakfast, comfortable beds, a mini-fridge and microwave in each suite, a small pool, washers/dryers, free Wi-Fi, free parking and a fitness room.
Being just across the street from the beach gives a few lucky suites a dazzling view of the Atlantic. Request one when you make your reservation. Parents will love that the hotel has parks on both sides; the Main Beach Park has tennis courts, a skate park, a playground and restrooms and is a stone"s throw from those sapphire waves. The entrance to Fort Clinch State Park is also an easy walk from the hotel. The Historic District is about a 5-minute drive away.
Hampton Inn and Suites Amelia Island - Historic Harbor Front
Two Hampton Inn and Suites sit on Amelia Island, each offering a different, but lovely vibe. The Hampton Inn at the Historic Harbor Front is one fantastic Amelia Island resort choice, given its close proximity to the family-friendly action in the Historic District. The rooms and suites come in many configurations, so work with the reservation folk to locate your perfect room. The two-room suites are generously sized and boast space for six plus a baby, along with a full kitchen. Some suites have a balcony, a fireplace or a whirlpool. The complimentary breakfast is lavish and sits in an upscale set of rooms drenched in beach accents overlooking the pool. A short car ride away is Main Beach Park with free parking and mild waves for the little ones, Central Park with great climbing structures, and Fort Clinch State Park for history buffs and kids who love to check out cannons.
Hampton Inn Amelia Island at Fernandina Beach
Sitting 1 block from the beach and just 4 miles from the Historic District is the Hampton Inn Amelia Island at Fernandina Beach. At this Hampton Inn, mornings are all about the large complimentary breakfast and afternoons feature fresh cookies in the lobby. All rooms and suites come with a mini-fridge, microwave and free Wi-Fi. Rooms give you the choice of a king bed or two queens. The spacious two-room suites offer a king bed in the bedroom and a pull-out sofa in the living room. The Hampton Inn Amelia Island at Fernandina Beach is located near over a dozen restaurants -- four are just a quick walk away. Kids will dig the small outdoor pool and parents will smile to see washers and dryers.
Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
One Property. Over a 1,000 acres. And about a jillion ways to have an amazing vacation. Take the poolscape. The whatscape? It"s only the chic new term for a multi-tiered pool deck that sprawls with an adult infinity pool, a huge family-friendly pool, a splash park, and tiered lounge seating all stretching down toward the white sand beach. The party at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort also includes meals served poolside, two hot tubs and three fire features with ridiculous views of the Atlantic. Dine in one of the resort"s nine restaurants, including the stunning Oceanside -- Omni"s poolside restaurant that overlooks the sea.
This full-service resort is designed for maximum beach fun, with outstanding service; loads of activities, like seasonal Steak Night (36 ounce ribeye at Marche"s outdoor grill with live music on select nights); tennis courts with lessons; a decadent spa; and three golf courses. Stand-up paddle boarding? Definitely. Segway tours (Amelia"s Wheels) that zoom through the nature-filled grounds? Yep. Opulent rooms and suites decked in soothing beach accents? Oh, yeah.
Residence Inn by Marriott Amelia Island
Crossing your fingers and toes for a destination stay minus the sky-high price tag? The affordable Residence Inn Amelia Island sits both a breezy 3 blocks from a gorgeous beach and at the southern entrance of the Egans Creek Greenway (300 acres of protected nature ideal for walking, biking and spotting wildlife). This all-suites hotel sports amenities galore, including a fun outdoor pool, a whirlpool, a fire pit, complimentary breakfast in the morning with a bounty of tasty choices, and a fabulous shuttle that will chauffeur you to the beach, the Historic District, every island restaurant -- and pick you up later. Your suite"s full kitchen lets you whip up entire meals and prep a beach picnic for the next day. The Residence Inn loves to sneak in complimentary extras for guests, too, like snow cones at the pool and guided yoga on the beach. And just five minutes from the Residence Inn is the Pirate Playground, which opened in 2014.
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island delivers an opulent beach getaway with almost 2 miles of beachfront assuring that all 446 rooms and suites get a private balcony paired with a coastal or direct ocean view. The resort offers exceptional kids" and adult activities, including 18 holes of championship golf, four clay tennis courts (private lessons and summer camp for kids available), a fitness center and extravagant pools. Speaking of which, this Ritz-Carlton boasts a stunning outdoor pool with multi-level seating, poolside cabanas, and a kids" play area. A large warm indoor pool lets you swim and play no matter the weather. The property also boasts four restaurants (Salt is the resort"s centerpiece dining spot that delivers an exquisite experience), four cocktail lounges and an active Ritz Kids program.
Did we mention the destination spa? This incredible relaxation spot is brimming in luxury treatments, plus all-day use of the facilities that include a steam room, a Jacuzzi, a sauna, and gorgeous lounges stocked with teas, magazines and fruit. The spa even sports its own pool with underwater music. Not in the mood for a treatment? A reasonable $50 serves up an all-day (until 7 p.m.) vacation-within-a-vacation in this beautiful facility.
The Seaside Amelia Inn
Gem alert! Located on Amelia Island"s phenomenal Main Beach and offering a plethora of amenities, the three-level Seaside Amelia Inn is return-worthy for those looking for an awesome budget beach stay.
True, the rooms are small, so families will want to consider reserving the Ocean View Suite that comes with or without a small terrace. About half of the rooms have an ocean view and if a dramatic view is important, ask for an east side room on an upper floor. Every room and suite comes with a mini-fridge, microwave and coffeemaker. A large breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi are all complimentary. You"ll also find complimentary chaise lounges and umbrellas courtesy of the inn, awaiting your happy selves on the beach. The daily complimentary full breakfast cooked-to-order is outstanding, the small property is well cared for and clean, and the rooftop deck is the spot for spotting dolphins. Pet owners will love that the inn welcomes polite pups (small and big) on the ground floor.
Villas of Amelia Island Plantation
The Villas of Amelia Island Plantation are part of -- yet physically separate from -- the Omni Amelia Island Plantation proper and offers luxurious studios, one-, two, and three-bedroom units with full kitchens, dining areas, spacious living rooms, multiple baths, private bedrooms, washers/dryers and more. In total, the property has 12 villa complexes, each with its own unique vibe. For example, the Racquet Park boasts 23 clay tennis courts ideal for the tennis buff family. Families might want the Shipwatch Villa that sports the only heated (and large) outdoor pool. Some complexes sit directly on the links and many face the ocean. None are right on the beach, so if being further from the sand is a deal-breaker, you might prefer the main Omni building. Most complexes have a pool, but all villa guests receive full access to the Omni"s multi-tiered resort poolscape, spa and activities at the main building.
Given that the Omni"s property sprawls over 1,000-plus acres, you"re probably wondering how to get from one spot to the next. The Omni shuttles whisk guests throughout the property from 6 a.m. to about 1 a.m. every day. Toting the kids" scooter or bikes is a great idea.
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