Monday, July 27, 2015

Rest & Relaxation at Amelia Island with Toddlers.

If you read this blog regularly you know we are not really "beach vacation" people. My parents invited us to go with them to the Ritz Carlton at Amelia Island and honestly we could not say no.

Our Picnic Lunch Location 
We did the six hour drive in almost exactly six hours. We stopped briefly for lunch, asking the friendly cashier at our bathroom stop to recommend a park in the area. We ended up by a river with a large picnic shelter and a playground. We were in and out so fast I did not catch the name of the park.

Pirate Scavenger Hunt 

Turns out the Ritz Carleton has a ton to offer for the little ones. Although our kids are too little for the Ritz Kids program, several things each day are available for all the kids when accompanied by their parents. Fish feeding, mid-morning story time, evening scavenger-hunts and pirate toasts filled our days. (The pirate toast even included drinks for the adults!)

Game Room 
The game room and movie-theater are open most of the day and offered a good diversion when we had some time to burn between other activities. The ritz kids room has a huge fish tank as well if you just need to kill a few minutes.

The beach on Amelia Island is lovely.. Its nice to be able to go to the beach first thing and play in the tide pools and look for shells and later come down and play in the shallow waves at high-tide, without dragging all our stuff down to and from the beach each time.

We saw dolphins almost every morning playing just off shore. The dune tortuous was easily spotted from the boardwalks and a few times we even saw them crossing the beach.  Early mornings meant seeing lots of birds catching fish and small crabs.

The pool has a great kids area. The water is only a few inches deep with a few splash items. The kids loved running around in this little pool. The larger pool was also a big hit, but required more adult supervision. Its 3-4ft deep all the way around with lots of space and stairs. The perfect place to tire out the kids!

The one thing the Ritz is missing is a playground, but they are plentiful on the island. We took the car out one afternoon and found three great playgrounds just on our drive across the island to Fernandina Beach. We got out to walk around a bit in Fernandina and find some postcards. There is a cute toy store the kids loved, along with several stores with bubble machines. The trains come into the port at this end of the island. The kiddos enjoyed seeing the giant cranes and all the rail cars.

We decided to upgrade to the club level. The club serves food and drinks, basically, all-day. This ended up being perfect for us. We did not have to worry about packing snacks for the kids or about meals. We mostly just grabbed food at the club when we were hungry. There was plenty to make small meals and ended up being a huge value.

Although we like to be on the go a few days relaxing at the beach were just what we needed the week before preparing for the cross country move.

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