BIKE, HIKE, RUN: New 6.2 Mile Amelia Island Trail, Part of East Coast Greenway
AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — Bike riding has become one of the most popular activities on Amelia Island enjoyed by visitors and local residents alike.
Besides riding on wide, flat beaches in hard-packed sand around low tide, other ideal places to ride bicycles on Amelia Island to enjoy the beautiful, natural surroundings are Fort Clinch State Park and within Egans Greenway. But a new bike riding option, the “Amelia Island Trail,” a family-friendly off-road route (paved, 10-feet wide) is ready for action, providing an additional place to ride bikes on the southend of Amelia Island. SEE NEW AMELIA ISLAND TRAIL PHOTO GALLERY BELOW.(For travelers, see where to rent bicycles at end of article).
MAY 11, 2013, 8:30 am OPENING CELEBRATION AT PETERS POINT: Amelia Island Trail, a 6.2 Mile Biking & Pedestrian Trail
The “Amelia Island Trail” officially opens May 11, 2013 adding to the allure of this barrier island in northeast Florida for those who love to ride bikes, run, or walk. The Amelia Island Trail is a 6.2 mile off-road paved trail on Amelia Island’s southend that runs along sections of the island’s largest resorts, Summer Beach and Amelia Island Plantation. The trail runs between the Nassau Sound bridge at Amelia Island State Park all the way to Peters Point Park beach access (in the vicinity of the Amelia Island Ritz-Carlton and Golf Club of Amelia). The public is invited to the opening celebration by “Friends of the Amelia Island Trail” at 8:30 am on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at Peters Point Beachfront Park, located off South Fletcher Avenue, the northern trailhead (with large public parking lot). There will be a ribbon cutting, speeches, music and refreshments.
MORE ABOUT OTHER AREAS TO BIKE/HIKE/RUN ON AMELIA ISLAND
Fort Clinch State Park
Bike riding on Amelia Island’s wide, flat beaches (around low tide) has really caught on in popularity these last couple of years. But besides riding right on the beach in the hard-packed sand, another great option for bike riding on Amelia Island is within Fort Clinch State Park (with entrance off Atlantic Avenue just a few blocks from Main Beach Park). Bike riders have the option to ride along the main park road all the way through to the parking area at the historic fortress itself (a 3-mile route one way), or ride rougher mountain biking trails through the maritime forest. Fort Clinch also offers bicycle rentals. Park entry fee is $6 for one vehicle with up to 8 passengers. If you walk or ride a bicycle into the State Park, the fee at entry ranger station is $2 per person. If you want to actually tour the historic fort there’s an additional $2 fee paid at the shop where you enter the fort (also the place where you rent bikes). Call Fort Clinch about current fees for bike rentals at 904-277-7274. Enter Fort Clinch State Park at 2601 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach.
Grassy Trails for Hiking and Biking in Egans Greenway
There’s also Egans Greenway, a wonderful spot for nature observation and biking, hiking and running with its grassy trails (about a mile across both sections, whether you go in the north side or the south side of Egans Greenway). Free to the public, entrances into the Greenway are located at the Fernandina Recreation Center on Atlantic Avenue (north section with restrooms and parking), two entrances from Jasmine Street (both north and south sections), and behind the Residence Inn on Sadler Road (south section).
Ride Bicycles on Amelia Island’s Sidewalks and Street Bike Lanes
Amelia Island also offers plenty of sidewalks to bike/walk/run plus designated bike lanes on various island streets. Toward the island’s northend, Atlantic Avenue offers sidewalks flanking both sides of the road plus wide roadway shoulders. Atlantic Avenue is the main east-west corridor connecting the Atlantic Ocean beaches (from Main Beach Park) to Fernandina’s downtown historic district by the Amelia River and Fernandina Harbor Marina.
Miles of Amelia Island’s South Fletcher Avenue, the road that runs parallel to the beach, offers sidewalks. Plus the Avenue underwent new paving in 2011, when designated bike lanes were added (from Main Beach Park continuing south all the way to First Coast Highway/A1A, passing by Amelia Island Plantation to the south end Nassau Sound bridge).
AMELIA ISLAND BIKE RENTALS
For visitors staying overnight, ask your lodging establishment about the availability of bikes — some of the bed and breakfast inns offer complimentary bikes to guests. Located next to the beach, just across from Seaside Park and Sliders Seaside Grill in Fernandina Beach, Hall’s Beach Rentals and More (904) 310-6124 (2021 South Fletcher at the Sadler Rd. roundabout) is just one of the local places to rent a bike. Pipeline Surf Shop 904-277-3717, is another place to rent bikes, located at 2022 First Avenue (also near Seaside Park, near corner of South Fletcher and Sadler.) Also, Kayak Amelia rents beach cruisers, call 904-261-5702 or 904-251-0016.