Destination: Amelia Island + Ponte Vedra Beach

Destination: Amelia Island + Ponte Vedra Beach

By:Susan B. Barnes
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The beachside communities of Amelia Island and Ponte Vedra Beach in Northeastern Florida are charming for their idyllic locales, and are flush with history, as well. Part of Florida’s Historic Coast, Amelia Island, a barrier island that spans 13 miles long, is home to the oldest existing lighthouse in Florida. It also features preserved parklands and beachfront parks, among its outdoor attractions, offering attendees the tranquility that comes with a slower pace.

Meanwhile, the area just south of Ponte Vedra Beach is the spot where Ponce de Leon first set foot on Florida. The region is now known for its championship golf courses, laid-back luxury and natural beauty. Between the two locales is St. Augustine, which was founded in 1565 by Ponce de Leon in his quest to discover the Fountain of Youth, and is the oldest city in the U.S. Attendees can access the cultural and historical attractions in St. Augustine as well as nearby Jacksonville, which offers convenient air at the Jacksonville International Airport.

Meeting planners and attendees may be pleasantly surprised by just how much there is to see and do in this part of the Sunshine State.

Why Amelia Island + Ponte Vedra Beach

  • The average daily temperature is about 70°F.
  • Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) is accessible via direct flights on eight airlines from more than 20 destinations, and 30 minutes from both Amelia Island and Ponte Vedra Beach.
  • Amelia Island is home to more than 90 independent restaurants.
  • Ponte Vedra Beach’s 40-foot sand dunes are among the highest in Florida.
  • Amelia Island and Ponte Vedra Beach are part of Florida's “First Coast of Golf” and offer more than 75 miles of world-class golf courses.

 

What’s New in Amelia Island + Ponte Vedra Beach

  • JetBlue recently added nonstop daily flights between Los Angeles and Jacksonville, Fla., and Austin, Texas and Jacksonville.
  • The Yards in Ponte Vedra Beach is a new social and outdoor sports venue, hosting golf, pickleball and tennis all in one place.
  • The Lightner Museum in St. Augustine, which is situated between Amelia Island and Ponte Vedra Beach, recently completed extensive renovations, part of which revealed bright open spaces and the transformation of the historic south terrace and garden.

 


See


Amelia Lighthouse

Amelia Island Lighthouse

Built in 1838, before Florida was a state, the Amelia Island Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in the Sunshine State. Though old sailing ships have gone by the wayside and now modern freighters and fishing boats travel the seas, the beacon of light from a third-order Fresnel lens made in Paris still helps captains navigate into the Fernandina Harbor. Private tours for groups of up to 25 are available.

Ponte Vedra Concert Hall

More than 140 concerts and events are held each year at the fully accessible Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. Shows vary from rock & roll legends to stand-up comedians, and pretty much everything in between. The 450-seated theater can be transformed into a 900-person standing-room-only venue, and planners can utilize convention and meeting space as well. Another option is groups can host a reception in the Visual Arts Lobby. Catering facilities and a bar are available onsite.

Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach, Amelia Island

The Victorian seaport village is as appealing now as it was to pirates, Gilded-Age millionaires, bootleggers, shrimpers and other colorful characters back in the day. Today, the historic district is lined with eclectic and independent shops that stretch from the harborfront down and around Centre Street, not to mention cafes and restaurants that appeal to every palate. The Artrageous Artwalk is held the second Saturday of the month when galleries keep their doors open later and host evening art events for all to enjoy.

 

For more activities and ideas ask your ALHI GSO about working with Global DMC Partners


Do


 

On the water

On the Water

Amelia Island is a barrier island, surrounded by natural landscapes that are home to an abundance of native wildlife. One of the best ways to explore the island is from the water, whether in a kayak, pontoon boat or catamaran. The Amelia Island Guide Association works with meeting and events planners to tailor outings that fit their needs, whether the entire group goes together on multiple boats, or whether planners need an assortment of kayaks, pontoon boats or fishing boats.

Play Through

Dubbed the “First Coast of Golf” Northeast Florida features more than 75 miles of worldclass golf courses, from Amelia Island to the north all the way south to Flagler Beach, including Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine in between. Within those 75 miles are the World Golf Hall of Fame, THE PLAYERS Championship, PGA TOUR and Champions Tour. Golfers traveling to the area will want to set tee times at any number of the courses found here, including the Dye’s Valley Course and the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, which hosts THE PLAYERS Championship every year in Ponte Vedra Beach; and Omni Amelia Island Oak Marsh, which has been included in Golf Digest's prestigious list of the “Top 75 Resort Courses in the U.S.”

Fernandina by Foot Walking Tour

The Fernandina Beach area on Amelia Island, which is the northernmost city on Florida’s Atlantic coast, has been a desirable destination for centuries, well before the U.S. was even founded. Throughout its history, from 1562 to 1865, eight independent flags flew over Amelia Island, from British to Spanish and more. During the one-and-ahalf-hour Eight Flags of Fernandina Tour, a knowledgeable guide shares the history of the island, including information on Spain’s influence on the region. The guide also details the reason why pirates were drawn here and divulges the effects the Civil War had on the island and its people.

 

For more activities and ideas ask your ALHI GSO about working with Global DMC Partners


Eat


 

Bob's Steak & Chop House

Bob’s Steak & Chop House, Amelia Island

Set amid Amelia Island’s natural landscape, Bob’s Steak & Chop serves up Texas-sized portions of USDA prime beef, along with seafood, chops and sides to share, not to mention classic and signature cocktails. The Bob’s Steak & Chop House team works with planners to ensure an unforgettable evening in its elegant dining room with comfortable outdoor patio space. Private dining is also available for any type of event, and a customized or a la carte menu makes it an easier choice deciding which dishes to choose.

Burlingame Restaurant, Amelia Island

Chef Chad Livingston is at the helm at this local restaurant, which makes sense since he’s a local himself, having grown up in Fernandina. Livingston and the owners’ vision for Burlingame is simple: great made-from-scratch food and cocktails and unobtrusive service in a relaxed environment. Open for dinner, the restaurant’s elevated menu features tantalizing dishes like a tomato and peach salad with burrata for a starter, shrimp and grits for a main, and pecan pie with brown-butter ice cream for dessert.

Restaurant Medure, Ponte Vedra Beach

For an unforgettable group outing, make reservations at AAA Four Diamond Restaurant Medure, which is celebrating 20 years this year. The restaurant was awarded a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. The menu features global cuisine with a local influence, including the duck ham prosciutto, cured and made in-house; the French-style foie gras torchon; and fresh specialty hand-cut and handmade pastas. For private dining options, The Alcove can seat up to 30 guests, and The Round Room is ideal for more intimate gatherings of up to 10 guests.

 

For more activities and ideas ask your ALHI GSO about working with Global DMC Partners


Stay / Meet


 

 

omni amelia

Omni Amelia Island Resort

There’s plenty of room to spread out at Omni Amelia Island Resort, which sits on 1,350 acres on the barrier island. Meeting and events planners can take advantage of Florida’s weather by hosting events outside on the resort’s new 11,000-square-foot event lawn, on the oceanfront Sunrise or Oceanview terraces, or on the beach itself. Inside, spaces include everything from traditional ballrooms, like the new 16,825square-foot Magnolia Ballroom in the Conference Center, to the Chef’s Kitchen. When it comes time to relax, each of the resort’s 404 guest rooms sits oceanfront, and all have private balconies and patios looking out at the Atlantic Ocean.

Ponte Vedra Inn

Ponte Vedra Inn & Club

The historic, AAA Five Diamond Ponte Vedra Inn & Club opened in 1928 and has hosted some of the nation’s most influential meetings and conferences over the decades. In September 2020, the inn added 41 beachfront rooms and suites with the opening of its new Ocean House and Peyton House, both of which present a modernday interpretation of this iconic property. The addition of Ocean House and Peyton House bring the total number of rooms and suites to 262, many of which have ocean views. Groups can host meetings and events at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in its more than 25,000 square feet of flexible event space, as well as on its flexible outdoor space boasting oceanfront and golf course views.

lodge & club

The Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach

Located about 1.5 miles down the beach from its sister property Ponte Vedra Inn & Club, The Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach can provide everything needed for board retreats, corporate retreats and even national conferences. The AAA Four Diamond oceanfront resort has received the Planner’s Choice Award and the Elite Meetings Award. Seven versatile function rooms comprising more than 13,000 square feet can transform to meet any planner’s needs and can accommodate groups of 10 to 150. Groups can also step outside for an occasion on the 9,000 square feet of outdoor oceanfront event space. Afterward, attendees can retreat to any one of the lodge’s 66 oceanfront guestrooms and suites.

 

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