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Florida First Coast Bicycle Tour 
A bicycling vacation of St. Augustine, Fernandina Beach & Florida's A1A 

Day 1 l Day 2 l Day 3 l Day 4 l Day 5 l Lodging l Getting There l Cycling l Extend Your Stay

Starting in the resort area of Palm Coast, Florida, this tour covers some amazingly diverse bicycling -- from famous route A1A along the blue waters of the Atlantic to country roads providing scenic views of "Old Florida."  Along the way, we explore historic Saint Augustine, pristine Amelia Island, and numerous inviting coastal communities.

Tour Fast Facts:
Highlights Dates: Price:
6 days / 5 nights

Beautiful water view
 of all kinds

Historic St. Augustine

elegant lodging

gourmet cuisine. 

2018 Dates:

Oct. 21 - 26

Oct. 28 - Nov. 2

Nov. 4 - 9

(All are Sun. - Fri.)

Opt in for email date
announcements here:

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2018 Price:
$ 2,275 - 2,375 / person

Price range reflects 
early to late enrollment.  

Bike rental: $100

Single occupancy room supplement: $500

Dates with an asterisk * have a solo traveler hoping for a roommate--  Call for details
RESERVE YOUR SPOT (click here)  

 

Day 1:   

After a brief orientation meeting, we will start our week of pedaling!  Our first day of bicycling will take us south from the resort area of Palm Coast on A1A.  As part of the evolving East Coast Greenway, the portions of A1A that we enjoy on this trip have been upgraded to accommodate cyclists with wide paved shoulders and detached paved bike paths.   We'll take in ocean views for a while, then loop inland and follow a route that is popular with all the local cyclists.  A windy country road along a tidal creek provides classic Florida views complete with wispy Spanish moss.  Two segments of paved rails-to-trails at the end of our journey creates a remarkably remote feel along the Intra-Coastal Waterway.  

Dinner is together as a group tonight at the resort.

Bicycling Distance: 38 miles, with options to shuttle ahead. 
Terrain: Flat.

Day 2:   

Today's bike route will take us from Palm Coast up A1A to St. Augustine.  It's not far, but we have an optional route if you would prefer to add miles to your day.  You'll have a chance to visit and climb the St. Augustine Lighthouse before lunch.  The view from the top is among the most spectacular you will enjoy and provides a glorious bird's eye view of the country's oldest continuously occupied European established settlement.  

Across the Bridge of Lions is St. Augustine.  Settled by the Spanish in 1565, this small city has a rich history and numerous attractions.  The Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States is now a national park.  The Spanish began construction in 1672, and it has since served under five different flags.  A few steps away is St. George Street, open to pedestrians only, and home to numerous historic and replica structures.  

Just a few blocks south of there, you will find our inviting inn for two nights, overlooking Matanzas Bay.

Bicycling Distance: 25 miles, inn to inn, with options to extend to 45+ miles.
Terrain: Flat.

Day 3:  

Our "Layover Day" in St. Augustine.  You will want to want to take time some to explore more of St. Augustine today.  Nearby are two grand hotels, now serving other purposes.  Henry Flagler, whose railroad and tourism development efforts had a tremendous impact on Florida, built the Ponce de Leon Hotel in 1888.  It now serves as the central building of Flagler College, and the student led tour of the magnificent building is a must.  Across the street, Flagler built the Hotel Alcazar.  Now home to the Lightner Museum, it houses the Victorian collections of Otto Lightner, who purchased the building in 1946 and donated it to the city.

Bicycling anyone?  We have a great route for you that explores some lovely inland countryside (yes, some still exists in Florida!)

Dinner will be on your own this evening, allowing you to explore St. Augustine excellent options.

Bicycling Distance: 0 - 40 miles, depending on the options selected. 
Terrain: Flat.

Day 4:  

Our big day.  After another outstanding breakfast, we will depart on the bikes for a route that offers amazing views of water, pristine homes, a river ferry and more.  We will pass through the upscale community of Ponte Vedra, through the bicycle friendly beach town of Jacksonville Beach, then navigate our way over to the St. Johns River crossing.  The ferry there provides a brief respite before we resume bicycling north, across the Talbot Islands.  This area is absolutely beautiful.   Bike friendly bridges with outstanding water views feed directly onto dedicated asphalt bike paths through state parks.  Our destination is the charming town of Fernandina Beach, on the north end of Amelia Island.

Dinner will be together at one of Fernandina's many excellent restaurants.

Bicycling Distance: Up to 65 miles, with options to to strategically "leap frog" ahead.
Terrain: Flat.

Day 5:   

Amelia has many charms to explore.  Take a walk on the pristine beach at sunrise (or sleep in.)  After breakfast, we'll take you on a chartered boat cruise of the Saint Mary's River where we'll learn more about the area's unique history and ecology.  Expect to see countless dolphins!  Afterwards, enjoy a spin around Fernandina, Amelia, and historic Fort Clinch.  Free time in the afternoon will allow you to explore downtown Fernandina Beach and it's many shops, galleries and museums.  Dinner will be on your own tonight.

Bicycling Distance: Up to 23 miles, with options to extend.
Terrain: Flat.

Day 6: 

Our final day will include a van shuttle back to the Jacksonville Airport and Palm Coast.  But before we get down to that, we'll bike back down Amelia Island and across the Talbot Islands to the St. Johns River Ferry and on to East Jacksonville.   Showers and lunch will be provided before heading out.

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Lodging: 

Night 1 (and optional nights prior):  Hammock Beach Resort, 200 Ocean Crest Dr, Palm Coast, FL 32137 (386) 246-5500

This AAA Four-diamond-rated resort features spacious suites in an oceanfront 12-story tower.  All accommodations feature a refreshing view of the Atlantic Ocean, a King size bed, and adjoining living area with kitchenette.

Golfers will want to arrive early to take advantage of two championship golf courses designed by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson.  Also available are swimming pools, a fitness center and spa.

Nights 2 & 3:  Bayfront Marin House:  142 Avenida Menendez St. Augustine, FL 32084.  904-824-4301 

Each of 15 rooms boasts a private bathroom and private entrance, so mingle with other guests if you’d like, or retreat to your room for romantic alone time. Most rooms have double Jacuzzis, and many have electric fireplaces. Enjoy your sanctuary or the public spaces looking out across Matanzas Bay.  The historic district of St. Augustine is just steps away.

Nights 4 & 5:  The Addison on Amelia:  614 Ash Street Amelia Island, Florida 32034

This 14 room country inn is in the heart of charming Fernandina Beach, walking distances to numerous shops, restaurants and museums.  Innkeepers Bob and Sharon have thought of all of the little extras to make your stay memorable.

Cycling:
The terrain is entirely flat.  Mileage each day will range from 35 - 65 miles.  As with all Carolina Tailwinds tours, you can take advantage of the support van to "leap frog" ahead on the route.

Meals:
All meals are included, with the exception of two "on-your-own" dinners: one in St. Augustine, and one in Fernandina Beach, and one "on-your-own" lunch in St. Augustine.  Your tour price includes all other breakfasts, catered picnic lunches, three gourmet dinners and abundant snacks and beverages.

Getting to the Tour Start (Palm Coast, FL):

Airports:

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)  www.flyjax.com/
Service by Airtran, American, Delta, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Southwest, United and USAirways.

82 miles from tour start/end location.

Most airlines recommend that you arrive at the airport 1 1/2 to 2 hours before your flight's scheduled departure time.

Ground Transportation:  Taxis and rental cars are available at the airport.  

Carolina Tailwinds will provide a courtesy shuttle from the JAX area to Palm Coast the morning of Day 1 of the tour.  To take advantage of that, you will need to arrive the day or evening prior.  We can pick up at any airport hotel, or at our chosen downtown hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn Southbank.
On the last day, we will drop guests at JAX and Palm Coast.

   
Daytona Beach International Airport  (DAB) www.flydaytonafirst.com
Service by Delta and USAirways

37 miles from the tour start.

Ground Transportation:  Taxis and rental cars are available at the airport.  

Driving:  Driving distance to Palm Coast from:

Atlanta
 410 miles
Jacksonville
82 miles
Miami
288 miles
Orlando
 84 miles
Tallahassee
 229 miles
Tampa
 168 miles

Timing:  Arrive at the tour start location no later than  12:30 p.m. on Day 1 (11:30 a.m. if renting a bicycle.)  Arrive a day or more early to enjoy golf or beaches on your own.  We will return to Palm Coast on Day 6 between 2 and 3 p.m.

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Extend your stay in the area:
Palm Coast:
  Hammock Beach Resort offers two golf courses, multiple pools, a lazy river, the beach, a full service spa and more.
www.hammockbeachresort.com

Jacksonville, FL:  This sparkling downtown has a refurbished river walk and Jacksonville Landing, an area of restaurants, shops and entertainment on the north side of the river.  Take the Jacksonville Water Taxi across the river to the Southbank.  We recommend the Hilton Garden Inn, Southbank, just a few blocks away.  That is also convenient to the San Marco Square area, a trendy, alternate downtown nearby.
www.visitjacksonville.com/  www.mysanmarco.com  

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:  Cape Canaveral is 91 miles south of Palm Coast.  If you are into the history of space exploration, you can tour the launch and landing facilities, ride the Shuttle Launch Experience, and participate in the Astronaut Training Experience.

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Note:
Carolina Tailwinds reserves the right to make alterations to the itinerary as needed.  Any changes made will maintain or enhance the quality of the tour.

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