Why go further than northeast Florida, when there are great sailing vacation opportunities right here. Now you can charter Now & Zen, a 42 foot sailing catamaran, from Jacksonville or Amelia Island for sailing vacations, or schedule day trips and sunset cruises to explore these fabulous unspoiled and historic destinations.
Now & Zen makes its homeport in Ortega, just 10 minutes from downtown Jacksonville for most of the spring and fall. In July and August we are stationed in Fernandina on Amelia Island. Both are great starting locations for a sailing vacation.
Fort George and Little Talbot Islands
Enjoy the beach, sandbars, and ocean swimming at Talbot Islands State Park. This is a great overnight destination from either Jacksonville or Amelia Island. The Fort George River provides a protected anchorage nestled among the salt marshes and sand flats. This remote area of the park is only accessible by boat. Here you can bird-watch or play and swim off the extensive sandbars that appear and disappear with the tide. It is a captivating dinghy ride winding your way through the back waters and dunes of the Fort George River arriving at a beautiful flat sandy almost private ocean beach of Little Talbot Island. Here you can swim in the ocean waves as the roll over the sandbars off the island.
Departing from Jacksonville it is an absorbing 3-4 hour trip down the magnificent St Johns River sailing right through downtown passing the Jacksonville Landing, the Times-Union Center/Symphony Hall, the Jaguars’ Stadium and Jacksonville Port operations You also pass under the striking Dames Point Bridge, the second longest cable-stayed bridge in America, the sixth in the world, and the only one with harp stays.
Departing from Amelia Island you’ll enjoy the natural beauty of the salt marshes that line the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) on the 3-4 hour trip down to Fort George. You’ll cross Nassau Sound as you marvel at the birds and wild life.
Explore the Quaint Seaside Village of Fernandina
Whether your a departing from Fernandina or sailing up from Jacksonville, you will want to spend some time exploring this historic town. Founded in 1562, the town we see today was largely built after the civil war. The tree lined streets are dotted with Victorian homes, interesting shops and many excellent restaurants. It’s easy to spent an afternoon (or 2) exploring the town and dinning out.
Fernandina Harbor Marina makes a great overnight stopover if you are on a 2 or 3 (or more) day vacation from Jacksonville.
Cumberland Island a Must See
If you are going to Fernandina, you will want to take the 2 hour sail over to Cumberland Island. You can sail up close to Cumberland Island all the way up to the Greyfield Inn. You almost always see dolphins, manta rays, and wild horses on the island. It takes about an hour to go ashore and see the ruins of the 59-room brick Queen Anne style mansion Dungeness, finished in 1886 and burned in 1959. You will be sure to see a dozen or more wild horses on your walk. You can also extend your shore time and walk across the island through the unspoiled hammock forests to the natural ocean beaches.
You may want to anchor and spend the night in the solitude of Cumberland Sound or head over to St Marys to spend the night at the marina there.
Historic St Marys, GA
After visiting Cumberland, a great overnight stop is to visit St Mary’s, Ga. Smaller and quieter than Fernandina, the historic district there beckons with white picket fences, ancient trees, charming Victorian Inns and enchanting shops and cafes dating back past the civil war; definitely one of the top historic seaside towns in the south.
Departing from Amelia Island, Cumberland Island and St Marys are great overnight destination alternatives to Fort George.
Departing from Jacksonville either Cumberland Island or St Marys are fabulous stopovers for 2 or 3 (or more) day sailing vacation that includes Fort George Island.
Jekyll Island, the Crown of the Golden Isles of Georgia
Another 3-4 hours north of Cumberland is Jekyll Island, GA. In 1886, a group of millionaires purchased the island and converted it into the country’s most exclusive club. You can visit the Millionaires’ Village and see the beautiful restored homes formerly belonging to the Rockerfellers, Macys, Goodyears, J.P. Morgan & more. There are many beaches accessible by boat along St Andrews Sound if you are looking for some beach time. You can sail there going out the St Marys inlet for a ocean trip and come back on the ICW that allows you to circumnavigate Cumberland Island.
The Jekyll Harbor Marina has a waterfront cafe, pool and hot tub for a wonderful overnight stay. Borrow one of their bikes to ride the island or take our dinghy up to Jekyll Wharf for stroll through the Millionaires’ Village.
Departing from Amelia, Jekyll Island is a perfect 2 (or more) day sailing vacation destination that includes Cumberland Island and/or St Marys. A 4 (or more) day vacation could also include Fort George.
Departing from Jacksonville, Jekyll Island is the ideal destination for a 4 or 5 (or more) day vacation that also includes Fort George, Fernandina and Cumberland Island and/or St Marys.
Longer Sailing Vacations
If you have time, you can sail to the historic town of Brunswick GA, or the beach community of St Simons Island on the Intracoastal Waterway. Or, you can even make the trip down to St Augustine for a taste of that great historical town included with the above destinations.
Planning Your Sailing Vacation
There are so many great destinations for a memorable vacation, that it is best to give us a call so we can help you plan your excursion. We’ll help you strike a balance between the fascinating seaside towns; exploring the marshes, sandbars, and beaches; historical sights; marinas and remote anchorages; ocean and Intracoastal sailing. We’ll make the most of the wind, weather and tide combined with your personal preferences to ensure you have a fabulous vacation.
An Experience You Will Remember for Years to Come
So whether you have time for just a sunset sail, a day trip, overnight to the Talbot Islands and the Fort George River, or several days to explore all the islands and waterways; your sailing charter on Now & Zen will be an experience of a lifetime. So for an unforgettable escape on the water right here in the greater Jacksonville area and Amelia Island, be sure to mark a sailing charter on Now & Zen on your “must do” list.