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Florida’s Historic Coast

Ebikes Available on this TourNational ParksBefore Jamestown and Plymouth Rock there was St. Augustine—America’s first settlement. Spain’s Ponce de Leon ‘discovered’ northern Florida in 1513 and our tour follows the trail of European nations who shaped early America at the dawn of a New World.

  • 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.

For 2019, E-bikes Available on this Tour

E-Bikes Available in 2019

Limited quantities —
first come, first served.

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Florida’s Historic Coast Bike Vacation

Treasure seekers will delight in the historic state parks, colonial neighborhoods and military forts. Pedal along coastal paths, sandy beaches, and lazy rivers at the gentle pace of manatees, stopping along the way to visit America’s oldest lighthouse and civil rights landmarks. To complement this adventure, we kayak in quiet inlets and sail aboard a blockade runner in the Atlantic at sunset.

Cultural Highlights

  • Cycle through lovely historic districts and along protected beaches
  • Discover a rich architectural heritage, reflecting Spanish, French and English influences
  • Tour Fort Clinch State Park with a Union Soldier as your guide
  • Paddle your kayak through beautiful Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve and look for eagles, otters and dolphins
  • Enjoy two picnic lunches of fresh, locally sourced ingredients
  • Discover the dramatic legacy of Southern life at the 1780 Kingsley Plantation
  • Cycle through Anastasia State Park to visit the lighthouse and the site of America’s oldest permanent navigation aid
  • Relax on sweeping verandas under the shade of live oak trees and Spanish moss
  • Sail aboard the replica blockade runner Freedom for a delightful sunset cruise and cocktail
  • See the lunch counter in the Woolworth’s store in St. Augustine, a civil rights landmark
  • Visit the site of Ponce de Leon’s 1513 Florida landing

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 bicycle traffic. There are no hills or dirt roads (except for some short dirt driveways to access some sites). 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 – 30 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:

Ebikes Available on this Tour

E-Bikes Available on this tour.

Limited quantities — first come, first served. Learn more.

  • 5 nights in small, boutique bed and breakfasts and hotel
  • 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 (or alternate activity on select dates)
  • Earn 5% Frequent Traveler Credit on this tour to use on a future VBT vacation. See details.

Dates & Prices
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November
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Tour Begins: Sunday, November 11
Tour Ends: Friday, November 16

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December
Sun, Dec 2
to Fri, Dec 7

Tour Begins: Sunday, December 2
Tour Ends: Friday, December 7

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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
2018
Or, Expand All Days
Day 1: Arrive on Amelia Island / Warm-up ride through historic district / VBT Bicycle Vacation Begins

Your 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 p.m. Shuttle reservations are neither required nor 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 p.m. 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, and 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 adjacent street parking, where overnight parking is permitted, for the remainder of the tour when you check out.

You check-in at your Amelia Island inn. Please see your Final Travel Documents for the name and address of your inn. The 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 p.m., dressed in your cycling clothes, for a bike fitting and a brief cycling-skills clinic at Hoyt House. A warm-up ride takes you on an introductory loop through Fernandina Beach’s protected historic district. There’s time to explore on and off your bike before returning to the inn. Please use the amenities and services provided by the inn at which you are lodging.

Settle into your room, then gather at 5:30 p.m. at Hoyt House for a welcome reception, followed by a 6:00 p.m. orientation meeting. Dinner tonight is at one of the town’s well-regarded restaurants.

Hotel: Hoyt House or Williams House
Meals: D
Daily Options: 10 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 pass the state’s oldest lighthouse, wide beaches, and plenty of inviting spots to stop, relax, and take in the lovely ocean vistas.

In the morning, ride under live oak-canopied roads to Fort Clinch. You have time to explore the fort itself during an included guided tour by a Union soldier. You also 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 along the beach.

After lunch you cycle past American Beach, where the African-American community came to swim and socialize during the era 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.

Gather at 5:00 p.m. for a social hour and a visit from a local historian. Afterwards, enjoy a relaxed stroll through the Historic District of Fernandina Beach, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and 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 for easy paddling, allowing you the opportunity to fine-tune your skills, or to take time to observe the flora and fauna up close. The salt marsh attracts abundant wildlife. Your guide may help you spot wood storks, osprey, great blue heron, snowy egret, bald eagle, otter, and dolphin. You need not have prior kayak experience to enjoy today’s outing, an out and back paddle. 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. You pass the Ribault Club, once a 1920s-era golf club and now a historic building on the National Historic Register. Then continue to Kingsley Plantation, at the end of the island. Here you 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.

You shuttle from Kingsley Plantation to St. Augustine (about 90 minutes) 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 your inn over St. Augustine’s famous Bridge of Lions, cycling through local neighborhoods. Your destination is Anastasia State Park, which comprises 1,600 acres of rich ecosystems and abundant wildlife. Stop along the way to savor the 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. Once at the park, explore up to four miles of pristine beach and the estuarine tidal marsh teeming with plant and animal life. Enjoy time on the beach.

Then get back on 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. Along the way, you will stop for lunch at a local food truck.

There’s time this afternoon to cycle to the Nombre de Dios Mission and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Discover the early history of St. Augustine before continuing across the bridge to the beautiful beaches in the seaside town of Vilano. Or, enjoy your hotel and take a swim or grab a refreshing drink. You may take an optional student-guided tour of historic Flagler College. Originally built as the Ponce de Leon Hotel, it includes the largest collection of Tiffany stained glass windows, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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! On select dates, enjoy a surprise activity.

Hotel: Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 10 and/or 14 miles

Day 5: Farmlands Ride / Farewell Dinner

After breakfast you will transfer (30 minutes) and then 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 roads. 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. Transfer back (30 minutes) to St. Augustine and relax or explore the city.

Gather with the group tonight for a farewell dinner celebration.

Hotel: Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 25 miles and/or 11 miles

Day 6: St. Augustine / Lightner Museum / Depart for home / VBT Bicycle Vacation Ends

After breakfast 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.

Checkout time is 11:00 a.m. VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle from the hotel 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 around 1:00 p.m.

Meals: B
Daily Options: Non-riding day

Florida’s Historic Coast Map

Download Itinerary PDF

Download Now
2019
Or, Expand All Days
Day 1: Arrive on Amelia Island / Warm-up ride through historic district / VBT Bicycle Vacation Begins

Your 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 p.m. Shuttle reservations are neither required nor 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 p.m. 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, and 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, free parking is available at Hoyt House and Williams House during your stay on Amelia Island. Note that your car will need to be moved to adjacent street parking, where overnight parking is permitted, for the remainder of the tour when you check out.

Check-in at your Amelia Island inn. Please see your Final Travel Documents for the name and address of your inn since the group is split between two neighboring Victorian inns: Hoyt House and Williams House. Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at 2:00 p.m. at Hoyt House, dressed in cycling clothes for a bike fitting and a brief cycling-skills clinic. A warm-up ride takes you on an introductory loop through Fernandina Beach’s protected historic district. There’s time to explore on and off your bike before returning to the inn. Please use the amenities and services provided by the inn at which you are lodging.

Settle into your room, then gather at 5:30 p.m. at Hoyt House for a welcome reception, followed by a 6:00 p.m. orientation meeting. Dinner tonight is at one of the town’s well-regarded restaurants.

Hotel: Hoyt House or Williams House
Meals: D
Daily Options: 10 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 pass the state’s oldest lighthouse, wide beaches, and plenty of inviting spots to stop, relax, and take in the lovely ocean vistas.

In the morning, ride under live oak-canopied roads to Fort Clinch. You have time to explore the fort itself during an included guided tour by a Union soldier. You also 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 along the beach.

After lunch you cycle past American Beach, where the African-American community came to swim and socialize during the era 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.

Gather at 5:00 p.m. for a social hour and a visit from a local historian. Afterwards, enjoy a relaxed stroll through the Historic District of Fernandina Beach, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and 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 for easy paddling, allowing you the opportunity to fine-tune your skills, or to take time to observe the flora and fauna up close. The salt marsh attracts abundant wildlife. Your guide may help you spot wood storks, osprey, great blue heron, snowy egret, bald eagle, otter, and dolphin. You need not have prior kayak experience to enjoy today’s outing, an out and back paddle. 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. You pass the Ribault Club, once a 1920s-era golf club and now a historic building on the National Historic Register. Then continue to Kingsley Plantation, at the end of the island. Here you 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.

You shuttle from Kingsley Plantation to St. Augustine (about 90 minutes) 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 your inn over St. Augustine’s famous Bridge of Lions, cycling through local neighborhoods. Your destination is Anastasia State Park, which comprises 1,600 acres of rich ecosystems and abundant wildlife. Stop along the way to savor the 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. Once at the park, explore up to four miles of pristine beach and the estuarine tidal marsh teeming with plant and animal life. Enjoy time on the beach.

Then get back on 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. Along the way, you will stop for lunch at a local food truck.

There’s time this afternoon to cycle to the Nombre de Dios Mission and the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Discover the early history of St. Augustine before continuing across the bridge to the beautiful beaches in the seaside town of Vilano. Or, enjoy your hotel and take a swim or grab a refreshing drink. You may take an optional student-guided tour of historic Flagler College. Originally built as the Ponce de Leon Hotel, it includes the largest collection of Tiffany stained glass windows, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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! On select dates, enjoy a surprise activity.

Hotel: Hilton St. Augustine Historic Bayfront
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 10 and/or 14 miles

Day 5: Farmlands Ride / Farewell Dinner

After breakfast you will transfer (30 minutes) and then 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 roads. 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. Transfer back (30 minutes) to St. Augustine and relax or explore the city.

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 / Lightner Museum / Depart for home / VBT Bicycle Vacation Ends

After breakfast 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.

Checkout time is 11:00 a.m. VBT has made arrangements for a shuttle from the hotel 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 around 1:00 p.m.

Meals: B
Daily Options: Non-riding day

Florida’s Historic Coast Map

Download Itinerary PDF

Download Now
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. A/C is available.
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 that the seaside town has to offer, including its beautiful beaches. Settle into one of the porch swings and gaze out onto 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. A/C is available.

The Hoyt House

The Hoyt House Inn of Amelia Island’s town of Fernandina Beach offers luxurious guest rooms, romantic elegance, a delicious 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. A/C is available.
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