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Hidden Gems: Meet The Bullington Family of Amelia Island Kayak Excursions

Today we’d like to introduce you to The Bullington Family.

We’re so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
As a family, we have always loved and enjoyed exploring the great outdoors, so it was only natural that our business came as it is a result of years of our outdoor adventures that we have enjoyed.

Over the years, we found ourselves regularly taking family members and friends on day and overnight kayak trips. Because we considered it a blessing to be able to make a living at what we love to do, Amelia Island Kayak Excursions was established in 2013.

We are honored that our family’s business has become Northeast Florida’s most acclaimed tour company. Starting with six kayaks to a current fleet, we are now hosting local families, guests from all over the USA and around the world. We offer tours for exciting family outings, small and large group events, reunions, and even proposals! Our guests can experience 2-hour, 3-hour, and 5-hour guided tours as well as overnight excursions.

Through the generations, our family has developed and maintained a strong work ethic , which is an asset that we have applied to our kayak business. We combined this work ethic with our passion for recreation, and love for people, and the results have been a huge success.

Our love for people and the great outdoors is derived from our belief in God, the Creator of this beautiful world. We believe we are to be responsible stewards of all that He has given us. It is our desire to share our passion for kayaking with others. We care about people, and it is our goal to help our guests have an authentic, fun and informative experience as they explore the natural settings of our area.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The biggest challenge has been maintaining a strong and healthy family nucleus while at the same time operating and growing our business.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Amelia Island Kayak Excursions is a local, multi-generational family owned/operated, award-winning business of parents and founders Mark and Kim, their daughter Amber and her husband Madison, their son Aaron and his wife Natasha, and three Grandchildren – Gabriel, Anslea and John-Mark. Every member is a part of the business, and all enjoy being on the water!

AIKE offers professionally guided kayak tours/rentals, Hobie Mirage® Kayaks & SUP’s, and private motorboat tours.
Our kayak tours range from black water wooded environments to estuaries, salt marshes, intracoastal waterways, the Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge, and the Suwannee River. We are also authorized through the National Park Service to offer tours to Cumberland Island National Seashore, where guests can spend time on the Island. In addition, we offer Kids and Teen Summer Kayak Camps as we are excited to share with the “next generation of kayakers” a sense of adventure and wonder for kayaking and the outdoors while exploring our area’s natural environment.

With thousands of excellent reviews, our specialty is creating memorable experiences for our guests. We are creative in “thinking outside the box” as we offer a variety of tour options. As we speak with our guests, we can answer questions and discuss their needs to find the best options in planning a fun outing for them. As a family-owned business, we have the luxury of being flexible in creating specialty tours and events too!

We work hard and are honored that we have been the recipients of the U.S. Senate Small Business, USA Today 10Best Kayaking Tours, JAX Best Watersports & Rentals, Best of the Best Water Sports – Times Union Jacksonville, Two time Nassau County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Award, Travelers’ Choice Award and #1 on TripAdvisor for over 9 years, Outstanding FYCCN Partner (Florida’s Youth Conservation Centers Network), Bartram Trail Affiliate, and 5 Star ratings on Google, Facebook, and Yelp.

In striving to give people good and personable service, it does not matter how many guests we have at one time. Guests are not just a “number”, and our guides enjoy spending time with them while “getting off the beaten path” and exploring. Also, it is important to us to provide quality gear to our guests, as not all kayaks are created equal. We specialize in having the properly designed boats for the type of waterways where guests will be paddling. We also have a variety of sizes, so we can accommodate a wide range of different heights and weights. The equipment that we provide to our guests is the same quality that our guides use. For every kayak eco-tour our guests receive the perfect keepsake — a complimentary digital photo album!

Our family business is somewhat of an anomaly. In this high-tech day in which we find ourselves, we have been told that what we have accomplished is impossible! But we have proven that one can take an “old fashioned approach” and still run a successful business in a high-tech world. Our entire business model is derived from our belief in God. We attribute all of our success to our belief in God and in the way He teaches us how to live. Our approach is to create the best experience as we strive to enrich peoples’ lives though a multi-faceted interactive outdoor experience. Honoring God, valuing people, and offering great customer service and exciting adventures never go out of style.

Can you share something surprising about yourself?
Combined, our past professions include the following: Farmers (agriculture & livestock), Logger, Executive Bank Secretary, Pastry Chef, Special Events Coordinator, Entertainment Director, Engineering Admin, OTR Trucker, General Contractor, Chaplain, Musicians, Rural Mail Carrier, Payroll Manager, Teacher, Guest Relations Manager, Security & Overnight Hotel Manager…) just to name a few!

Owner Mark attended “outdoor university” (rural America) and tells guests that after 57 years he “got his degree” and landed his dream job. He encourages young people to not give up on their dreams!

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Amelia Island Kayak Excursions

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