I have to be honest, I never thought I’d be the one to ever write these words….
You HAVE to go on the Amelia Island River Cruise by Amelia River Cruises.
Initially, I was interested in going on the river cruise because I thought at the very lease it would be a good way to see Fernandina Beach town and Amelia Island a little differently. Spend a little time in the sunshine, on the water see some nature, you know those types of things.
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Well, come to find out, Amelia Island river cruises are way more than just a little trip on the water! First of all, Tom, the guide, we had that day was fantastic! Oh, the stories he told!
I’ve said more than once that history just doesn’t peak my interest. At least not war history about battles or generals or the history of how America was discovered. There’s just no way for me to connect to these types of historical accounts. I can really get behind a cool history of a house or building or a story about a historical figure that gets into their personality or personal experiences. But wars, battles and military histories… no thank you.
Anyways, good thing the Amelia River Cruise didn’t talk about that stuff at all! I mean, Tom did, but in such a roundabout way it made it wickedly interesting. I truly think even children would have been captured by the stories Tom wove.
His stories really captivated everyone. For one thing, he had life size props to assist his stories in the forms of giant factory cranes or the ruins of crazy Miss Lucy’s house or perfectly placed wild dolphins following the boat 😉 .
Secondly, he made everyone chuckle at least once. You could tell he loved his little island and the history behind it and wanted to share it with everyone that was on the boat. The ride was made from his commentary.
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Interesting facts I learned from my Amelia River Cruise:
- In the mid-1800s there were twice as many brothels as churches and was once called, “A festering fleshpot of immorality.”
- Amelia Island was the birth place of the modern shrimping industry.
- The island is home to Florida’s original oyster bar: Oyster shell beaches on sand bars! Wink Wink, nudge nudge.
- Everything to do with Miss Lucy (I’ll talk about her in detail further on because I fell in love with her through Tom’s stories.)
- Cumberland Island is where JFK Jr. eloped to in ’96. A scandalous affair at the time due to their ability to keep the secret location from any and all press!
Miss Lucy is the crown jewel of stories about Cumberland island. The granddaughter of a Carnegie, Miss Lucy was fierce. A free-spirited force to be reckoned with, Miss Lucy guarded the island with all her might and her shot gun at times. Poachers who attempted to encroach on her island were often met by this shotgun yielding petite woman and were often driven off the land. How’s that for a badass woman?
Anyways, the river cruise.
The boat itself was a great size. You could barely tell you were in a boat and there were plenty of places to sit to watch the wild horses on the shore or the beautiful skylines as the sun started dipping down.
I opted for the 2:30pm tour of Beach Creek. I was told it was a little more nature fueled as opposed to the morning Cumberland island tour at 10:30am. Both tours are offered 7 days a week as long as there are enough people to warrant a boat! They recommended calling the morning of my tour to double check.
The dock for the cruise is located just to the right of Brett’s Waterway Cafe. The check in process is so easy it barely exists! No stress, you just cruise through to the boat. See what I did there!?
Our tour group lucked out and were able to witness a group of wild horses playing on the banks of Cumberland Island. My trip around Northern Florida included quite a few experiences that took my breath away and seeing wild horses was certainly one of those experiences.
It ended up being one of my favorite days in Amelia Island.
They offer two tours daily throughout the year, the 10:30 Cumberland Island tour and the 2:30 Beach Creek tour. In the summers they add Family Friendly Sunset tours and Adult BYOB Twilight tours. Charter boats are also available upon request.
Tours are around the $25 USD mark and run from 1.5 to 2 hours. I recommend buying your ticket in advance on their website or at the ticket booth if you’re in town beforehand. Many of the bed and breakfasts or Inns in town can also handing the booking process for you as well.
Thank you to Amelia River Cruises for hosting me for a tour during my time in Amelia Island . As always, all thoughts are my own.