Road Scholar : Home
Amelia Island and St. Augustine: Coastal Treasures in Florida

Program Number: 21268RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/23/2014 - 2/28/2014; 1/24/2016 - 1/29/2016; 2/21/2016 - 2/26/2016; 2/28/2016 - 3/4/2016; 10/9/2016 - 10/14/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Fernandina Beach, Florida
Price starting at: $999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture; Natural History; National Parks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Immerse yourself in St. Augustine and Amelia Island and gain insights into the many centuries and cultures that have made them what they are today. Journey by trolley through Amelia Island’s downtown historic district and hear fascinating true stories of Native Americans, Spanish and French explorers, and lawless pirates. Visit Fort Clinch State Park, built in the 1840s, where a uniformed re-enactor takes you back to the Civil War period. Learn about Amelia Island shrimping and ecology on a narrated study cruise. On field trips in St. Augustine, explore some of the best examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture in the U.S. with beautifully preserved Gilded Age details like Tiffany stained-glass windows. In both locales, enjoy free time to explore on your own.


• Boat into the backwaters of Amelia Island to learn about the region’s shrimping industry and watch for rare birds, manatees and other wildlife.
• In St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the U.S., view historic landmarks in the Old City by open-air train with narration by an expert.
• Explore the Castillo de San Marcos, built in 1672, and discover fine examples of Spanish Renaissance architecture in Henry Flagler’s Gilded Age hotels.

Activity Particulars

Moderate walking, some uneven terrain; standing for some field trip lectures, boarding pontoon cruise boat.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Fernandina Beach, 3 nights; coach to St. Augustine, 2 nights; coach to Fernandina Beach, departure.

Coordinated by Center for Educational Adventure.

Fernandina Beach

This is the largest town on beautiful Amelia Island, the southernmost of the Sea Islands that trail down the Carolina and Georgia coasts. The Victorian element of Fernandina Beach's 4,000-year history is on view in the 50-block historic district.

Fernandina Beach: Historic harbor-front hotel. St. Augustine: Full-service hotel one-half block from the ocean and six miles from historic district.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Patrick Leary, Naturalist and Birder

Patrick Leary is a lifelong naturalist and birder who is committed to coastal bird conservation, and conducts surveys and monitors populations of shorebirds year round. He is a contributing member of the American Oystercatcher and Red Knot Working groups, and collaborates with researchers studying Piping Plovers on the continent and in the Bahamas. Pat contributed to Florida’s initial Breeding Bird Atlas and has co-authored a local bird guide.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
  Fernandina Beach, Florida 3 nights
   Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach
  St. Augustine, FL 2 nights
 Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Type: Hotel
  Description: “HISTORIC HARBOR FRONT HOTEL” offers quality accommodations, friendly and efficient service in clean, comfortable surroundings. Charm, Elegance and Southern Hospitality. All that and more, welcome you as soon as you step onto the hardwood floors of our lobby and take in the elegant winding staircase and hand-painted artwork highlighting Amelia Island's history. Sit and relax in the comfortable lounge area near the fireplace and enjoy coffee or tea and fresh baked cookies every afternoon. Our friendly staff is waiting to welcome you to the Harbor Front Hampton Inn & Suites on Amelia Island. Greet the morning with scenic harbor views in our Breakfast Cafe where our friendly and attentive staff presents a full hot breakfast buffet. It's a perfect place to enjoy that a morning cup of coffee, tea or juice as well as fresh fruit and waffles. The 25 feet high windows give our Cafe an open and airy feel and create a great gathering place for our guests. Comfortable seating invites you to play a game of checkers, catch up on your reading or watch a movie or the game on the 55" inch LED TV. Come back in the evening for our manager's reception and take in the sunset views over the harbor. Enjoy over 50 restaurants and specialty shops, ALL within waking distance of the hotel. We are just 1½ blocks from the Amelia Island Museum of History, which offers daily tours of the Downtown Historic area. Bike rentals, carriage rides, and ghost tours are also popular downtown activities. If relaxation is your preference, white sandy beaches are just minutes away.
  Contact info: 19 South 2nd Street
Fernandina Beach, FL 32034 USA
phone: 904-491-4911
  Room amenities: Rooms have HBO and cable TV, data ports, voice mail and multi-line speakerphones, coffee pots with complimentary coffee packets each day.
  Facility amenities: Complimentary 50+ item breakfast buffet, upper deck pool. King or two queen beds in each room, HBO and cable TV, data ports, voice mail and multi-line speakerphones. On-site guest business office with Internet access, conference facilities, guest laundry, gift shop, fitness center and wireless internet more. •Fitness Room •Pool
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Seasonal rates - call hotel Participant is responsible for making their own reservations if arriving early or staying over after the program ends. Call hotel for availability and seasonal rates.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM

 Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Hilton Garden Inn at St. Augustine Beach, is located half a block from the ocean and five miles from the downtown historic district of our Nation’s Oldest City. Start your day right with a cooked-to-order breakfast in the Great American Grill®, where you can enjoy freshly prepared hot breakfast with continental items each day. Exercise in the fitness center or full-size pool. The hotel features 1,200 sq. ft. of divisible meeting space with full AV capabilities and a 24-hour business center. Take advantage of secure remote printing from your hotel room. Unwind while reading your favorite book in our spacious lobby area, or purchase a snack from the 24-hour Pavilion Pantry®.
  Contact info: 401 A1A Beach Boulevard
St. Augustine, FL 32080 USA
phone: 904-471-5559
  Room amenities: Each of our guest rooms at Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach contains everything you need for a comfortable, productive stay. Stay on top of business with the workstation and complimentary WiFi with secure remote printing through PrinterOn®. Recline on the self-adjusting bed, available as one king-sized or two queen-sized with plump feather pillows and luxurious linen. Enjoy the comforts of home with the in-room Hospitality Center, containing a refrigerator, microwave, and coffee-maker. Relax on an armchair in front of the HD TV or plug your MP3 player into the clock radio and listen to music. Upgrade to a spacious suite and enjoy all the amenities of a standard guest room, plus a soothing whirlpool bath. Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach is a certified Florida Green Lodging, and is a recipient of the JD Power ‘Hotel Guest Satisfaction’ award. Local Attractions •Atlantic Ocean and Beach •Downtown Historic District •Championship Golf Courses
  Facility amenities: •Complimentary WiFi in every guest room •1,200 sq. ft. of meeting and banquet space •100% non-smoking hotel with separate smoking area •Outdoor pool with heated whirlpool •Complimentary 24-hour business center •24 hr Pavilion Pantry Market •Automated Teller (ATM) •Baggage Storage •Coin Laundry ($1.50) •Elevators •Laundry/Valet Service •Luggage Hold •Multi-Lingual Staff •On-Site Convenience Store •Room Service •Snack Shop .•Fitness Room •Pool
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Must call hotel for rates. Call hotel for seasonal rates.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Hotel check-in begins at 4 p.m. in the lobby. Road Scholar check-in is at 5:00 pm in the conference room followed by orientation. You will be staying at Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina that night.
  End of Program:
Morning presentation ends by 10:30 a.m. Hotel check-out at 12 Noon. You will be staying at Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free for length of the program at the hotel. If you leave your car in Fernandina, you must park across the street from the hotel in the city parking lot at the marina.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fernandina Beach, Florida
  Nearest city or town:  Jacksonville, FL
  Nearest highway: Hwy A1A
  Nearest airport:  Jacksonville International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location:  St. Augustine, FL
  Nearest city or town:  Jacksonville, FL
  Nearest highway: I-95 or Highway 1A
  Nearest airport:  Jacksonville, FL
Travel Details

To Fernandina Beach from Jacksonville, FL


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Amelia Transportation
phone: 904-753-6480
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$47 flat rate up to 6 people, gratuity not included
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


30 minutes 




30 miles


Advance reservations are required and may be made by going to:


Jacksonville, FL to Fernandina Beach, FL


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
GO Airport Shuttle
phone: 904-353-8880
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$47 for 1 person, $8 for each additional person. Return trip to airport is $55 up to three people.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


35 - 40 minutes 




25 - 30 miles


Call for most recent pricing. Round trip rate is $90 for up to three people.

Driving Directions
  I-95 to Downtown Hampton Inn & Suites, Fernandina Beach, FL Take Exit 373 to Amelia Island. Head east on A1A for 16 miles. You will see signs along the way, directing you to drive straight ahead into the downtown historic district. After crossing the bridge to the island, look on your left for Ash Street (it is one block after the 6th light on the Amelia Island), turn left. At Second Street, turn right. (The hotel blends into the historic atmosphere.) Hampton Inn & Suites is located at 19 S. Second Street, and is a multi-colored, 4-story stucco building. If you need assistance, the hotel phone number is 904-491-4911.
Equipment Requirements: No special equipment is required.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival, Registration, and Orientation
(Sunday, February 23)
 Afternoon: HOTEL CHECK IN: You may check into the hotel beginning at 4:00 pm. PROGRAM REGISTRATION: Please register with the Road Scholar program staff at our desk in the conference room beginning at 5:00 pm. You'll receive your arrival packet containing the most up-to-date schedule and program information that we'll review during our orientation session at 5:00 pm. ORIENTATION: You'll have an informative overview of the program to come plus an opportunity to meet the program staff and your fellow participants during an introductory get-acquainted session. We'll review the updated schedule, answer any questions you may have, and cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, and emergency procedures. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of any changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding!
 Dinner: A catered meal will be served buffet style at the hotel.
 Evening: Relax and enjoy new acquaintances. Unpack and unwind.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Amelia Island and Fernandina Field Trip /Fort Clinch/History of Yulee
(Monday, February 24)

Note: Field trip will be on a trolley with guide. Fort Clinch involves walking up to the fort and around in the fort. From trolley to fort entrance is around 200 yards. Standing in fort for presentation is up to 45 minutes with some sitting areas available.

 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage.
 Morning: AMELIA ISLAND TROLLEY:Today will be a day of fascination and historical adventure. We will explore the downtown historic district. You will be greeted by an historian who will begin by giving a brief history of Amelia Island. Hear the story of the visionary whose exhilarating dream so stirred his neighbors that they agreed to move their entire town to the site of a plantation he owned, creating "New" Fernandina in the 1850’s. From the "giant" Timucua Native Americans, to Spanish and French explorers, to the lawless spirit of pirates, to the dignified air of Victorian-era residents, Amelia Island has been home to diverse cultures that have left a truly exciting heritage. Expect the rare privilege of observing the uniquely gracious and historic homes of another century. Allow yourself to get in touch with efforts to preserve the nearly extinct, pristine architectural styles within a small, gifted American town struggling to retain its fragile sense of family and community as well as its birthright and historical integrity.
 Lunch: Relax and enjoy lunch at Café Karibo located inside a charming historic building, in historic downtown Fernandina Beach. An eclectic palette of colors and furnishings and a large garden patio shaded by huge oak trees invites you to a fun and unique culinary experience.
 Afternoon: FORT CLINCH: Fort Clinch State Park is a 1,086 acre outpost of pristine beaches and dunes, nature trails, ponds and salt marshes and the island's only campgrounds. Fort Clinch, named for General Duncan Lamont Clinch, an important figure in Florida's Seminole War of the 1830's who also fought in the War of l812, is one in a system of permanent coastal fortifications. Construction began in 1847 and was occupied briefly by the Confederate forces until being overrun by the Union troops. It has been meticulously preserved and will give you the feeling of life as it was over 150 years ago. A period, uniformed re-enactor will take you back in time as he leads your field trip. Reliving your ancestors life in this old fort is an incredible, historic adventure! Close your eyes for a moment and you can almost hear the roar of the cannons!
 Dinner: A catered meal will be served buffet style at the hotel.
 Evening: Learn about the the town of Yulee. Named for former Florida Senator David Levy Yulee. Perhaps no one made more of an impact on the early development of Florida's railroads than Sen. Yulee.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Amelia Island River Cruise/Free Afternoon and Evening
(Tuesday, February 25)

Note: River Cruise is on a covered pontoon boat with narration. Walk down a ramp that is tide dependent on elevation. At low tide the ramp can be as much as a 25% grade.

 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage.
 Morning: AMELIA RIVER CRUISE: Join in an extensive and rich history of the shrimping industry, with views of wildlife seen along the way. From Fernandina's shrimp boats, historic Old Towne and Ft. Clinch, to the wild horses of Cumberland Island and the ruins of the Carnegie Dungeoness Mansion and the Greyfield Inn, our historians will share the colorful stories that define the character of this unique part of the world.
 Lunch: Have fun with lunch on your own at any restaurant in the historic district or travel to the beach for lunch. It is only 2 miles away. We will give you a list of restaurants within easy walking distance. There are so many good ones to choose from or you may join the coordinator for lunch.
 Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON: Time on your own, spend the afternoon at the beach, the Amelia Island Museum, historic village, read a book or fine time to relax in one of the coffee and reading boutiques.
 Dinner: Dinner will be at a popular downtown restaurant. This will be our last day at Fernandina Beach and tomorrow we will travel to St. Augustine, FL.
 Evening: Walk around this adorable town where trees stay lit year round and the streets are busy with visitors. You may decide to head to the fudge shop and watch them making the fudge before you select your favorite to take home with you. If there are any shops you wish to return to, this is the time because we will leave tomorrow for St. Augustine.
Accommodations: Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Fernandina
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Travel to St. Augustine, Lightner Museum, Flagler College, Colonial Art
(Wednesday, February 26)

Note: Travel time today is one and a half hours or 77 miles. St. Augustine Field Trip is on an open air train called "The Little Red Train". A collapsible wheel chair is permitted on the Little Red Train. The Lightner Museum and Flagler College are handicapped and wheelchair accessible. Walking around in the historic old town can be several blocks or as much as you want. Places to sit in restaurants or park benches. A1A Aleworks Restaurant is handicapped accessible.

 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage.
 Morning: DEPART FERNANDINA BEACH FOR ST. AUGUSTINE FIELD TRIP IN THE OLD CITY: St. Augustine wouldn't be the nation's oldest continually occupied European settlement without many of the historical landmarks that tell of the city's storied past. On our field trip to St. Augustine, we will learn about the city on a little red train that is the best way to see a large expanse without walking. From Native Americans, Spanish settlers, British soldiers and the occasional pirate to 18th century dilettantes, tycoons and eccentric millionaires, St. Augustine has been home to a wide range of cultures, which are still preserved through the city's historical sites. FLAGLER COLLEGE: Located in what was once Henry Flagler's first St. Augustine hotel, the Ponce de Leon, the college operates tours for both visitors and prospective students. Jaws will drop at the sight of such incredible architecture which has been painstakingly preserved through the years. The campus grounds are equally impressive with their rows of towering palms and well kept gardens.
 Lunch: Lunch will be at a popular award winning restaurant, A1A Alworks, which is located in historic St. Augustine overlooking the scenic Mantanza Bay.
 Afternoon: LIGHTNER MUSEUM: The Lightner Museum, housed inside one of Henry Flagler's former hotels, offers a wide variety of artifacts including an ancient mummy and a stuffed lion that once belonged to Winston Churchill. Relics of America's Gilded Age are elegantly exhibited on the museum's three floors. Costumes, furnishings, mechanical musical instruments and other artifacts give you a glimpse into 19th century daily life. The Lightner collection includes beautiful examples of cut glass, Victorian art glass and the stained glass work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. The lobby of the museum has recently been restored to the opulence of its early days as the Alcazar Hotel
 Dinner: Dinner will be at a popular restaurant in St. Augustine.
 Evening: A Colonial Art demonstration will be given by an area artist and expert on charcoal paintings.
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Castillo de San Marcos, Memorial Presbyterian Church Free Afternoon In Old City
(Thursday, February 27)

Note: Walking at fort on uneven terrain. The parking lot and the fort's lower level, which includes the museum rooms, the theater, the bookstore and the restrooms, are wheelchair accessible. Most of the Park's pedestrian walkways are paved; however, those within the moat and covered way are sand and crushed shell stone. The Gun Deck Level can only be reached by stairs. The Memorial Presbyterian Church is wheel chair accessible.

 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: CASTILLO DI SAN MARCOS FORT The Castillo de San Marcos is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States (Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico is older). Located on the shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida, construction was begun in 1672, 107 years after the city's founding by Spanish Admiral and conquistador Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, when Florida was part of the Spanish Empire. FIELD TRIP TO MEMORIAL PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH The church was built in 1889 by business tycoon and St. Augustine benefactor Henry Morrison Flagler and dedicated in honor of his daughter Jennie Louise Benedict, who died following complications from childbirth the same year, hence the word Memorial. Designed by the New York architectural firm of Carrère and Hastings in the Second Renaissance Revival style and inspired by St Mark's Basilica in Venice, the church was built utilizing a novel construction technique pioneered by Franklin W. Smith, builder of the Villa Zorayda. This building method utilizing poured concrete mixed with crushed coquina stone, was utilzed in Smith's Casa Monica Hotel, as well as in Flagler's Ponce de Leon Hotel and Alcazar Hotel, both of which last were designed by Carrère and Hastings, with construction overseen by Smith. Like the Alcazar and Ponce de Leon, many of the architectural details were created with terra cotta Upon Flagler's death in 1913 he was interred in a marble mausoleum within the church beside his daughter Jennie Louise and her infant Marjorie, as well as his first wife Mary Harkness Flagler.
 Lunch: We will end up with lunch at the exquisite Columbia Restaurant in featuring marvelous Spanish cuisine. The century-old establishment first opened in Tampa by Casimiro Hernandez Sr. and then five subsequent restaurants were created. The award-winning cuisine is set in an atmosphere of beautifully Spanish designed rooms.
 Afternoon: The rest of the afternoon is yours to explore the old city on your own. Your lunch is in the heart of it all. We will meet back at a given time to return to the hotel.
 Dinner: We will dine at the historic restaurant called Raintree. As you walk up the path leading into this old house of more than twelve decades, you’ll feel the warmth of time and enjoy the decor that says, “welcome.” In the restaurant is a replica of the yacht that brought the owners to America. This century-old Victorian building is one of the last survivors of a period of development that began in this part of St. Augustine after the end of the Civil War.
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn St. Augustine Beach
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Breakfast, Departures
(Friday, February 28)
 Breakfast: Hot breakfast buffet served daily with fresh fruit, eggs, biscuits, waffles, pancakes, danish, bacon or sausage.
 Morning: Departures after breakfast. We will take participants to the Jacksonville Airport leaving by 9:00 am. Arrival in Jacksonville will be by 10:00 am. After dropping off at the airport, if anyone needs to pick up their car at Fernandina, we will take remaining participants back to Fernandina to retrive their vehicles. Arrival in Fernandina will be around 11:30 - 12 noon.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach

Author: Ron Kurtz

Description: Eight flag history with contemporary photographs/Adult....Older children can benefit from the photography and the story

Ghosts of Amelia Island and Other Tales

Author: Maggie Carter-de Vries

Description: Adults and Children

Images of Amelia Island

Author: Rob Hicks in association with the Amelia island Museum of History

Description: Light text with historic photographs, many from the Museum's collection/ Adult...Older children can benefit from the photography

The Golden Age of Amelia Island, Revised

Author: Suzanne Davis Hardee and Kathleen Davis Hardee Arsenault

Description: Late 19th Century history/Adult

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768