Keep the Ferry – and Historic A1A: Our Islands and Coastline Needs It

Florida’s Historic Highway A1A begins just south of the Georgia border, then comes east to hug the coastline all the way to Key West.  Mile Marker 0.

We’ve all seen that white oval A1A decal.  It’s iconic.

Remember that it’s northeast Florida’s A1A too, and the Mayport Ferry is part of that highway, the same as it would if a bridge linked Fort George Island to our island.

We’re the island without a name and this year is our one hundredth birthday.

Join us on Saturday, February 18 at 1:00pm for a Keep the Ferry rally on Fort George Island – the Heckscher slip, close to the ferry.  The Beaches Online will leave from Mayport and enjoy the ride (rain or shine).   You’ll see us there, so please come. If you have questions, this is a great time to talk with the people who are organizing the effort. It’s time to stand up for this beautiful coastline, for our own A1A,  for the ability to travel through all our barrier islands all the way to Anastasia Island, and then continuing on south all the way to the tip of the state. 

A1A is an essential, historic highway that connects five barrier islands all the way to the Georgia state line!  If the ferry discontinues service, the people of this island and those who travel south on Amelia Island, Big Talbot Island, Little Talbot Island, and Fort George Island to our island – the beaches – will be cut off.  A1A will be truncated at Fort George Island on one side, and at historic Mayport village on the other.   People will be re-routed out to I-95 and through Jacksonville,  only to head back east toward the beaches, where A1A resumes, awkwardly, it seems to me, in Mayport.  We can look across the river to the other side, but we couldn’t get there without taking the long (miles, and time) way around.   What a hassle, and what a shame.

A1A is a Florida iconic road much the same as the PCH is in California.

We can’t imagine not having the A1A/St. John’s River Ferry access between islands.  It’s not good for showcasing our jewels, our beautiful barrier islands.  No A1A crossing would really separate us from the four islands north of us, which just doesn’t make sense.  Have you driven through our chain of islands and experienced this unique coastline?    And further south, when our island ends at Vilano Beach, and we hop over to Anastasia Island via St. Augustine.  An uninterrupted A1A makes Florida island-hopping possible.  We must ensure that it remains intact, and that means keeping the ferry.

We hope you’ll ride with us this afternoon.  If you can’t make it please contact us for information on how you can get involved,  or go to the website specifically created for this issue: Save the St. John’s River Ferry.

The Beaches Online believes that keeping the ferry service and A1A an uninterrupted highway is crucial to the broader view of keeping the coastline accessible.  Let’s work together to make it happen.




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About the Author

Jeannie Greenwald is a freelance photographer, neighborhoods evangelist, and editor-in-chief of The Beaches Online. She is also a degreed psychologist and occasionally works as an adoption social worker for Jacksonville area families. She founded The Beaches Online, LLC, in 2011 to write about the happenings in 'the beaches' - the island-without-a-name, in Duval and St. Johns Counties, Florida. Always equipped with cameras, she roams the beaches, the string of barrier islands from Amelia to Anastasia, and also journeys inland, to the rural banks of Florida's blackwater rivers, and the pristine, freshwater springs. Jeannie's lived at the beaches for twelve years, and considers herself a common-law native. She celebrates the joy of living in a coastal community that prides itself on its beautiful beaches and strong, independent local business community.

Comments (4)

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  1. Chip Blumstein says:

    Not wanting to trivialize this matter, I do support the ferry as I am a Heckscher Drive resident, but the island I live on is not named Ft. George Island, it’s Batten Island. Just sayin’.

    • Hi Chip,

      I hadn’t heard of Batten Island so I looked it up. Wikipedia and others indicate that it’s Fort George Island but that Batten Island is an informal, accepted name. Is that what all your neighbors call the island?

      • Chip Blumstein says:

        Jeannie, Sorry to be so long getting back. The property appraiser’s legal description uses Batton Island. It’s also spelled Batten Island. Most of the residents refer to it as Batten or Ft. George, but I think Ft. George really refers to the plantation and park and Kingsley. Chip (former Atlantic Beach resident for 20 years)

  2. Susan Turner says:

    If the local and state government employee pensions were changed to 401k’s ,we might have the money to keep the ferry and to pay for other expenses also without charging more taxes and fees which no one can afford.
    The ferry is a unique part of our area of the state. It’s a special part of Jacksonville.it makes the A1A drive more interesting and you can really appreciate the beauty of the St John’s River from the ferry.
    I also use the ferry to travel from Atlantic Beach to Fernandina to work sometimes.

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