Our family loves the outdoors! But in Florida, so many of the months are not only bloody hot, but humid beyond any hair serum’s power. One of the ways we can enjoy the outdoors and stay cool any time of year is a family bike ride and it is one of our favorite ways to spend time together.
We load our bikes onto the car and head north to our favorite trail to ride — the Amelia Island Trail. We love to drive to Mayport and hop on the Mayport Ferry to cross the St. Johns River over to A1A. We enjoy seeing the shrimp boats that are sometimes docked at Mayport unloading their catch of the day. Once across the river, it’s a quick drive to park and get started on our bikes.
The Amelia Island Trail is 8.6 miles, beginning on Talbot Island and continuing all the way into Fernandina, ending on Atlantic Avenue past Centre Street. It is part of the East Coast Greenway which is an expanding trail network that stretches from Florida to Maine. The asphalt paved trail portion begins at Big Pine Trailhead on Talbot Island and ends at Peter’s Point Beachfront on Amelia Island. We typically park on Talbot Island at Blackrock Trailhead Parking lot. We ride the trail across the newly finished boardwalk over the marsh, cross A1A at the pedestrian crossing, bike over the fishing bridge, cross under the bridge on the sidewalk back under A1A, and ride through the parking lot of Amelia Island State Park to hop back on the asphalt trail.
We especially love to ride up to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation and stop for sandwiches, orange cream soda and gelato at the Marche Burette deli. Our leisurely lunch is always extended because our son loves to run around the pond and explore the courtyard area. This trip always includes a quick stop into the children’s shop in the courtyard to check out the toy department. There are other courtyard shops as well, just make sure your shopping bag can fit into your bike basket!
After we are sufficiently refueled, we may continue to ride the trail north or simply ride back to our car and return home. It never fails that our son zonks out within 5 minutes of buckling in. I cannot lie — I usually do, too.
We love riding the Amelia Island Trail because it is a fantastic way to spend time together while also being active. It is a flat, beautiful and scenic ride, shaded by lush trees that line the path most of the way. Most of the trail is separated from A1A by a tree line, so we feel safe on the path. The first couple of times we rode the path, our son still had training wheels on his bike and he loved riding a path for a long time uninterrupted, instead of on the sidewalk in our neighborhood. I truly think the longer bike rides on this path, with his training wheels on, inspired him to leave those training wheels behind sooner. If you have younger riders that may not be able to go the distance or still have training wheels, it may be best to park at Amelia Island State Park and begin the trail there. I hope to see you on the trail soon!