During your sightseeing tour of Amelia Island, you’ll follow Florida’s Great Birding Trail to the beautiful barrier island with exciting stops along the way and a friendly and knowledgeable step-on-guide.
The Great Florida Birding Trail
The Great Florida Birding Trail is a collection of locations in Florida where the state’s bird habitats are protected. As you follow the trail that leads to Amelia Island delight in an informative narration about the Great Florida Birding Trail and look out for Roseate Spoonbill, Limpkin, Swallow-tailed Kite, Red-cockaded Woodpecker, the endangered Florida Scrub Jay and over 500 other species of birds.
Fort George Island
As you make your way toward Amelia Island you’ll make a detour through Fort George Island, one of Florida’s best kept secrets. Here Native Americans once feasted, colonists built a fort and the Smart Set of the 1920s vacationed.
The Kingsley Plantation
Step off your tour bus and into a tumultuous time and place in Florida’s past at the Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island. Built by slaves as the centerpiece of a massive plantation, the Kingsley Plantation was named after one of its several plantation owners, Zephaniah Kingsley and is known as the oldest plantation in Florida. Explore the Kingsley house, the kitchen house, a barn, the ruins of over 20 original slave cabins and the surrounding acres rich with wildlife.
Little Talbot Island
Just three miles from Fort George Island, you’ll come to Little Talbot Island. Boasting five miles of beautiful, white sandy beaches, it’s one of the few barrier islands in Florida that remains unspoiled. As you pass through admire the maritime, forests, dunes and undisturbed salt marshes, or delight in the river otters, marsh rabbits, bobcats and the variety of birds that call Little Talbot Island their home.
Big Talbot Island
Immediately north of Little Talbot Island is Big Talbot Island, one of Northeast Florida’s unique Sea Islands. Like Little Talbot Island, Big Talbot Island is undeveloped, the beauty of its shoreline unparallel to any other. Have your camera ready to capture the island’s rocky shoreline of dark rocks and the bleached bones of live oaks turned to giant driftwood.
Amelia Island’s Rich History
The southernmost of the Sea Islands, Amelia Island was named in honor of Princess Amelia, daughter of George II of Great Britain. As you explore each mile of the island, its treasure trove of history, heritage and attractions make it easy to uncover Amelia’s colorful past from ancient forests to pirate lore.
Amelia Island’s Nature and Wildlife
While deeply enthralled with Amelia Island’s rich history, don’t forget to take the time to admire its surroundings nature and wildlife. The barrier island protects over 200 acres of unspoiled wilderness along its southern tip. Beaches, salt marshes and coastal maritime forests provide visitors with a glimpse of the original Florida and its famous residents-manatees, sea turtles, whales and a variety of birds are a sight you won’t want to miss.
During your time in Amelia Island you’ll have the chance to explore American Beach, a historic beach community established in 1935 by Florida’s first black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis and his African-American Life Insurance Company. During the Jim Crow era, African Americans were not allowed to swim at most beaches in Jacksonville, so black-only areas were created including American Beach. While Lewis originally intended to create a place for his employees to vacation, American Beach soon became the largest and most popular even playing host to celebrities like Ray Charles and James Brown.
Your step-on-guide will use a microphone to point out the great sights you will see throughout Amelia Island.