The Water Taxi
Boarding the Jacksonville Water Taxi one recent day at The Jacksonville Landing felt a little like being on vacation. As I watched the Jacksonville skyline recede while crossing to the other side of the St. Johns River, I got a view of the city that’s only possible by boat.
Tall downtown buildings rose majestic against the sky, framed by bridges and the river, which sparkled in the afternoon sun. During a 20 minute loop, which the Water Taxi makes multiple times a day, we stopped briefly at Friendship Fountain, Crowne Plaza, and the Wyndam Jacksonville Riverwalk Hotel before heading back to The Landing.
The Water Taxi is a familiar sight to First Coast residents, but I’d never ridden it before. I didn’t get off at any of its stops, just rode it for fun – which is what most fellow passengers did.
It’s a great sightseeing ride: tickets are $3 one way or $6 round trip. Senior citizens and children ages 3 to 10 are $2 one way and $4 round trip.
The St. Johns Ferry is also an adventurous way of crossing the St. Johns River via boat. It travels continuously back and forth between Mayport Village and Fort George Island, and is officially a piece of Florida A1A, and the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000 mile traffic-free path from Key West to Maine. As such, the ferry is a practical way to travel those routes with your car or bicycle, or can be fun just to ride for the experience.
I’ve ridden it many times, and always enjoy the sight of pelicans perched on the docks, and watching large ships pass by as they head toward the Atlantic Ocean. The ride is short, because the crossing is just about one mile long. But I always get out of my car to take in the scene, and feel the fresh air on my face.
The ferry operates daily, including holidays. From Mayport, Monday to Friday, it departs at 6 a.m., 6:20 a.m. and 7 a.m., continuing on the hour and half hour with final departure at 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, it departs at 7 a.m., 7:20 a.m. and 8 a.m., continuing on the hour and half hour with final departure at 8:30 p.m.
The ferry departs from Fort George Island Monday to Friday at 6:10 a.m., 6:40 a.m., and 7:15 a.m., continuing on the quarter after and quarter before the hour, with final departure at 7:15 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, it departs at 7:10 a.m., 7:40 a.m., and 8:15 a.m. and continues on the quarter after and quarter before the hour with final departure at 8:45 p.m.
Pedestrians and bicycles are $1 each way; cars are $6. A smart phone app allows riders to track real time arrival and departure times or receive alerts about delays.