City Escape: Jacksonville, Florida

Text: David Burbach • Photography: David Burbach

The low-lying coastal region surrounding Florida’s largest city isn’t home to lots of curves that many motorcyclists crave. However, what a rider will find along this day ride from the city are lovely little seaside towns, southern swamps, and quiet rural communities to give one a much-needed break from city life. Best travel times are spring and fall; summers here are very hot and humid.

Length

Approximately 190 miles

Meet-up Spot

Starbucks, 2771 Monument Rd, Jacksonville, FL

Lunch Stop

An on-site garden produces some of the fresh ingredients used in 29 South Bistro’s world cuisine cooking. Housed in a historic home, find it at 29 S 3rd St, Fernandina Beach, FL, (904) 277-7919, www.29southrestaurant.com.

Scenery (3 out of 5)

Along the coast, the Atlantic Ocean mostly stays hidden behind swanky beachfront houses, but there are several places where riders can take in the views. Inland, big southern oaks draped in Spanish moss and old south farmlands are kind to the eyes.

Traffic (4 out of 5)

Once out of Jacksonville and away from the coast, traffic all but disappears except in the few small towns.

Difficulty (1 out 5)

The coastal plain offers limited curves and elevation changes, making this a relaxing and calm ride.

Road Conditions (3 out of 5)

Conditions vary from excellent to in need of repair. There are plenty of unpaved side roads that would be a blast on a dual sport.

Points of Interest

  1. Folkston Funnel, Folkston, GA
Almost all Florida bound train traffic flows 
through the small town of Folkston, which has built a viewing platform where train enthusiasts can view the passing trains; www.folkston.com.
  2. Amelia Island Museum of History, 
Fernandina Beach, FL
Exhibits on local history and a continuing tradition 
of storytelling make this a great educational 
stop; www.ameliamuseum.org.
  3. Amelia Island State Park, Jacksonville, FL
On the southern tip of Amelia Island riders will find beautiful beaches, salt marshes, and coastal forests; www.floridastateparks.org/park/amelia-island.