An overnight cruise on the St. Johns River will travel from Jacksonville to Lake George in Ocala National Forest. Your cruise will also include the Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to St. Augustine along the northeastern coast of Florida.
American Cruiselines offers an 8-day itinerary and is currently the only major supplier that has multiple-day cruises on the St. Johns River.
There are a few river cruise companies that offer day and evening cruises on the St. Johns River. Some are themed or sightseeing cruises; others are eco- or nature-based where you’ll have a chance to explore some of Florida’s unique ecosystems and natural habitats.
St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida
I, Jonathan Zander [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
The St. Johns River begins in Indian River County near Vero Beach, Florida. It is the longest river in Florida stretching 310 miles from its source to its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville.
The river is not considered navigable until it reaches Seminole County. Beginning as a series of connected marshes, this part of the river is commonly referred to as St. Johns Marsh. It is a blackwater river, which means that it it has a deep, slow-moving flow through forested swamps also known as wetlands.
The St. Johns is one of the few rivers in the United States that has a northerly flow.
Your cruise will travel from Jacksonville to Lake George where you’ll visit Ocala National Forest. The 600-square mile park is home to a variety of wildlife, including American alligators, Florida black bears, red fox, nine-banded armadillo, squirrel bats, snakes, white-tailed deer and manatee
A couple of other destinations you’ll visit along the St. John’s River include, Green Cove Springs and Palatka.
Old Memorial Bridge over St. Johns River in Palatka, Florida
By Ebyabe (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to St. Augustine runs parallel to the St. John’s River. You’ll spend some time in the historic city of St. Augustine and also visit Amelia Island before returning to Jacksonville.
There are a few companies that offer day and evening cruises on the St. Johns River. St. Johns Rivership Co. departs from Sanford, Florida. The company features scenic cruises on an authentic sternwheel paddleboat.
If you’re looking for a party atmosphere, Jacksonville’s Premier Party Boats cruises the St. Johns River in Jacksonville on an authentic steamwheeler.
Eco tours are also available for people who want to explore Florida’s natural habitats and ecosystems found along the river. The company, St. Johns River Cruises, offers tours on the Native II. You'll cruise the backwaters of the river at a speed of up to 6 mph allowing guests to view the wildlife that inhabits this unique ecosystem. Read what others have to say about this tour.
St. Johns River Cruises is a member of the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism.
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