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Easy, Breezy Amelia Island

Hunting for a carefree family getaway? It’s just down the coast.

A vacation shouldn’t be hard. It should be easy, effortless, filled with plenty of your favorite activities, all conveniently close by. Your surroundings should be inspiring, complete with sights, sounds, and smells that awaken your senses and make you feel alive and in the moment.

For isn’t that what the best vacations do? They offer an escape from your normal routine, a chance to remember what you love about life. They encourage you to slow down, to get in touch with the person that hides way down beneath the grocery lists, soccer practices, and doctor’s appointments.

And I know a perfect place where you can go to enjoy a relaxing break from the schedules of life. Just down the coast on a barrier island in Florida’s northeast corner, Omni Amelia Island Plantation has just what you need to leave your cares behind.

Perfect for Families or a Girlfriend Getaway

Largest Poolscape in Northern Florida

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While everyone has a different idea of what makes a perfect vacation, somehow Omni Amelia Island Plantation has figured out the right combination of ingredients to create the ideal escape. If you want it, it’s here. From sports to nature, shopping to fine dining, luxury accommodations to family activities, this resort delivers and all in a setting that everyone agrees puts Omni Amelia Island Plantation in a class of its own.

Picture acres of ancient live oak trees draped in Spanish moss. Just beyond, palm trees fringe a sparkling pool, where a chaise lounge calls your name. Further yet an expansive beach spreads before you with opportunities for swimming, shelling, birdwatching, or simply being alone with your thoughts as you stroll along the shore, the sun warming your face and a salty breeze ruffling your hair.

You’ll find time for soul searching here whether you’re alone, on a family vacation with spouse and kids, or accompanied by a friend on a girlfriend getaway. For that’s one of the things that makes Omni Amelia Island Plantation such a regal retreat: the resort is like its own little kingdom, offering 1,350 acres of guilt-free pleasure.

Let’s start with accommodations. More than 400 spacious, luxurious oceanfront rooms and suites await, each featuring a balcony or patio—perfect for watching the sunrise while sipping an early-morning cup of coffee. It’s also an ideal spot for planning just how you want to spend your day.

You could start out with an early morning jog along the resort’s miles of shaded paths or run on the beach with the busy little shorebirds as company. If golf is your bag, Omni Amelia Island Plantation offers a first-class golf experience. Named a “Top 121 Golf Resorts in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler, the resort is home to two championship courses, where you can practice your swing.

If tennis is your game, check out Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort’s prestigious tennis facility set beneath a canopy of majestic live oaks and featuring 23 clay courts. Here you can work with pros to improve your backhand. Biking is another alternative, perfect for families with children who want to get fit together.

The resort is home to the largest poolscape in northern Florida, featuring an infinity edge adult-only pool, a 10,000-square-foot family-friendly pool, a children’s splash park, and two hot tubs, so you’ll want to plan some dreamy hours by the pool. Bring a good book, listen to your iPod, write in your journal, or just let your mind go blank for a change and revel in the sounds of the waves crashing nearby and the happy shouts of children playing in the pool. Don’t forget your sunscreen and a frosty tropical beverage!

Go Paddle Boarding or Rent a Segway

Next Head to the Spa for a Lomi-Lomi Massage

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After your siesta, how about some excitement? How about paddle boarding or a kayak tour led by a naturalist? Or follow me to Amelia’s Wheels, where you can ride on one the newest forms of modern transportation, a Segway, also called a human transporter. Maybe you’ve seen one of these strange-looking two-wheeled contraptions zoom by in an airport. I’ve always been curious about how they work, and finally I have the chance to find out.

After watching a movie about safety rules, I strap on my helmet, raring to go. First a helpful staff member shows me how to get on and off the Segway, which is a lot harder than it sounds. You need a good sense of balance just to stand on the Segway and to ride it properly.

Leaning backwards or forwards is actually what makes the Segway go and stop. The farther you lean forward the faster you go. The farther you lean back, the more abruptly you’ll slow down and stop. The process takes getting used to, but soon I’m off touring the resort, zooming up and down trails at a whopping 10 mph.

After all the excitement of zipping around on my Segway, it’s time to be transported to a more spiritual realm at the Spa at Omni Amelia Island Plantation. Here you can enjoy the ultimate escape in the resort’s state-of-the-art facility. Built to resemble old Florida architectural, the spa blends in perfectly with the natural surroundings and features a meditation garden and relaxing chairs for unwinding before your treatment begins.

Choose from a mango body scrub or a Lomi Lomi massage based on the Hawaiaan hula dance. Couples massages and rejuvenating packages are also available. I surrender my body and soul to an experienced therapist for an hour and enjoy a sublime aromatherapy massage.

Join an Eco Bike Hike

Or Go on a Guided Fishing Trip

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Parents agree that keeping the kids happy is integral to a successful vacation, and Omni Amelia Island Plantation prides itself on its children’s programs. Camp Amelia offers sessions for kids from ages 4-10. Camp Amelia @ Night allows parents to have a fun night out. Campers get to meet and interact with new friends, experience nightly resort activities, test their creativity with crafting, and unleash their imaginations during extreme game time.

Vacationing with your family is all about spending quality time together, and Omni Amelia Island Plantation offers a variety of family-friendly programs that are educational and fun. Besides hanging out together at the pool or on the beach, you can try your luck fishing or go for a sunset sail.

Many of the resort’s family activities are nature oriented. In fact, the resort’s nature center offers great family tours, such as a marsh walk and an Eco Bike Hike. Fishing is also a favorite pastime at the resort. Guided fishing trips are available or you can rent a pole and plan your own family fishing outing.

Speaking of food, dining is an adventure at Omni Amelia Island Plantation, starting with a luscious breakfast buffet at The Sunrise Café. Overlooking the Atlantic, the café offers fresh fruits, bread, and pastries, along with eggs any way you want them. Choices abound for lunch and include Marché Burette, a festive gourmet market with tables outside where you can munch on salads, sandwiches, or a wood-fired pizza with your choice of toppings. Or have a bite at the Oceanside, which offers everything from juicy beach burgers to coal-roasted oysters. For dinner you can try Veranda, where Executive Chef Todd Ruiz will tempt your taste buds with gastronomic delights. In total, the resort offers nine different dining options. No chance of going hungry on this vacation!

A vacation would not be complete without a shopping expedition. At Omni Amelia Island Plantation, you don’t have to go far. The Shops at Omni Amelia Island Plantation offer an oasis of shopping pleasure. Here you’ll find everything from furniture to fashion, gifts to gadgets, jewelry to gelato. Set on the banks of a picturesque pond, the shops will satisfy even the most insatiable shopper. And when you need a rest, shaded benches line the paths, where you and your credit card can cool off.

A vacation is an investment in yourself. It validates your worth. You deserve to splurge on a few days in a serene setting where you can soothe your soul, even if it means making a few sacrifices to get there. And if “easy” is on the top of your list of ingredients for a successful vacation, you’ll find Omni Amelia Island Plantation meets your criteria and more. It’s a destination you’ll want to visit again and again. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Omni Amelia Island Plantation is about a ten-hour drive from Virginia Beach. Or leave your car at home and fly nonstop to Jacksonville Int’l Airport on Southwest and arrange transportation to the resort. Talk about easy! For more information, visit www.omnihotels.com/hotels/amelia-island-plantation.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

Richmond Ballet: Enter to Win Tickets to The Nutcracker at Chrysler Hall

The Magic of the Season! We’re excited to give away tickets to Richmond Ballet’s The Nutcracker December 6-8 with Virginia Symphony at Chrysler Hall. 5 lucky...

Free to Enter!