Love Being on the Water? Then you’ll love exploring Amelia Island’s Waterways…
For some, there’s nothing like the pleasure and relaxation of spending time on the water around Amelia Island. Whether your ambition is to catch a fish or just absorb coastal nature, take a leisurely boat ride on local waterways (see videos below). Fernandina Beach is the gateway to Florida on the water for mariners heading south (Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Mile 716). Westrec Marinas manage Fernandina Harbor Marina operations.
The Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina is host to many charter fishing boats as well as sightseeing tour boats. The marina conveniently sits adjacent to historic Centre Street. Mariners stopping at the city’s marina have easy access by foot to Fernandina’s charming historic district, boutiques, and restaurants called the “downtown” area of Fernandina.
While the eastern side of Amelia Island offers 13 miles of Atlantic Ocean beachfront and is the place to witness a magnificent sunrise, the island’s west side offers panoramic riverfront views not to be missed, especially at sunset. One of the best spots on Amelia Island to watch a sunset is at the Fernandina Beach Harbor Marina.
NEW MARINA WELCOME CENTER FERNANDINA BEACH
Mariners who arrive at the city of Fernandina’s marina can visit the new marina Welcome Center and restroom facilities. Fernandina Harbor Marina (904-491-2090 dockmaster) amenities include fuel, moorings, dockage, 30 and 50 amp power, showers, and washers and dryers. For those who trailer boats, there’s a city public boat ramp at the Fernandina marina, next to the new Welcome Center.
Accommodations in the historic district of downtown Fernandina Beach include the harborfront Hampton Inn & Suites (located on the riverfront, overlooking the Fernandina Harbor marina). Like quaint inns? There are several bed and breakfast inns located in the historic district.
AMELIA ISLAND NATURE CRUISES, BOAT TOURS
Amelia River Cruises (904)261-9972 offers nature tour cruises and “Twilight” river cruises with live entertainment, BYOB (adult-themed tours), ask about the seasonal schedule. Nature tours feature salt marsh, riverbank, the wilderness beachfront of Cumberland Island, Georgia, and the opportunity to possibly glimpse dolphins, manatees, shore birds and the wild horses of Cumberland that often graze along its shoreline. Amelia River Cruises also began offering special Discovery Tours including Eco-Tours and Shrimp Demonstration Tours. Watch the Amelia River Cruises video below, and to make a reservation call 904-261-9972 or visit their website for more information.
AMELIA ISLAND SAILING
Sailing along northeast Florida’s coastline in the 1500s were the French and Spanish, establishing America’s oldest cities. Today, many fine yachts and sailboats, manned by those who love sailing, frequent the Fernandina Harbor Marina and the Amelia Island Yacht Basin. One need only walk the docks along Fernandina’s Harborfront to see sailboats anchored in the distance. It’s one of the best places on the island to watch and photograph dramatic sunsets.
Amelia Island has a sailing school operating from Fernandina Beach. Windward Sailing offers a staff of United States Coast Guard Captains and American Sailing Association-certified instructors. Winward also offers sailing charter tours, “Fun Sails,” here in northeast Florida. Visit Windward Sailing’s website for further information. Windward Sailing is located at 714 Beech Street, Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034 (call 904-261-9125).
The Amelia Island Yacht Basin is located around five miles south of the St. Marys Inlet on the east side of the ICW at statute mile 721 (just south of market 13) next to the A1A bridge to Amelia Island, Florida. The Amelia Island Yacht Basin was acquired by Suntex Ventures in the fall of 2010. For those driving to the Yacht Basin, the address is 251 Creekside Drive, Amelia Island, Florida 32034. Call (904) 277-4615 for more information.
There are many charter boat services available from Amelia Island for those interested in a water excursion. For more information, call the Amelia Island Charter Boat Association 904-261-2870.
DEE DEE BARTELS BOAT RAMP ON THE AMELIA RIVER, FERNANDINA BEACH
Besides the Fernandina Harbor marina in the city, another wonderful asset on Amelia Island is located toward the island’s northwest, the Dee Dee Bartels public boat ramp on the Amelia River/Intracoastal Waterway. Also called the North Amelia Island Park/Ramp, it’s a favorite spot of local boaters to launch. But even if you don’t have a boat, this location is a great spot to enjoy a peaceful setting and spectacular view of the Amelia River. (If you’re a visiting tourist, you’ll need vehicle transportation to reach this spot from the historic district (unless you’re into a long hike or bike ride).
GETTING TO THE DEE DEE BARTELS BOAT RAMP
For those who don’t often venture over the bridge crossing Egans Creek, to reach Dee Dee Bartels boat ramp and pavilion (North Amelia Island Park/Ramp), from Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina Beach, head north on 14th Street and go over the 14th Street bridge, then left. There’s an expansive parking lot to accommodate loads of vehicles and boat trailers — parking a trailer is a pleasure here, and the ramp is free to the public.
The boat ramp itself is very wide, allowing three boats to be launched at the same time. Two fishing piers/walkways jut out into the water a fair distance, and flank the ramp. Two floating docks, one on each side, are below the elevated walkways. The large pavilion provides a nice gathering spot and a shelter to wait for a rain shower to pass (there is a restroom facility, too).
LOVELY PANORAMIC WATER VIEWS AT THE BOAT RAMP — GO FOR A SUNSET
Facing west, the boat ramp offers another wonderful spot to view sunsets on Amelia Island, overlooking the intracoastal waterway. As far as fishing at the two piers, cooler weather turns the trout on locally, so the boat ramp is a place to try catching some nice sea trout during autumn.
For those looking for some quality time with the family, make it your destination for a picnic and fishing trip — the kids will have fun fishing off the pier. Be sure to watch a sensational sunset at this Nassau County, Florida public park. It will be inspiring.
NASSAU COUNTY, FLORIDA’S NEWEST WATERFRONT PARK WITH BOAT RAMP
Located in Nassauville off CR 107 (Old Nassauville Road), Goffinsville-Nassau River Park is the county’s newest free waterfront park offering boat ramp, kayak launch, nature trails, a great kid’s playground nicely outfitted (the kids will love it), a fishing pier, picnic pavilions, and restrooms. Deep water at the boat ramp is approximately 6-8 feet at low tide. Goffinsville Park is yet another destination to enjoy the waterfront around Amelia Island, Florida, and will likely be a top choice for parents to picnic and fish with younger kids.
MORE ABOUT VISITING CUMBERLAND ISLAND, GEORGIA
The “Cumberland Queen” provides round trip service from St. Marys, Georgia to Cumberland Island (get further Cumberland Island ferry info by calling 912-882-4335). According to the National Parks Service, Cumberland Island, GA (located just across the Cumberland Sound from Amelia Island, Florida) is one of the largest undeveloped barrier islands in the world. Cumberland Island has one of the largest maritime forests remaining in the United States and one of the largest wilderness areas in a National Seashore on the east coast. Daily visitors are limited to 300 per day (this is a 17.5 mile long island — it’s bigger than Amelia Island).