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Florida’s Historic Coast

National ParksExtend your cycling season in warmer climes with VBT’s Florida bike tour. You’ll enjoy soft-sand beaches and glorious sunshine, for sure. You’ll also cycle into a surprising past and vibrant natural world that enriches your body, mind and spirit.

  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 4 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Perfect for those trying a bike vacation for the first time.

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Florida’s Historic Coast Bike Vacation

The face of rural, coastal Florida is lit by sunshine and refreshed by clean salt air off the curling coast of the Atlantic Ocean and its endless inland rivers. The pace of life is slower here than in the state’s better-known resort communities—and the residents have learned how to savor the difference, and how to share it, too. On VBT’s newest Southern vacation, you’ll delight in five nights in exquisite small inns and hotels that display the unique charm that is central to coastal living. Cycle the beautiful, unbroken shore, along timeless island pathways, and through communities alive with both African-American and Gilded Age heritage and hospitality.

Cultural Highlights

  • Feel the relaxing pace of daily life with 5 nights in luxurious small inns and hotels
  • Cycle through lovely historic districts and along protected island beaches
  • Discover a rich architectural heritage, reflecting Spanish, French and English influences
  • Walk from our charming inn through charming and historic Fernandina Beach
  • Paddle your kayak through beautiful Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve
  • Gather for a picnic lunch of fresh, locally sourced ingredients
  • Discover the dramatic legacy of Southern life at Kingsley Plantation
  • Cycle through Anastasia State Park, rich with wildlife and pristine beaches
  • Enjoy a guided visit at St. Augustine Lighthouse, where breathtaking views await
  • Board the schooner Freedom for a delightful sunset sail

What to Expect

This tour offers riding almost exclusively on roadways alongside vehicular traffic. In many cases, roadways have marked bike lanes. We have chosen quieter options where possible. Scenic A1A is busier but accustomed to cycle traffic. There are no hills or dirt roads. Of course, our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance or wish for a shorter ride option.

Average Daily Mileage: 15 – 35 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 4 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – St. Augustine
Jan 68°/47°  Feb 68°/47°  Mar 74°/53°  Apr 79°/58°  Oct 81°/64°  Nov 74°/54° Dec 69°/48°

Average Precipitation (in.) – St. Augustine
Jan 2.5  Feb 3.1  Mar 3.4  Apr 2.9  Oct 5.5  Nov 2.3 Dec 2.8

What’s Included:

• 5 nights in luxurious, small inns and hotels
• 11 meals – 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
FREE use of our custom VBT bicycle and helmet
• Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
• FULL VAN SUPPORT
• Daily route directions and maps
• Welcome reception
• Sightseeing and cultural activities
• Transfers
• A kayak excursion in the Timucuan Preserve
• Sunset sail on the schooner Freedom
• 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation. See details.
• Good Buy Plan

New! Reading List

Click here to download our Suggested Reading List.

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2017 Land Only Single Supplement: $595

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Arrive on Amelia Island / Warm-up ride through historic district

Our tour begins at the Hoyt House in Fernandina Beach, on Amelia Island, Florida. If you are flying to Jacksonville, East Coast Transportation will make one complimentary transfer for VBT guests from the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) to the inn. The shuttle works on a “show and go” basis and departs from the airport at 12:30 pm. Shuttle reservations are not required or available. Connect with the shuttle on the ground floor in the “Meet and Greet” area located across from baggage claim carousel #1. The driver will be holding a VBT sign.

Please note that the shuttle departs promptly at 12:30 pm. If your flight arrives after this time, you will need to arrange your own transportation to the inn at your own expense. Taxis and shared-ride services are conveniently located on the lower level outside of baggage claim. The following companies offer transportation: Gator City Taxi (904) 999-9999, Go Airport Shuttle & Sedan of Jacksonville (904) 353-8880. Travel time from Jacksonville International Airport is approximately 35 minutes. Taxi fare is approximately $60.

For guests driving to the tour, parking is available without charge at Hoyt House and Williams House during your stay on Amelia Island. Note that your car will need to be moved to a public location for the remainder of the tour when you check out.

We check-in at Hoyt House, though our group will be split between Hoyt House and Williams House, two Victorian inns located a block apart. Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at 2:00 pm, dressed in your cycling clothes, for a bike fitting and a brief cycling-skills clinic. A warm-up ride takes us on an introductory loop through Fernandina Beach’s protected historic district. There’ll be time to explore on and off your bike before returning to the inn. VBT leaders will assist you with moving your vehicle to adjacent street parking, where overnight parking is permitted.

Settle into your room, then gather at 6:00 pm for an orientation meeting and welcome reception. Dinner tonight is at one of the town’s well regarded restaurants.

Hotel: Hoyt House or Williams House
Meals: D
Daily Options: 9 miles

DAY 2: Circle Amelia Island / Fort Clinch State Park / American Beach / Lunch at the Beach

Today you set out to explore Amelia Island by bike from your inn, setting your own pace. Remarkably, Amelia Island boasts 4,000 years of history and is the only place in the U.S. to have been ruled under eight different flags. Throughout your invigorating day, you’ll circumnavigate the island, just two miles wide and 13 miles long. You’ll pass the state’s oldest lighthouse, wide beaches, and plenty of inviting spots to stop, relax, and take in the lovely ocean side vistas.

In the morning, you ride under live oak-canopied roads to Fort Clinch. You’ll have time explore the fort itself before visiting the park’s pier. You may take the time to dig your toes into the white sand beach or wade out into the Atlantic Ocean.

Pause for an included lunch at a popular restaurant on Seaside Beach.

After lunch you cycle past American Beach, where the African American community came to swim and socialize during the time of segregation. Cultural icons from Zora Neale Hurston to Ray Charles to Hank Aaron soaked up the rays here. The enclave was established by Florida’s first African American millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, and his Afro-American Life Insurance Company.

In the early evening, you’ll have time for a relaxed stroll through the Historic District of Fernandina Beach, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Afterwards, enjoy dinner on your own in one of the town’s restaurants. There are some great options where you can savor your meal al fresco.

Hotel: Hoyt House or Williams House
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 15 or 27 miles

DAY 3: Timucuan Preserve / Kayak Excursion / Fort George Island

After a hearty breakfast, you hop on your bike and head south, leaving Amelia Island. Later, arrive at the Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve, where kayaks await you for an exciting nature excursion. After an introduction to our vessels, set out into the marshes. Your route is designed so you will paddle with the current, allowing you the opportunity to fine-tune your paddling or take time to observe the flora and fauna up close. The salt marsh attracts abundant wildlife. Your guide will help you seek out wood storks, osprey, great blue heron, snowy egret, bald eagle, otter, dolphin, bobcat, and alligator. You need not have prior kayak experience to enjoy today’s outing. Your Trip Leaders have prepared a picnic lunch of locally sourced ingredients that you will enjoy here.

After lunch, continue cycling south and onto Fort George Island. Your destination is Kingsley Plantation, at the end of the island. Here you’ll browse interpretive exhibits on the plantation life of days gone by. This circa-1780 estate, established by Zephaniah Kingsley Jr., once produced indigo and Sea Island cotton. Kingsley took a teenage African princess, Anna, as his wife. Anna Kingsley later held a central role in creating a free black community.

For those wishing to ride a few more miles, continue to the Ribault Club, once a 1920s-era golf club and now an historic building on the National Historic Register. There’ll be time to see its beautiful grounds and admire palm-dotted vistas.

You shuttle from Kingsley Plantation to St. Augustine (about an hour) and check into your bay-front accommodations. America’s First City, as it is often called, celebrated the 450th anniversary of its founding in 2015. Your Trip Leaders can recommend great options for dinner on your own, all within an easy walk.

Hotel: Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 27 or 33 miles

DAY 4: Anastasia State Park / St. Augustine Lighthouse / Sunset Sail

You ride from our inn over St. Augustine’s famous Bridge of Lions to join historic Route A1A. As you cycle south, the Atlantic stretches to the horizon on your left and the Intracoastal Waterway shimmers in the sun on your right.

Your destination is Anastasia State Park, which comprises 1,600 acres of rich ecosystems and abundant wildlife. Explore up to four miles of pristine beach, the estuarine tidal marsh teeming with plant and animal life, or a self-guided nature trail that takes you through maritime hammock and onto ancient sand dunes

Later, enjoy breathtaking views from the historic St. Augustine Lighthouse. You are treated to a guided visit, showcasing some of the artifacts from the area’s earlier days. Then rejoin your bike for a ride through the Lincolnville Historic District, a 45-square-block area of the city. Once a focal point for the Civil Rights Movement, the district today contains the highest concentration of Victorian-era buildings in St. Augustine, as well as a museum and cultural center.

In the early evening, you cross the road to the City Marina and board the schooner Freedom for a delightful sunset sail. Feel free to join the crew as they raise the sails!

Hotel: Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 3, 5, 9 or 13 miles

DAY 5: Farmlands Ride / Lightner Museum / Farewell Dinner

A morning ride takes you inland to the fertile fields and small communities of rural Florida. Pedal past acres of potato fields, mostly on quiet lanes. Views of the St. John’s River keep you company for a portion of your ride.

Stop for a freshly cooked lunch at a farm-to-fork culinary market. Here on the 22-acre farm, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about the hydroponic facility, as well as the farm’s other interesting endeavors.

Back in St. Augustine, you have included admission to the Lightner Museum. Built in 1887 in Spanish Renaissance style, the impressive three-story building now contains fascinating relics from America’s Gilded Age, including a fine collection of decorative and fine arts, and offers a natural history presentation.

This afternoon, there’ll be time to take a swim or grab a refreshing drink. Gather with the group tonight for a farewell dinner celebration.

Hotel: Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 25 miles

DAY 6: St. Augustine / Depart for home

You have a final morning to explore some of St. Augustine’s galleries and shops, all right outside your door. There is so much to do in St. Augustine. You may choose to climb up to the top of the lighthouse on Anastasia Island for a spectacular view. Or take a guided tour of historic Flagler College. Its impressive centerpiece, originally built as the Ponce de Leon Hotel, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features Tiffany-glass windows and chandeliers.

Checkout time is 11:00 a.m. VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle from the inn back to the Jacksonville International Airport (JAX). The shuttle departs St. Augustine at 11:00 a.m. Travel time is approximately 60 minutes. Flights departing before 2:00 p.m. are not recommended. If you need to travel at a different time to the airport in Jacksonville, taxis are available, and the fare is approximately $125.

If you drove to the starting point of the tour, your Trip Leaders will shuttle you back to Fernandina Beach at 11:00 a.m. to retrieve your car.

Meals: B
Daily Options: Non-riding day

Florida Bike Tour Map

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Accommodations

Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront

This boutique-style hotel is an architectural salute to the rich Spanish traditions of St. Augustine. Its interconnected cottage-style buildings feature tiled roofs and wooden balconies. The hotel comprises 19 different buildings that are set around an inner courtyard and connected by an interior corridor. All of St. Augustine is right outside your door, from the historic Spanish Quarter to the Castillo de San Marcos. Guest rooms include a coffee maker, mini-refrigerator, and a spacious desk with two phones and voicemail. Free high-speed Internet access is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Williams House

The Amelia Island Williams House is a jewel in the Historic District of Fernandina Beach, Florida. This former antebellum mansion, built in 1856, is located within walking distance of all the seaside town has to offer, including its beautiful beaches. Settle into one of the porch swings and look out into a yard of 500-year-old live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. The property includes three houses and eleven rooms and was lovingly restored in 1993, opening as an inn the following year. The Williams House has won numerous awards for its excellence in hospitality.

The Hoyt House

The Hoyt House Inn of Amelia Island’s town of Fernandina Beach offers luxurious guest rooms, romantic elegance, a gourmet breakfast, and--above all—true Southern hospitality. Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and fine amenities throughout your stay. The inn is one mile from the beach and in the heart of the Historic District, a 50-block region ideal for strolling. Hoyt House is just steps away from Fernandina Beach’s marvelous restaurants and boutiques. Grab a rocking chair and relax on the porch with morning coffee or an evening drink, or slumber underneath a tree by the pool.
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