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(21km) long – it packs in a lot more besides, including a fi lm festival, musical and sporting events, and seven top golf courses.


With accommodation to suit every budget and pristine sands to stroll along, it is no wonder Amelia Island was named as a Top 25 Island in the World to visit in 2013 in the Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards.


Ponte Vedra Beach South of Jacksonville lies Ponte Vedra Beach, a name familiar to golf fans as it is the venue of the annual Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass with its formidable 17th-hole island green. But there’s more to Ponte


Vedra Beach than golf. Giant sand dunes and white beaches, natural wonders to explore, classy shopping and delicious dining experiences make it a family destination to savour. Quaint St. Augustine, just down the Atlantic coast from the border, is America’s oldest city with centuries-old buildings, including the 17th Century military fort Castillo de San Marcos, vying


for attention alongside modern hotels, shops and animal reserves. There are many living history attractions and children will love pretending to be a pirate invading the city or digging through a reconstructed archeological site. St. Augustine’s beaches, including Crescent Beach, Vilano Beach and St. Augustine Beach, make up miles of beautiful coastline. Anastasia State Park is a protected bird sanctuary with some superb beaches and it includes nature trails, fi shing, camping and canoeing. Palm Coast is another paradise for nature lovers, and eco-tours by boat or land transport are a great way to explore the area. Keep an eye open for playful dolphins and gentle manatees.


Chill-out zone Next door, Flagler Beach is an excellent base for fi shermen or visitors who just want to chill out on miles of uncrowded beaches. Moving inland, Crescent City is a small, rural town nestling between two lakes, Lake Stella and Crescent Lake. At the north end of Crescent Lake is Dunns Creek


Quaint St. Augustine, just down the Atlantic coast from the border, is America’s oldest city with centuries-old buildings, including the 17th Century military fort Castillo de San Marcos


Conservation Area where visitors may spot alligators, bobcats and white-tailed deer. Yellow-crowned night herons and red-shouldered hawks are a colourful addition to the bird population.


Eight miles (13km) up the road, Palatka is the seat of Putnam County, famous for its local festivals. The Florida Azalea Festival is held in March over two days and includes a parade as well as an arts and crafts show. The Blue Crab Festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend and features carnival rides, live music and a seafood cook- off.


Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka has hiking and nature trails or visitors can relax in





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