Jacksonville, FL area (Amelia Island)
Departing for Palatka, you will enjoy a journey along the waters of St. Johns River, one of only three rivers in the nation that flows north. This river is home to over 200 species of birds including the bald eagle, swallowtail kite, and wood stork. Discover unlimited recreation, celebrated history, and protected wildlife - has been distinguished as one of the fourteen American Heritage Rivers.
Once known for its worldwide shipping commerce of citrus and timber, Palatka also attracted a vast number of tourists and wealthy northerners looking to relocate to Florida. Today, it remains a charming river town with restored plantation houses standing as a testament to distinguished residents that once called Palatka home. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the beautifully landscaped Ravine Gardens State Park.
Palatka City Tour
Palatka was a center for commerce and a popular attraction for tourists and wealthy northerners in the late 1800s. On a narrated city tour, learn about the history and culture of Palatka and visit the Bronson Mulholland House, one of the most historic homes in central Florida.
Blue Springs State Park
Covering more than 2,600 acres, Blue Spring State Park is home to the largest spring on St. John's River and is a refuge for the West Indian manatee, one of the world's most endangered species. In season, the manatees congregate here to enjoy the warmth of the year-round 72 -degree waters. Enjoy a peaceful nature boat tour of the park, where you will encounter a variety of wildlife, or tour on your own and visit the observation platform where the manatees gather.
Other Palatka Attractions
The Welaka National Fish Hatchery
Built in 1926, this hatchery was originally run by the State of Florida until the late 1930s, when it was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Besides fish, you can view various amphibians and reptiles during a visit.Website
Putnam Historic Museum
The Putnam Historic Museum is housed in Palatka's oldest surviving building, which was built in 1837. The museum features artifacts and memorabilia related to the history of Palatka and Putnam County. The museum also includes a reading and research area where visitors may learn about the county's history.
Cruising the St. Johns to Lake George (Ocala National Forest)
Continue your cruise from St. Johns River to Lake George, which shares a border with the Ocala National Forest. The lake hosts a variety of wildlife ranging from migratory water birds to a number of marine animals. Local springs in Lake George feed enough salt to the system to make the habitat suitable for marine species like Atlantic stingray, striped bass and blue crab.
Green Cove Springs, FL
In the 1800s, Green Cove Springs attracted a surge of vacationers from the North, drawn to the warm mineral springs reputed to have medicinal qualities and healing powers. Steamboat services brought members of high society, searching for a warm retreat from the winter’s harsh climate. Today, visitors can explore the historic district, which includes vintage homes and gorgeous surroundings.
Carriage Tour of Green Cove Springs
Once a haven for vacationers seeking reprieve from the cold winters of the North, Green Cove Springs is wonderful to visit. Tour the area in style in a horse-drawn carriage like travelers of yesteryear.
Green Cove Springs Narrated Walking Tour
Experience the sights and sounds of Green Cove Springs during this guided tour. Discover colorful floral gardens as you make your way over picturesque footbridges. Follow Spring Run to the center of Spring Park, where you'll find the city's historic spring. Other tour highlights include the famous Qui-Si-Sana hotel, once owned by J.C. Penney.
Other Green Cove Springs Attractions
This park has numerous activities for people of all ages and interests. Go fishing off of the city pier or gaze out at the river from the park’s gazebo during a sunny afternoon.
Cruising the Tolomato River
Travel along one of the most impressive stretches of inland waterways in the United States, the Tolomato River. See many spectacular sites, including a rare view of the Atlantic Ocean, visible over the Barrier Islands. Join our onboard naturalist on the open observation decks for views of native wildlife, captivating sunsets, hidden villages, and miles of pristine landscapes.
In the late 1800s, oil tycoon Henry Flagler developed St. Augustine in an attempt to fulfill his vision of establishing an American Riviera along Florida's eastern shores. Although this "golden era" ended in the early 1900s, Flagler's legacy remains. Explore historic ruins, unique architecture, and the narrow streets of a city once used as a remote outpost by the Spanish Empire.
Tram Tour of St. Augustine
During this tram tour of St. Augustine, take in the wondrous setting once considered to be the “American Riviera.” See the churches, mansions, hotels and other buildings constructed in the late 1800s as an expert guide brings you through the historic districts of this stunning location.
Alligator Farm and Zoological Park
The Alligator Farm and Zoological Park has been attracting visitors for over a century, many lured in by the captivating presence of its caged reptiles. You will have the opportunity to observe many of these exotic reptiles, including the Komodo dragon and the Galapagos tortoise, the largest tortoise in the world.
Other St. Augustine Attractions
Ripleys Believe it or Not Museum
Visit this famous museum of oddities during your stop in St. Augustine. Featuring more than 800 exotic and curious exhibits, this Ripley’s is housed in a revival-style mansion built in the late 1800s. Website
Old City Helicopters LLC
See St. Augustine from a bird’s eye view during a guided helicopter tour high above the city. During your tour, take in marvelous views of the Bridge of Lions and the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Website
Old Town Trolley Tours
This 90-minute tour is unique, allowing you to stay at any of the stops for as long as you want. Visit the Alligator Farm, the Spanish Quarter or a myriad of other areas within St. Augustine. Website
St. Augustine Old Jail
The Old Jail, built by Henry Flagler, was constructed to resemble a first-class hotel. It was important to Flagler that the exterior appearance of this fortress wouldn't disrupt the majestic atmosphere of St. Augustine. Learn about its maximum security prisoners, the weapons they used to commit their crimes, and the sheriff, who lived in the jail with his wife.
Florida Heritage Museum
During its long history, St. Augustine was under the rule of Spain, Great Britain and France. Visit the Florida Heritage Museum to discover how this city prospered in different ways under each country's leadership.
Discover the unspoiled beauty of Amelia Island, with miles of quartz beaches and rolling sand dunes. Fernandina Beach, the island's only city, harbors a treasure trove of history, antiques, and collectibles. Join a walking tour of Centre Street's Historic District, featuring restored 19th Century Victorian homes and shops. Explore Amelia Island's charm as you stroll along the tree-lined avenues.
Historic Walking Tour
Join us for a walking tour through the Victorian seaport of Fernandina Beach. You will stroll through the town's historic Centre Street, past the Florida House, and into the Silk Stocking District. While on the tour, you will be introduced to many great historical figures that influenced the architecture and business of Fernandina Beach.
Amelia Island River Cruise
Take in the view of Florida’s third oldest city, beautiful Fernandina Beach, from the water on a relaxing river boat tour. A benefit of touring the island from the water is the increased chance of seeing the unique marine life that inhabits the islands surrounding waters. In addition, your tour will include the island’s main attractions such as Fort Clinch and the Amelia Island Lighthouse.
Other Amelia Island Attractions
The Great Florida Birding Trail
The Great Florida Birding Trail begins at Fort Clinch. The trail makes it easy for all birders to find new birding sites throughout the state. Guides detailing what species to expect at each site and the best times for viewing can be obtained at the Chamber of Commerce Welcome Centers, Fort Clinch, and Little Talbot State Park.Website
Old Towne Carriage Company
Take a narrated horse-drawn carriage ride through Amelia Island's historic district lasting 30 minutes. Enjoy the ride as you see the landmarks of the 50-block downtown district, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. All of the tours include a guide who describes the landmarks and the history of the area. Website
Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary
The Bird Emergency Aid and Kare Sanctuary is located on Big Talbot Island and specializes in caring for Florida's wild birds. Peacocks, pelicans, owls, eagles, ostriches, vultures and emus in various stages of rehab are nursed back to health.
Amelia Island Plantation Nature Center Programs
Learn more about the natural habitat of Amelia Island during one of the hikes offered by this nature center. Discover many native creatures from the region, including birds, edible plants, crabs and more. Website
Kelly Seahorse Ranch
Kelly Seahorse Ranch offers one of a few beach-riding opportunities in the nation. Through Kelly Seahorse Ranch, enjoy the scenery of Amelia's fantastic, white-sand beaches and the beauty of the ocean by horseback. Website
Amelia Island / Jacksonville, FL
Take in the beautiful weather of northern Florida as you disembark from your tour of the South. Jacksonville offers a number of wonderful activities, including a tour of Cummer Art Museum, which houses an exclusive collection of art, including rare porcelain.
Jacksonville Narrated City Tour
This narrated walking tour of the downtown area takes you to the most intriguing places in Jacksonville. Hear how the city survived the Great Fire of 1901 to emerge as an architectural gem of the South. Walk from St. John's River to Hemming Plaza, taking an insider's look at historic buildings and skyscrapers along the way. On this unique tour, you will also explore the subterranean city that once connected the banks with secret underground tunnels and vaults.