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About Us

Destination Amelia

Destination Amelia is a full-service vacation rental property management company, specializing in short-term vacation rentals. When our company began in 2012, we made a commitment to provide outstanding, personal service to both our owners and guests. As we have grown over the years, our management team has maintained that commitment. We have built a team that is like a family and we truly care about the experience of our guests.

Family-Owned Business

Destination Amelia was founded in 2012 by Ryan and Joanna Deems. Amelia Island has always held a special place in their hearts - they grew up vacationing on Amelia Island, were married at the Amelia Island Plantation Chapel, and soon thereafter relocated to Amelia Island to make it their home. They feel blessed to be able to raise their three children in their favorite place in the world and are grateful for the opportunity to help others love Amelia Island like they do.

Our Properties

We offer guests a variety of fully furnished vacation rental properties (condos, villas, and single family homes) on Amelia Island. These properties range in size and occupancy, and include a variety of amenities. We also offer a number of pet-friendly properties. Our goal is to always offer high quality, clean, and well-maintained properties at an excellent value. In keeping with our commitment to outstanding service, we only accept new properties that we would enjoy staying in ourselves.

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Meet The Destination Amelia Team

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Ryan Deems

President & Founder

Ryan is the president and founder of Destination Amelia. He and his wife Joanna started the business in 2012. Ryan holds a BS in Business Marketing from Berry College and has a strong background in marketing and customer service. He has a passion for the vacation rental industry and takes pride in delivering great personal service to both owners and guests. He feels called to this role and sees it as an opportunity to serve others and help families make their own special memories on Amelia Island. Amelia Island is a very special place to his family. He grew up vacationing on Amelia Island Plantation throughout his childhood, he and his wife were engaged and married on the island, and later relocated permanently to Amelia Island in 2010. They now feel blessed to raise their three daughters in this place that is so special to them. Ryan is so thankful to have a career he enjoys and feels called to, while also living and raising his family in a place he loves.

Favorite restaurant? T Ray's - My favorite place for fried shrimp and a great laid-back, small town atmosphere.

Favorite beach activity? Anything with family! Late afternoon/evenings are my favorite time for playing on the beach with my family and looking for shark's teeth. 

Top sunset spot? Walker's Landing on Amelia Island Plantation. Second choice is the marina downtown right after getting ice-cream at Fantastic Fudge.

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Joanna Deems

Co-Founder

Joanna owns Destination Amelia with her husband Ryan. She has a background in communications and leadership and holds a BA in Political Science from Berry College. She supports Ryan and the Destination Amelia team in decision making and planning, but her primary role is staying home with their three young daughters. Ryan and Joanna enjoy having their children take part in the family business and try to set an example of leading with integrity.

Favorite restaurant? Cafe Karibo! Everything on the menu I've tried is delicious (especially the Shrimp ’n Grits) and downtown atmosphere/outdoor seating is a favorite.

Favorite beach activity? Everything - the beach is my happy place. The girls and I could spend hours exploring, playing in tide pools, and looking for shark's teeth. Bonus when dad is there to boogie board and jump waves.

Top sunset spot? Walker's Landing on Amelia Island Plantation. It's where we had our wedding reception in 2007 and will always be our “spot".

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Chelsea Sandusky

Marketing Manager & Guest Services Specialist

Born in Ft. Lauderdale and raised in metro Atlanta, Chelsea fell in love with Amelia Island while on family vacations growing up. Before relocating here with her husband (Charles) in 2017, she put her Bachelors in Mass Communication to work writing full-time for multiple newspapers and magazines for seven years. As a travel enthusiast, she’s thrilled to come into work every day to help fellow travelers plan a trip to beautiful Amelia Island. She considers herself a digital marketing geek and photography aficionado. When not in the office, she’s usually cuddling her kids, walking her rescue dog, trying a new restaurant with her husband, or dreaming about her next adventure!

Favorite restaurant? With over 90 restaurants to choose from, our island makes it hard for me to pick just one! So here’s two! I love the bistro fare and shaded garden patios at Cafe Karibo downtown, but David’s is an exceptional experience for special occasions!

Favorite beach activity? Pulling my chair right up to the shoreline, feeling the waves at my feet, and watching my children play in the surf.

Top sunset spot? Out on the water is best! Weather permitting, nothing beats views from a kayak, a private boat charter or the Amelia River Cruises’ sunset tour!

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Charles Sandusky

Property Operations Manager

Charles has a bachelors in Health Education: Exercise Science and a masters in Divinity. He’s spent around eight years training people to achieve health and wellness goals, five years walking alongside people to help them know and follow God, and is currently helping people’s stays go more smoothly through inspecting and maintaining our properties in an operations capacity. He’s handy, loves people, and is very observant.

Favorite restaurant? Surcheros is my go-to because they have great, healthy options, the staff are friendly, and it’s a nice, clean atmosphere. Yum! Can’t beat the quality and ease for a good, quick meal.

Favorite beach activity? So far, skim boarding and shark tooth hunting are my top-rated beach activities; though, I’m having a go at surfing and SUP.

Top sunset spot? The grassy field/park overlooking the river at Old Town can’t be beat for sunsets. During a time of year that’s not bad on bugs, it’s THE best.

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Traci Peevy

Guest Services Specialist

In 2014, Traci and her family decided they wanted to live at the beach, so they moved from busy Atlanta to serene Amelia Island. In her free time, Traci enjoys bike riding downtown and hunting for shark teeth at Fort Clinch. Traci was a teacher for many years, but she is thrilled to now be able to share everything she loves about living in Fernandina Beach!

Favorite restaurant? The Patio Place is absolutely my favorite restaurant on the island. The menu is freshly-sourced and changes throughout the year. EVERYTHING is delicious!

Favorite beach activity? My dog, Zeke, and I love to take morning beach walks together.

Top sunset spot? I enjoy sunrises more than sunsets, and recommend ANY spot on the beach to enjoy the sunrise!

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Patti Roberts

Property Operations Specialist

Fifteen years ago, Patti gave up the mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah for the beaches of Amelia Island. As a frequent traveler and retired air traffic controller who worked airplanes for 26 years, Patti’s life experience makes her work for Destination Amelia a perfect fit. Clever, quick and keen on stylish interior design, she’s very attentive to the details that make a property stand apart. Due to her love for travel, she knows what it feels like to walk into a rental and have it fit your idea of a home away from home. When not updating a property’s inventory or freshening up it’s decor, Patti loves walking her dog on the beach (on a leash of course) and thoroughly enjoys the small town atmosphere that exists on Amelia.

Favorite restaurant? The veggie burger at Cafe Karibo is a favorite. Arte Pizza makes some amazing salads in addition to pizza!

Favorite island activity? Bike trails are such a great plus on the island…I highly recommend exploring on two wheels! Also, Fort Clinch is a must! Just the drive into the fort has the prettiest oak tree canopy road!

Top sunset spot? I love watching the sunset upstairs at the Salty Pelican.

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Rusty Buchanan

Maintenance Lead

Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Rusty spent 10 years in the Air Force and 24 years in the FAA as an Air Traffic Controller. He moved to Fernandina Beach in 2007. Having grown up in an era "where you fixed things before you threw it away", he enjoys figuring out how things work and fixing the problem.

Favorite restaurant? I like watching the sunset at Salty Pelican!

Favorite island activity? Playing golf on the many courses here on Amelia!

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John and Jenny Robinson

Maintenance Leads

John and Jenny Robinson have been residents of Nassau County for over 30 years and in all the work they do for Destination Amelia, their goal is to keep properties in pristine shape. They look out for the best interest of our guests in maintaining a clean and safe environment. In their personal lives, they're all about their family and helping friends. Having raised four children, they now enjoy as much time as they can with their grandbabies. They love cooking, camping whenever possible, catching sunrises on the beach, and sunsets on the river side of Nassau. Often they can be found in their favorite spot - on the water!

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