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SUMMER TRAVEL By Nicole Flesvig Bruland

Amelia Island, Florida Kids, we’re not in Naples anymore! W

ith the fast pace of life today, fit- ting in a family vacation seems like nothing short of a miracle.

So when we do locate that elusive opening in our overlapping calendars, we want a trip that is family-friendly and fun, yet relaxing and different. How about Amelia Island, Florida? Situated just a stone’s throw from

Jacksonville (a 5-hour drive from Naples), Amelia Island is an historical setting sur- rounded by some of the most interesting, and distinctly northern Floridian land- scapes ready for exploration. Known as the “Isle of Eight Flags”, the island is the only territory in the United States to have been ruled under eight flags of sovereignty. Situ- ated on the Atlantic Ocean, Amelia Island was once a base of operations for pirates and rum-runners and is named after Princess Amelia, daughter of England’s King George II. More recently, Amelia Island placed in five categories in the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler readers’ choice awards, including


a No. 8 ranking among the top 10 islands in the United States.

Where to Stay While there are plenty of options for ac- commodations on the island, one resort in particular caters to families. The 1,350-acre Omni Amelia Island Plantation blends true southern hospitality with a family-oriented Atlantic beach resort. With everything un- der the sun (and oaks) for kids and adults alike, it’s a place where kids feel special from the moment they arrive, allowing parents to unplug and return to a simpler time. Upon check-in, kids are greeted by

smiling staff and presented with their very own “Discovery” welcome backpack, filled with everything they need to begin their Amelia Island adventure: mini flying disc, hacky sack ball, magnifying glass, treasure map, crayons, and snacks. A rarity in most travel experiences with children, this freebie sparked imaginative play right away with my own kids, who turned them into jet

packs. Milk and cookies await your arrival at your oceanfront room, a welcome snack after some time on the road.

Tree Houses and Turtles One amenity we especially enjoyed was the complementary resort shuttles. Whether you are playing tennis or golf, shopping, or at the beach, just ask any staff member to call the shuttle for you and you’ll be on your way. You can explore the entire resort without taking your car keys out of your pocket. And there is plenty to discover: spend the day at the beach, relax in the spa, stroll through the quaint lakeside shopping village and have refreshments at the Marché Burrette, or enjoy a changing array of on- site activities including parks, golf, tennis, water sports, inflatable water slides, and educational activities. Inspired by our jet packs, we decided

to explore the plantation so we headed over to Amelia’s Wheels. This cute and af- fordable little resort shop offers an array of

NEAPOLITANfamily • May 2012

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