Getaway to the Beach
Spend a weekend in the surf and sand on one of the South's most beautiful islands.
Saturday--Play All Day
Eight flags have flown over the island, starting with the French in 1562. Celebrate that heritage by ordering French toast at Marina Seafood Restaurant, one of the few restaurants in town that cooks up the first meal of the day. A full breakfast starts around $3.
For golfers who want to squeeze in a round, The Ritz sports lush, private fairways ($130 greens fee on weekends before 3 p.m.). Royal Amelia ($60) and North Hampton ($65) are gorgeous semiprivate courses that won't put your budget in a hole. The island also boasts a fantastic public course, Fernandina Beach Golf Club ($40).
Plenty of activities remain other than chasing little white balls through palmettos. If you're not ensconced at an oceanfront property, make your way to one of Amelia's public areas, Main Beach or American Beach. If you aim to pull your meal out of the water, you can catch everything from Spanish mackerel to pompano right here. Bait & Tackle gladly rents the equipment you need, all for $20. The shop's owner, Capt. Jim Johnson, can take up to six people tarpon fishing (prices range $275-$425).
To land a fish sandwich the easy way, eat lunch at The Surf. The outside seating (often accompanied by live music) relaxes, as do the drinks they serve, such as the Cookie Monster and Bahama Mama. Sandwiches run about $7.50, but big eaters might want to order the Seafood Platter ($20).
Use the afternoon to shop the charming stores of Palmetto Walk, about 11 ½ miles west of The Ritz-Carlton. If you need another exciting diversion, consider learning to sail. Windward Sailing School teaches weekend courses in coastal navigation, basic seamanship, chartering, and so forth.
For dinner, Baxter's elegant dining delights visitors. The refined atmosphere doesn't negate its beach setting. People feel comfortable milling about in Hawaiian shirts. The best part about this place is that it's open till 11 p.m.