I really enjoy doing things with my family on the weekends. When we first moved down here and I looked up "things to do in Orlando" in google I always got the same results - Disney, Universal, Gatorland, Sea World. There is so much more to do and see in Florida that is "Unknown" to those who visit and to even those that live here. I wanted to help others find things to do with their families so that they can create memories that they could look back on for years to come.
Each year we try to take 4 mini vacations and everyone gets to choose were they would like to go. Cody wanted to go to Jacksonville so Duane brought up Fernindina beach and Fort Clinch. So we were off. I always do research before we go anywhere so I can find cool things for us to do. We decided not to purchase a hotel in advance, but instead we would find something driving around. We found us a Comfort Suites that was about a block away from the beach. Very reasonably priced and very nice. (see pic below, view from the hotel)
By the time we got there we were starving, but decided it would be best to drive down to downtown Fernandina, walk around and then decide what we wanted to do. We decided to go to the Mexican restaurant, Pablos. It had a good ambience and was reasonably priced. ( see pic below, we dressed Cody up in their props)
After lunch we decided to walk around a little more and they have statues on the streets everywhere that made for great photos. Fernandina was once home to many pirates and they really celebrate their heritage. You can see the pirate memorablia everwhere and they have an area that you can read all about their history.
Once we had seen all that downtown Fernandina had to offer we decided to go over to Fort Clinch. It was only $5.00 to park and then $2.00 per person to tour the fort. We were in Fernandina during the time that they were having the reinactments. I believe it was the south that was there. This link is the link to all of the events at the fort. (http://www.floridastateparks.org/fortclinch/events.cfm) They walk around and act like they are living during the times that they inhabitated the fort. It was very interesting and neat seeing them doing their firing drills.
The next day we woke up early and decided to take a ferry from Fernandina over to St. Mary's, GA. We took the Cumberland Sound Ferry (http://www.ameliarivercruises.com/cumberlandsoundferry.html) over and it took about an hour. It was very relaxing and there was narration about the area, such as Cumberland Island. It is an undeveloped island that you can go camping and hiking on. Apparently back in the day one of the gentleman that lived on the island took horses to it. The horses escaped and were not captured. Since then they have lived wild on the island, with no one feeding or taking care of them. We happened to view one from the boat. The captain let Cody drive the entire way over to St. Mary's. He said that after that he wanted to be a captain of a boat.
Once over at St. Mary's we decided to rent a golf cart at one of the small establishments so we could view the area without killing ourselves walking. I will have to say that was an event in itself. Every 20 minutes it seemed like we would have to go back to the place to recharge the golf cart and Jasmine wanted to help push it so bad one of the times it was running out of juice that she jumped from it while it was driving. We even went to a non busy area and let both of the kids drive the golf cart. We had lunch on the island and took the ferry back to Fernandina.
Sunday on our way home we decided to take the a quick trip to the beach and do a little metal detecting and just to check it out.
On our way home we wanted to do something else to end our trip on a cool note so we decided to take the St. John's ferry across the St. John's river and have lunch at Singleton's Seafood Shack. (http://www.stjohnsriverferry.com/) The ferry was really neat as we got to drive the car on it and cross the river. The kids and I had never been on anything like that before so it was a new experience.
Singleton's Seafood Shack - Mayport, FL is not much to look at, but the food here is great. The price point is very reasonable and the kids loved it. If you are ever in the area, I would suggest you check it out.