Road Trip: St. Augustine to Amelia Island & Fernandina Beach

Welcome to the #RoadTripSimply 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 powered hang gliding over Amelia!

We love St. Augustine and fill our free time with Florida’s best beaches, St. Augustine restaurants, parks and other great to-do’s here.  But for my Birthday, my hubs rented a Corvette and we wanted to enjoy a long drive down tree-lined highways.  We decided on a day trip from St. Augustine to Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach.

We took the I-295 East Beltway (formerly 9A) over the St. John’s River and exited on Hecksher Drive.  From there, we enjoyed canopy roads and two-lane bridges over inlets.  By the time we made it to Amelia Island (1+ hour from our home), we were ready for breakfast and a clean loo!  Right on cue, Gourmet Gourmet appeared on the side of the road!

Gourmet Gourmet is an Amelia Island standard.  It’s the perfect place to pick up a picnic lunch!  They have prepared salads, cheeses, desserts and drinks available to grab & go in addition to a full menu.  We opted for dining in and chose a table on the patio.

My hubby loves bagels.  I love smoked salmon.  So we ordered an Ultimate Bagel ($9) to split.  I pined over the portabello with hollandaise but am so glad we shared instead- this is one stacked bagel!  It was almost as good as the bagel-of-all-breakfasts at the Winter Park Farmers Market… but that’s a post for another day.

Chris stuck with coffee, but I opted for the Mimosa ($8).  It’s mixed with freshly pressed orange juice- so refreshing!

Back in the ‘vette, we continued our road trip to Fernandina Beach.  We honeymooned here 14 years ago and have returned many times over the years.  The only shop we visit every time is The Book Loft.  They have a well-developed Florida History section (my fave!) and an excellent hand-picked selection of books worth reading.  I’d shop here over Barnes & Nobles any day!!!  We met Jamie Roush outside- she owns Historic Haunts in St. Augustine and was selling/signing books.  Go figure- we go to Fernandina and meet a St. Augustine neighbor!  Small world!

We didn’t stay downtown too long this trip.  Hubby heard there are some beautiful bike trails in Fernandina Beach, so we headed over to Pipeline Surf Shop on Saddler Road to rent bikes.

This is the friendliest surf shop I have ever stepped foot in!  And, being a native Floridian, I’ve been in plenty!  Bikes are super affordable at $5 an hour or $14/day.  {They also rent surfboards, paddleboards, etc and offer lessons if you want to hit the beach.}  We picked yellow bikes and, after I lowered my seat, we pedaled off towards Egan’s Creek Greenway.

We discovered 300 acres of beautiful.  Some trails are shaded, others are on grassy roadways along Egan’s Creek.  At first, we zipped along but then, slowed by the bumpy path, we discovered beautiful snapshots of nature at work.  Wowed by these crazy purple passionflowers, we stopped for a picture.  The bees visiting were a bonus- and were completely uninterested in us, so we were able to get close for a few shots.

Honeysuckle climbed over the trees and bushes for much of the ride and brought back memories with it’s sweet scent.  We surprised a family of otters {they surprised us, too!} and watched them splashing in the creek then run across the path.  I think it was a mamma and two juvenile otters.

We noticed a lot of wild blackberries growing along the greenway in Fernandina Beach.  They’re not as plump as cultivated blackberries, but it’s fun to discover a stand of them!  Our kids love picking the wild blackberries behind our house- we had delish blackberry pancakes for breakfast yesterday & I made goat cheese and blackberry quesadillas for lunch today.  Wish I would’ve had the kiddos with us on the greenway- they would’ve loved this discovery as much as the turtles sunning on the bank of the creek behind us.

I’m not sure how many miles we ended up riding- we only stayed out for 45 minutes because we were getting hungry!!  After swapping animal sightings with the friendly gal at Pipeline, we headed back downtown to Tasty’s Fresh Burgers & Fries.

Hubby ordered the Tasty Burger of the Day ($9 with hand cut fries) and a Murphy’s Stout.  I had a single with provolone, sauteed onions, BBQ sauce and sweet potato fries ($8.25).  And a sweet tea.  They had homespun milkshakes… maybe next time.

Back in the ‘vette, we headed towards home with one more stop in mind… Little Talbot Island State Park.  The driftwood on the beach is beautiful and we were looking forward to walking on the quiet beach hand-in-hand to complete our perfect day trip.  Buuuttt… we got the two beaches confused and ended up at Big Talbot Island State Park instead.

Still beautiful, but much busier, we walked a few minutes down the beach to find a quiet stretch.

And this is why we live in Florida!  The crystal clear water was beautifully refreshing- splahing through the ankle deep water, I was almost sorry to leave.  But remembering the Corvette parked in the lot waiting for the last leg of the drive home definitely eased the sadness of leaving quite a bit.  😉

What a relaxing day trip!  From breakfast to shopping to bike riding, lunch and the beach… it was such a sweet day of sunshine and time with my hubby.  Even without the Corvette it would’ve been a great day… I think we’ll have to do it again sometime soon!

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