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Island Hopping Adventures



Fernandina Beach, on beautiful Amelia Island, is the perfect place to start your island-hopping adventure! When you have had enough of the charm and the wonder of this lovely town, it has never been easier to jump in the skiff or toss the lines and set off to one of these amazing and unique islands. 


Here are some of the most exciting islands you can go to straight from Fernandina Harbor.


Whether your day tripping or trip planning, these island Get-Aways have you covered!


Cumberland Island, Georgia

For a taste of nature and a glimpse into the not-so-distant past, Cumberland Island, on the border between Florida and Georgia, is one of the closest day trips you can make from Fernandina Beach. Cumberland Island is famously known for being an untouched paradise, and a protected National Seashore offering miles of pristine beach, historic ruins, and the possible encounter with wild horses, bald eagles, and manatees.


Only accessible by boat, dinghy docking is allowed from sunrise to sunset at Dungeness and Sea Camp docks. If traveling by land, there is a fast ferry taking visitors from downtown St. Marys Georgia to the island. Reservations are required and plan on a 40-minute drive from Fernandina to St. Marys, Georgia.


Try beaching your skiff along the shoreline (which is allowed) for an impromptu walk along the beach or watch a submarine pass by on its way to the Kingsbay Naval Submarine base. Just be sure to point your bow away from the submarine when it passes by!


Aside from wild horses and pristine beaches, the island is home to ruins and estates left over by the affluent Carnegie family, including the Dungeness Ruins and Plum Orchard. For real treat, book a stay at the historic Greyfield Inn!  Also on the island is the First African Baptist Church, where John F. Kennedy Jr. married Carolyn Bessette in 1996. 


Unofficial mascot: The wild horses!


Grab a picnic lunch and the bikes and head over to Cumberland Island for a day of sightseeing, birding, exploring, shelling on the beach, and hiking. If you’re eager to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy the charms of simple island life, then Cumberland Island is well worth the visit.


Jekyll Island, Georgia

Located north of Cumberland Island lies Jekyll Island, the smallest of the Golden Isles. Do not let its small size fool you, this little island offers an abundance of boating, fishing, and recreational activities.


The trip to Jekyll Island from Fernandina Harbor Marina is about 28 miles via the Intracoastal Waterway and has plenty of scenic views along the way. Jekyll Harbor Marina, located at mile 685 is a nice stop and bikes are available for exploring the island.


No visit to Jekyll Island is complete without a trip to the Historic Jekyll Island Club, the 34 historic buildings that remain offer a glimpse of what was once the richest, most exclusive club in the world. The Jekyll Island Club, which dates to 1886, was established when some of the richest families in America pooled their resources to buy the island and build a winter retreat and hunting preserve. The state bought the property in 1947, turning the island into a state park and ongoing restoration project.


With miles of white sand beaches, golf courses, a water park, fishing pier, bike trails, nature center (the Georgia Sea Turtle Center), tennis and soccer centers, lodging options that include hotels, cottages and campgrounds, and the landmark historic district, Jekyll Island is a boater’s paradise. Yet ironically, one of its greatest assets is its lack of development!


Unofficial mascot: Loggerhead Turtle


Be sure to check out Shark Tooth Beach and try your luck finding the big one, or visit Driftwood Beach, an otherworldly boneyard of gnarled, sun-bleached trees, and bike paths that connect sandy beaches, historic sites and maritime forest.

 

St. Simon’s Island, Georgia

St. Simons Island is situated about halfway between Savannah and Fernandina Harbor and is a great addition to any float plan. St. Simons Island is well-equipped with marinas that welcome transient boaters, so come for the day or stay for a week and enjoy all this historic island has to offer!


There are miles of bike paths, fantastic restaurants, and unique shops on St. Simons, but don’t set sail before checking out one of these three “secret” spots...


Say hello to Mr. Bird: He’s been written about in the New York Times, and countless other publications. He’s an African Grey parrot that lives at the St. Simons Bait and Tackle shop. If he’s in a good mood that day, he might let you put him on your shoulder, if not, it’s best to just admire him on his perch.


Visit Ft. Frederica: The fort was set up to guard the coast against the Spanish. There is a small, but engaging museum and a fantastic junior ranger program where kids borrow a haversack with a spyglass and compass to complete their mission.


Look for Tree Spirits: Hidden around housing developments, outside restaurants and shops are the “tree spirits”. Carved into the trunks of old trees, these works of art are fun to find. It’s like a scavenger hunt through town. Each tree spirit is a little different, and you can find them all over the island. Visit the St. Simons Island Visitors Center for a map of locations.


Unofficial mascot: Cannonball jellyfish. These iridescent orbs string the beach and are unlikely to sting. Some foodies even consider them a delicacy!


Boasting a vibrant boating community, dog friendly beaches, winding streets, and diverse fishing, you will have no shortage of fun, and “secret” things to do on this historic island!


Talbot Islands, Florida

South of Amelia Island lie the sprawling beaches and untouched habitats that make up most of the Talbot Island State Parks, which include Big Talbot Island State Park, Little Talbot Island State Park, Amelia Island State Park, and the Fort George Island Cultural State Park.


Much of the Talbot Islands are made up of their respective parks and nature preserves, making it an ideal place for camping, hiking, biking, walking, canoeing, kayaking, wildlife viewing, beach fishing, and many more. 


Explore rich wildlife and amazing views in one of the many hiking and walking trails that make up the parks. The islands are home to many diverse natural environments, from maritime forests to salt marshes. The islands also feature beautiful beaches. 


Big Talbot Island has Boneyard Beach, a beach strewn with the breathtaking skeletal remains of oak and cedar trees. If you’re feeling adventurous, experienced kayakers might want to check out the Big Talbot Island Ocean Trail, taking 3 to 4 hours to complete one way, the route takes you along the eastern shore of Big Talbot State Park, offshore to Boneyard Beach and past the southwest tip of Little Talbot. Or for a more laid-back afternoon, take a guided kayak tour and enjoy the beautiful salt marshes and maritime forests along this stretch of Intracoastal waterway.


Little Talbot Island is also known for its undeveloped beauty, its pristine beaches with ancient sand dunes and secluded wildlands. 


If you are a fan of the outdoors, the Talbot Islands are a unique and extraordinary place to enjoy everything that nature has to offer. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to see the wonders of these undisturbed barrier islands yourself!


Fernandina Beach is a wonderful place to be — and a great starting point for any island hopping adventure! Book a slip with us here at Fernandina Harbor Marina and start planning your next adventure today.


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