St. Johns River Ferry

Although the experience is short, the memory lasts a lifetime…

I woke up early that Saturday morning. My bike was waiting for me downstairs. Cleaned and ready to go. Next stop Fernandina Beach via the St. Johns River Ferry. I had heard about the ferry in passing conversation, but nothing more than a means of transportation. Well that Saturday morning, if I wanted to take the coast all the way to Fernandina Beach I needed to take the St. Johns Ferry.

Jean Ribault - Mayport Ferry

Jean Ribault – Mayport Ferry

Of course, in typical Jacksonville fashion, the weather was a beautiful 75 degrees with a light breeze coming off the ocean. I road the twelve miles to Mayport Village, where I soon realized I wasn’t going to be the only passenger on the ferry. That being said, I was the only cyclist. So, I maneuvered my bike between the parked cars and managed to snag a spot front and center on the ferry’s bow. The St. Johns opened up in front of me and to my right I could pick out the Navy Ships hulking at bay, while the Atlantic Ocean bore down on the mouth of the river. For only $1 I was experiencing one of the best views in all of Northeast Florida.

Fifteen minutes later and the ferry ride was over. I took my bike and continued my trek up the coast, stopping at Little Talbot and Big Talbot Island, which in itself transported me to a time lost long ago, before cars and industrialization ate up our land giving way to behemoth cement pillars that poke out into the sky like unwanted zits, but I digress…

The St. Johns River Ferry, also known as the Mayport Ferry, has been operating since 1874, long before the convenience of the Dames Point Bridge. Over the ferry’s storied history, including the loss of the original ferry service vessel, Blackbeard, and an attempt to discontinue the service all together, the ferry has continued on making the 0.9 mile journey across the St. Johns; a true testament against the admonition of the nautical phrase, “left high and dry.”

Although this service may seem to withstand the test of time, there is always concern that one day Jacksonville residents and all of Northeast Florida may lose this beautiful experience. So, it is really up to all of us to continue to use the Mayport Ferry and if you have not yet taken the opportunity, then experience the ride for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it.

Jean Ribault - Mayport Ferry

Jean Ribault – Mayport Ferry

One comment on “St. Johns River Ferry
  1. Pingback: Sandollar Restaurant and Marina - Great View, Not So Great Service & Food - Jacksonville Restaurant Reviews

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