In general, you're better off having a car if you want to explore this vast area. To get around downtown Jacksonville, you can take the Skyway, an elevated and completely automated train that runs down Hogan Street from Florida Community College's Jacksonville campus through downtown and across the river via the Acosta/Florida 13 bridge to the Southbank Riverwalk. The Skyway operates Monday through Friday from 6am to 11pm, Saturday from 10am to 11pm, and Sunday only for special events. The fare is 50¢.
The Trolley connects with the Skyway and runs east-west through downtown, primarily along Bay Street. It's free and operates Monday through Friday from 6:30am to 7pm and Saturday from 8am to 6pm. In 2010, the Riverside Trolley expanded its weekday service from 5am to 7:30pm with stops at The Shoppes of Avondale. The Beaches Trolley goes from South Beach Parkway Shopping Center to the Atlantic Village Shopping Center, stopping at all points along the beach from 7pm to 2am Fridays, noon to 2am Saturdays, and noon to 6pm Sundays. Fare is free for the downtown route and $1 for the Riverside and Beaches routes. Get maps and schedules from the visitor's bureau or information booths . Both the Skyway and the Trolley are operated by the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (tel. 904/630-3181; www.jtafla.com), which also provides local bus service.
You can hail a cab downtown if you spot one, though it's usually best to call Yellow Cab (tel. 904/260-1111) for a pickup. Fares are around $1.50 when the flag drops and about $1.85 per additional mile thereafter.
Out at the beaches, the St. Johns River Ferry (tel. 904/241-9969; www.stjohnsriverferry.com) shuttles vehicles across the river between Mayport, an Old Florida fishing village on the south side, and Fort George, on the north shore. The boats run daily; times vary, so call for the current schedule. One-way fare is $5 per two-axle private vehicle, $1 per pedestrian or bicyclist. Even if you have to wait 30 minutes for the next ferry, the 5- minute ride greatly shortens the trip between the Jacksonville beaches and Amelia Island.
Bikers and hikers traveling along the 3,000-mile East Coast Greenway connecting major cities from Calais, Maine, to Key West can now take the "Blueway Bypass" thanks to the Cumberland Sound Ferry Service (tel. 877/264-9972; www.ameliarivercruises.com), which runs a minimum of three round-trips per day from Amelia Island, Florida, to St. Marys, Georgia, on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The trip takes approximately 1 hour and features live narration of the region's history, natural features, and wildlife. You'll also get to explore each of the cities. Trip costs $20 round-trip per person.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.