You can’t really say you know a place until you dive right in – or, in the case of Emerald Coast Tours – roll on in.
Getting to know a new destination requires immersing yourself in its history and culture. If you want to live like the locals live, you need to eat what they eat, drink what they drink … visit the secret spots that make a place special.
Such was the inspiration for Nic Schuck, who historically enjoyed historical tours while vacationing.
“Bicycling was always a way to really get to know a city,” Schuck says. “Know its roads, ins-and-outs, experience every little alleyway possible. And it’s quicker than walking.”
Legs are good, but wheels are even better. Schuck took his first Segway tour in New Orleans, and couldn’t believe how much ground he covered – and how much he learned – in just two hours.
“I knew I wanted to let travelers experience Pensacola that way,” he shares. “I couldn’t believe no one was doing bike tours or even rentals downtown, so I decided to take the plunge.”
Schuck quit his day job and founded Emerald Coast Tours, which today is the only local company offering Segway, bicycle and walking tours of the Greater Pensacola area.
“It gives the traveler another way to see the city. For so many years people have come to Pensacola for the white sand beaches and would overlook our historical significance,” he says.
When it comes to historic Southeastern sites, most people would cite St. Augustine, Savannah or New Orleans. However, Schuck believes Pensacola is just as historically important as those cities, if not more so.
He has made it his mission to share that fact with guests to our town. Every guide at Emerald Coast Tours must know local history – and flavor – like no one else around. If, for example, a guest wants to know where to get a burger, they’ll not only give you the best place, but three of ‘em.
“We’ve tried them all. Same goes for beers, seafood, bread … You name it, we know it,” Schuck beams.
As for the history, he guarantees even locals will learn something new on his tours. To an Emerald Coast Tours guide, this isn’t merely a job. It’s a passion.
“We are all continuously researching and enhancing our knowledge of the city,” the owner states proudly. “We want to give our guests a different experience with every ride.”
The new business is growing every day, now offering tours of Pensacola Beach in addition to Downtown Pensacola. The inland segment is rooted in history, but the coastal tour is much different. Sure, there’s a bit of background about Santa Rosa Island, but on the whole it’s ecologically based. Expect talk of sea turtles and dolphins and different types of fish you may encounter. You’ll also hear about the impact of storms throughout the years.
“We want our guests to come away with more than just saying, ‘Wow! The beach was really white and pretty,” Schuck says. “We want them to feel like they know the beach, like they can go home and be the expert when their friends ask about the area.”
And there’s even more growth planned for the future. Beginning in the summer of 2014, Emerald Coast Tours is excited to announce a new touring option for those who enjoy exercise while on vacation – Historic Jogging Tours of Downtown Pensacola.
Running has never been so fun – and informative. (Nor have walking, biking and … er, Segway-ing?)