AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — Pedaling at water’s edge right on the beach at low tide is one of the great pleasures of island living.
Bike riding on Amelia Island’s wide, flat beaches when the tide is low has caught on with visitors, too. One need only spend a little time at the beach to notice tourists perched on rental bikes, happily traversing the shoreline — whether solo, couples, or family groups.
If timed right, you can easily ride for several miles on the sand. However, ride around in a large circle to test the force of the wind in both directions. You may be surprised that there’s no hint of a breeze in one direction, yet riding in the opposite direction can be “against the wind” and become quite tiring.
Cycling is becoming one of the most popular leisure activities on Amelia Island. Besides riding in the hard-packed sand within an hour or so of low tide (before or after), there are plenty of sidewalks to ride along. Toward the island’s northend, Atlantic Avenue offers sidewalks flanking both sides of the road and particularly wide shoulders. Atlantic Avenue is the 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 South Fletcher Avenue, the road that runs parallel to the beach, underwent new paving adding designated bike lanes (from Main Beach Park continuing south all the way to First Coast Highway that passes by Amelia Island Plantation to the south end bridge).
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 even offers bicycle rentals. If you drive in, park entry fee is $6 for one vehicle with up to 8 passengers. If you walk or ride a bike 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 (where you rent bikes). Call Fort Clinch about fees for bike rentals at 904-277-7274.
There’s also Egans Greenway, a wonderful spot for nature observation and bike riding with its grassy trails (about a mile across each side, north and south).
Located next to the beach, just across from Seaside Park and Sliders Seaside Grill in Fernandina Beach, Hall’s Beach Rentals (2021 South Fletcher at the Sadler Rd. roundabout) is just one of the local places to rent a bike. Better yet, if you are staying overnight, ask your lodging establishment about the availability of bikes — some of the bed and breakfast inns offer complimentary bikes to guests and hotels rent them.
Newest Amelia Island Trail Opens
Read about another newer trail, the 6.2 mile Amelia Island Trail. Did you know that Fernandina Beach was awarded bronze as a “Bike-Friendly Community” by the League of American Bicyclists.