Florida's first coast
The Northeast has always attracted attention. Almost 450 year ago, Ponce de Leon came looking for The Fountain of Youth, closely followed by the English and French seeking wealth and new territory to conquer. Today, modern explorers can investigate more than 40 miles of coastline. While Ponce de Leon didn't find the formula for eternal youth, this section of Florida remains as beautiful as ever.
Home to the oldest European settlement in the continental United States, the Northeast is nicknamed "The First Coast", but is also top drawer in other ways. Rich in heritage, culture and scenery, this region is a treasure trove for tourists and locals alike. Steeped in romance, the buildings and scenery make this an ideal destination for weddings, honeymoons and lovers alike. Golfers will never want to leave the links - courses range from the PGA's flagship Tournament Players Club at Sawgrass to challenging resort courses that will keep you on the greens from first tee to last.
Although accommodations include five-star resorts that offer everything from fine dining to luxury spa treatments, if you're a nature lover you can rough it to your heart's content. You can even fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping on the shore while camping under the stars on Amelia Island.
With sun, surf and sailing on the agenda, Northeast Florida is home to the following best beaches:
- Amelia Island: This naturalist's delight is bursting with fish and fowl. The island attracts birds of all kinds - especially snowbirds who love the peaceful beaches and natural wildlife. Nature enthusiasts come to see dolphins, manatees and whales breaking water offshore.
- Fernandina Beach: Relatively untouched by developers, this is a family-friendly location. It's also perfect for couples tying the knot with a destination wedding or those who have been hitched for years - horseback rides along the beach, golden sunsets and beautiful historic buildings make this a romantic getaway for lovebirds of any age.
- Ponte Vedra Beach: With the best golf in the South, it's hard to think beyond the course. But ghost tours, historic lighthouses, wine festivals and some of the best bird watching also draw visitors from around the world.
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