Can technology and nature live in harmony? You bet! Kayak Amelia in northeast Florida combines the fun of a Segway with the tranquility of a nature tour.
Want a unique experience on a one-of-a-kind nature tour in Florida? Kayak Amelia, operating in northeast Florida on Fort George Island and Amelia Island, is the only Segway tour of its kind in the state and is the only national park Segway tour in the U.S. Glide through North Florida’s beautiful state and national parks on your way out to waterside bluffs, plantation-era structures and historic forts. It’s a great way to combine the outdoors with modern technology that doesn’t damage the ecosystem and lets one do and see more with less effort.
A Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing transportation device designed to go wherever people go. Most of the time, Segways travel at about five miles per hour – about the pace of a light jog, allowing you to see more of the park in less time. That’s especially a welcomed option during warmer months of the years. People with walking ailments can also enjoy a greater opportunity to explore park trails
Neither ploddingly slow nor dangerously fast, a Segway’s control comes from the rider’s balance, much like roller-skating. The devices allow more ground to be traveled with little effort—all with zero emissions.
On my visit, I embarked on a four-mile tour of nature trails leading to Kingsley Plantation, a stately former cotton plantation. We also zipped down sandy paths through subtropical shrubs and trees, with allsorts of birds, butterflies, tortoises and other life scampering about the towering dunes and coastal habitats. EcoMotion Tours also offers trips that explore Fort George and Little Talbot Islands located near Jacksonville and Fort Clinch State Park on Amelia Island.
A great feature with their tours involves each rider having a headset attached over an ear, allowing us to hear the guide's commentary as we explored the trails of Fort George Island. He provided interesting facts about the ecosystem and history of this beautiful island. Along the way, we gazed at armadillos, birds, trees and flowers.
We visited amazing shell middens, pottery shards, bones and discarded tools – remnants from an entire community. These forests and marshlands have likewise hosted English, Spanish and French explorers as well as a tribe of Timucua Indians.
Choose a Segway Nature Tour
The Fort George Island morning tour took us down Maritime Trail to Kingsley Plantation as well as the Ribault Club. Terrain varied from dunes, tree arches and gentle hills. Keep the camera handy to snap images of the rainbow-colored Painted Bunting Sprawling oaks, giant magnolias and aerial gardens of ferns, Spanish moss and orchids – quite beautiful.
If you prefer a briefer tour, you can head down the Maritime Trail on Fort George Island to the inlet by the same name. You’ll encounter clear waters, panoramas of marshes, sand bars and dunes.
The Little Talbot Island tour is a shorter tour. The Segways slither through the state park’s nature trail into the island’s interior. Along the way will be thick canopies of gnarled oaks and cedar trees, a maritime hammock and remarkable coastal scrub. Right where the Segways stop for a break at a remote “hitching post” of this pristine Atlantic beach. I understand the shelling is spectacular.
Kayak Amelia's riders must be at least 14 years old, weigh under 260 pounds, and able to operate the steering control with the left hand while standing on the Segway's platform for the length of the one- or two-hour tour.
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