Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fernandina Beach to St. Mary's To Cumberland Island Bike Ferry's Open

I received an email a few days ago announcing the opening of two very long awaited and long needed Bike Ferry's.

The first is between Fernandina Beach and St. Mary's GA. Despite standing in Fernandina and being able seeing both St. Mary's and Cumberland Island. There has been little choice for the cyclist wishing to travel to either St. Mary's or Fernandina. The only way being a long round-the-horn 40ish mile ride on a very busy and dangerous US17. That is until this week when Kevin McCarthy, the owner and operator of Amelia River Cruises started operations.

Below is an excerpt from the email I received.

"This ferry service will re-establish an historic transportation link between our two coastal cities and create many new opportunities for residents and visitors. Notably for cyclists, this service will put in place the over-water linkage of the East Coast Greenway (see ) between our two states, enabling touring cyclists to avoid a very dangerous stretch of US Hwy 17 on their North-South route. It will also allow our local bicycle enthusiasts to take their bikes along for day trips between the cities, to create new business and tourist opportunities for our local citizens, and add a new over-water link to the Cumberland Island National Seashore ferry which departs daily from St Marys.

While service will begin with this "soft opening" tomorrow, Kevin does plan to organize an "Official Opening Ceremony" for the service around the middle of September, and to invite numerous dignitaries and supporters from both states to participate. Start of this service was delayed for over one year due to a USCG re-certification requirement on the largest vessel in his fleet, a 99-passenger boat.

You can help this ferry service be successful by riding the ferry yourself, and by sharing this information with your friends and associates, especially among bicycle enthusiasts and clubs, adventure travel planners, and tourism writers. This operation is a wholly private venture and will receive no government financial support.

You can reach Kevin at [email protected], or call 904-261-9972. Reservations are recommended. He does also schedule his vessels for private charters for groups which may have a more critical timetable or special requirements

The second is the Ferry from St. Mary's to Cumberland Island National Island. This ferry also has been a very long needed service. If you have ever visited cumberland Island you know just how much of hike it is to get around the island. Taking a bike has previously been near impossible. Oh, sure there were a couple charters that would transport you and your bike to the island. But you had to have some pretty deep pockets. The last time I inquired, I was quoted $75 each way. Now with Amelia River Cruises new scheduled service that rate is a very reasonable $15 roundtrip. Guess who's already planning their next bike camping trip.


Roadking said...

I was told the ferry to Cumberland Island does not allow bicycles

Will said...

I called the Cumberland Sound Ferry and they said they allow bikes but they do not go to Cumberland Island. They only go between St. Marys and Fernandina Beach.