Amelia Island: Florida Adventure Sports + Lunch {but no coffee}

Welcome to the Road Trip Simply section of Simply St. Augustine! If you’re headed to St. Augustine, head back to my home page for how to enjoy St. Augustine like a local. Hubby & I love Amelia Island. Also read my post about our Corvette Road Trip to Amelia.

hang glide amelia island, powered hang glide, florida adventure sports, fly over fernandina

I knew I was going paragliding but I had no idea what that meant. I mean, would I be towed up behind a plane or a boat and then glide back down? {No- that’s hang gliding.} Would I hang from a parachute with a fan propelling me? {No again- that’s paragliding.} Would I be suspended from a parachute without a motor and just float down to the ground? {STILL no- that’s parachuting or sky diving.}

I did a little research and found these powered hang gliding videos and finally understood. Powered Hang Gliding is an ultralight flying sport. The Airborne XT-912 motor-powered trikes take off from the Amelia Island airport just like a plane and lands the same way. Flying with an instructor is an informative and exhilarating experience from takeoff to landing!

Powered Hang Gliding Jacksonville
Here I am in my flight suit before flying… I wore boots because it was a bit chilly out but should have opted for tennis shoes.

So to get to the good stuff… you are completely immersed in the elements up there. The craft feels both more delicate and more sturdy than I expected. It flies smoothly and steadily and even in turbulent pockets, the glider is unaffected. We climbed and glided down several times throughout the flight comfortably though it can fly steadily at any altitude for the duration as well… but let’s be honest, the best parts are the dropping parts! It feels SO fast when you’re closer to the ground.

Here’s my favorite view from our flight:

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See the “ruins” above the nose of the glider? That’s Dungeness, a 59 room manse built by the Carnegies in the late 1800’s. Photo courtesy of Florida Adventure Sports’ GoPro.

We flew into Georgia and explored Cumberland Island. I didn’t see any wild horses on Cumberland Island, but I did see Dungeness, the remains of a mansion burned in the early 1900s. I wrote 4 different storylines before I even realized it and had to drag my writer’s brain back to reality because it was my turn to fly the glider!!

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This is Captain Allie speaking. Please remain seated with belts secured during this portion of the flight. Haha… Photo courtesy of Florida Adventure Sports’ GoPro.

Part of the Powered Hang Gliding experience is a flight lesson. Pilot Gene is an FAA certified pilot with over 30 years flight experience. He flew hang gliders in Hawaii before moving to Florida and has taught people to fly both gliders and planes.

The bars do not shake or snap around with the wind- they move gently and gracefully and actually require quite a bit of intentional force to change directions. Holding a steady course was fine but my favorite maneuver was sliding the bars to the left and turning a graceful 360*!! To illustrate the stability of the craft earlier in the flight, Gene shook the bars and moved the wings dramatically- we could hardly feel a change.

Now that I was comfortable, Gene offered to drop closer to the beach. Flying close to the water made me nervous at first… I mean, what if the winds gusted and made us crash? What if a great white jumped up and ate us? LOL! I remembered the stability of the craft and allowed myself to enjoy the moment. It felt like I could reach out and touch the water. The speedometer showed that our craft was speeding up and we soared high into the air once again.

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Check out our shadow!! Photo courtesy of Florida Adventure Sports’ GoPro!
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There’s no place like home… Viva Florida!!! Photo courtesy of Florida Adventure Sports’ GoPro.

If you plan to fly with Gene, he’s offering Simply St. Augustine readers 10% off any flight by using the code: blogger10 

Back on the ground, Gene transferred over a hundred images from his GoPro onto a CD for me to remember my flight by.

Florida Adventure Sports Hang gliding
Gene in the Florida Adventure Sports office at Amelia Island’s Airport.

We previewed them on a large TV mounted to the wall and I said good bye so his next student could come in… he is studying to fly alone! Before we left, Gene suggested a beachside lunch at nearby Sliders so we turned our car that way and waved good bye for now.

Ben, my 17 year old, is a good sport. He didn’t quite want to go paragliding, but he was willing to come along and hang out with Wesley who nurses and didn’t think Mamma being gone all day was acceptable. He dittoed Gene’s endorsement for Sliders. And he was a super brother and helped Wesley play on the playground at Sliders!!

Sliders Oceanfront Restaurant Fernandina Beach
Dude- the restaurant has a playground! AND “hammock” chairs at the bar! How cool is that?!

Sliders offers a buffet for lunch. Ben went for it. It was a Southern Spread… Macaroni and cheese, chicken and cornbread covered his plate. It included a drink and chocolate cake for dessert. There was plenty to pick from and my hungry teen enjoyed it!

Sliders Oceanfront Restaurant Amelia Island

The Asian Surfer salad {$9.99} drew my attention because candied walnuts. Yum. I scraped most of the fried won tons off the top (because the whole point was to go healthy!) and enjoyed the crisp greens and asian dressing. It felt a little light for a $10 salad but we were eating on the beach and somebody has to pay for that real estate! So I happily munched beside by boys.

sliders beach food fernandina beach

I added a dish of sweet plantains {aka Maduros} to round out my lunch. See the dish in the left corner? Yeah, it’s full for a reason. I was hoping to share some sweet, soft gems with little Wesley but they were starchy & hard (signs of being frozen/cooked unripe). Plantains are edible green but the preparation is very different for a green one {aka Tostones}… anyways, they were disappointing but I chalked that up to a $2.99 learning experience. The sun was shining, I was with my kids, the place has a PLAYGROUND and I had just FLOWN… life was good. But next time, this foodie is eating at 29 South.

I keep saying next time… yeah, I’ll be back to Amelia. It’s so much like St. Augustine but sleepier. I grew up in a Small Southern Town without a red light so it feels good to be in a quiet town with a canopy of oaks and friendly locals who welcome, wave and encourage you to enjoy their town. Pilot Gene gave me a unique view of Amelia… the beaches, the state parks and national seashores and main street USA. It’s nice to have such a friendly next door neighbor just a road trip away!

I couldn’t talk Ben into a cup of coffee for our road trip home, but I’ll be back to find a great Amelia Island coffee shop on my next #RoadTripSimply Amelia Island edition!

Florida Adventure Sports – click for website
40, 60 and 90 minutes flights available
904-430-3800
Simply St. Augustine readers can get 10% off any flight by using the code: blogger10

Sliders Seaside Grill – click for website
1998 South Fletcher Ave., Amelia Island – Fernandina Beach, FL

Comments

  1. Jackie richard says

    My husband took the flight and he loved it so we will be back again loved Amelia island

    • says

      Isn’t it breathtaking?! I love that it’s a thrilling experience without the danger of a parachute. LOL ~Allie O.

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