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Island Adventure

Amelia Island is known for its beaches, which Condé Nast Traveler has lauded as among Florida’s best, but sunbathing may be the least exciting of the region’s myriad activities. More adventurous visitors will thrill at the chance to soar alongside seabirds, traipse through history at a Civil War fort and paddle past sandy dunes and salt marshes, just to name three possible pursuits on this beautiful barrier island. In this tropical paradise, even the moments you spend recharging can be refreshing.

A man and woman ride horses on the beach

Day

1

MORNING
  • The Wheel Deal.

    From Peters Point Beachfront Park, point your beach cruisers south and pedal 6 miles down the Amelia Island Trail. The dedicated multiuse path takes advantage of the leafy tree canopy near Highway A1A to provide riders with sun-dappled shade for much of the route. 

  • Hot to Trot.

    Saddle up on one of the seasoned trail horses at Kelly Seahorse Ranch and begin your breathtaking ride on miles of beach — your exclusive chance to explore the undeveloped Atlantic shore of Amelia Island State Park, at the far south end of the island, on horseback.

MIDDAY
  • Animal Instincts.

    Cross the Nassau Sound Bridge and immerse yourself in coastal nature during a guided hike in the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, a nationally protected area where you can immerse yourself in coastal nature during a guided hike. The saltwater cliffs, dunes, marshes, shoals and coves are home to everything from armadillos and tortoises to fiddler crabs and manta rays.

     

     

     

AFTERNOON
  • Lounge Act.

    Sink into Adirondack chairs outside The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and enjoy the tranquility of miles of dune-lined beachfront. Or relax in the privacy of your room or suite; each one boasts a private balcony with coastal or direct ocean views.

  • Raise Your Glasses.

    In honor of the area’s swashbuckling history, the hotel hosts a Pirate Toast every afternoon in the Main Lobby. Then head to The Lobby Bar for First Call, when the bar’s head mixologist introduces that day’s small-batch house-infused spirit, steeped for 12 hours in a slow-drip infuser before being decanted for guests.

EVENING
  • New South.

    Sample the modern interpretations of regional cuisine on the dinner menu at 29 South. Chef Scott Schwartz sources ingredients from local anglers and farmers to create playful, delicious favorites such as sweet tea-brined Berkshire pork chops and king crab cavatelli with truffle ricotta, sweet peas and corn broth.

Two kayaks in the ocean

Day

2

MORNING
  • Tour de Force.

    Paddle through the scenic salt marshes of the Intracoastal Waterway during a kayak tour arranged with Riptide Watersports.

MIDDAY
  • Clinch the Deal.

    Explore U.S. Civil War history at Fort Clinch State Park. Tour the pentagonal brick namesake building that served as a base for Union operations and troops, then wander the maritime hammocks, self-guided trails and 3 miles of shoreline.

AFTERNOON
  • Get Your Bearings.

    Sample the spirits during a tour and tasting at Marlin & Barrel distillery. The Bearing Light Rum and Venture Craft Vodka are created from Florida molasses, while the Blossom Orangecello and Grapefruitcello are both made with hand-zested Florida citrus.

EVENING
  • A Taste of Spain.

    Order the paella at España restaurant, which uses locally sourced seafood and a traditional paella pan when creating its version of the classic Spanish dish. The impressive selection of tapas, meanwhile, reflects a global palate, with options including Andalusian-style escargot, Portuguese chorizo and Mozambique-style shrimp.

A woman lying in a hammock while a therapist massages her shoulders

Day

3

MORNING
  • Hang 10.

    The best time for a hang-gliding flight is first thing in the morning, before the weather has the chance to become temperamental. Strap in for an hourlong session with the staff at Hang Glide USA and soar over the Intracoastal Waterway, Fernandina Beach’s historic sites, Amelia Island State Park, St. Marys River and Cumberland Island. 

MIDDAY
  • Sensory Suspension.

    The unique Heaven in a Hammock experience at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Amelia Island helps balance the body and calm the mind through touch therapy while you rest comfortably in a hammock. 

AFTERNOON
  • Flight of Fancy.

    Quaff and compare a quartet of sangrias with a flight at Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, the restaurant created by Kenny Gilbert, a “Top Chef” star (and former chef de cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island). 

EVENING
  • Go on a Culinary Adventure.

    Reserve the four-course Chef’s Adventure signature tasting menu at Salt, which artfully showcases the region’s finest seasonal produce, fish and meats. To make the evening even more special, pair each course with a sommelier-selected wine.

  • Where There’s Smoke …

    Order the signature Smoked Old Fashioned at The Lobby Bar, which combines hickory-smoked bourbon with elderflower and maraschino liqueurs and orange bitters.