Island Insider: Naturalist, Levi Welling

May 3, 2018
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Q: What makes you an Island Insider?
A: I made my way to Amelia Island in May of 2011,  I had just accepted an internship at Omni Amelia Island Resort Nature Center that would help me complete my degree in Recreation Administration.  Although I studied recreation, I have an appreciation for all things nature founded by my parents who spent ample time outdoors with us growing up.  The connection Amelia Island has to its natural surroundings quickly made it feel like home. While working at the Omni Amelia Island Resort, I completed the Florida Master Naturalist program and received my Level 1 kayak ACA kayak instructor certification. I love to be outside fishing, golfing, kayaking, biking, and spending time with my wife, Marilou, and our two dogs.

Q: What are your favorite things to do on Amelia Island for…
  • A friend being in town for the weekend? Kayaking, live music downtown, beach days.
  • A day with the family? Being in Florida we have lots of visitors.  Beach days, Fort Clinch and Egans creek, and shark tooth hunting usually highlight our list of activities.
  • Date night? Consist of dinner downtown and then evening walk on the beach.
  • A day off, just for you? Kayak fishing in the salt marshes for redfish.

Q: What makes Amelia Island #EverSoSlightlySpecial?
A:  Amelia Island is special to me because you really get a smalltown feel just 30 minutes away from a major US city.  Everyone is polite and welcoming to all the visitors which made my transition to the area seamless.  My main hobby is fishing so the availability of different fishing locations, or within driving distance is a huge reason why Amelia Island is my home now.
Other "insider tips" from Levi:
  • Favorite breakfast spot – T-Rays and Mrs. Carolyn’s
  • Favorite lunch spot – Timoti’s and Salty Pelican
  • Favorite dinner spot- 29 South or Amelia Tavern
  • Favorite beach – Fort Clinch beach
  • Top two special events (one cool weather, one hot weather)  Wild Amelia Festival and Christmas Lighting Ceremony at Omni Amelia Island Resort

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Located just off the coast of northeast Florida, Amelia Island is easy to reach, but hard to forget. With 13 miles of beautiful beaches, abundant native wildlife, and pristine waters, this barrier island has long been a beloved destination for visitors and residents alike.