Florida’s flat landscape, scenic coasts and awesome weather is coveted in many states. It is The Sunshine State, after all. With few hills, great trails and plenty of adventurous avenues, the state has a slew of biking routes just waiting to be discovered.
Some paved trails stick out above the rest, however. Anyone can pedal down A1A, but not enough people know about the state’s best biking routes. Below are the 10 paved trails we feel are deserving of attention. Whether you’re looking for exploration, a calm Saturday cruise or a Sun Coast Parkway adventure, these bike paths in Florida guaranteed to offer a smooth time. Even if you’re using a “bike trails near me” search on Google, you should know about these rad rides.
The Upper Tampa Bay Trail
The Upper Tampa Bay Trail is a seven-mile trail spanning across Citrus Park and Town N’ Country. It follows an old railroad corridor, featuring some awesome displays like a suspension bridge. The trail crosses the Town ‘N Country Preserve, Rocky Creek and a few other cool paved bike paths.
The Sun Coast Trail
This whopper is 42 miles long. It’s awesome for a leisurely ride, too, featuring plenty of educational landmarks. It also has a lot of resting spots. The Sun Coast Trail is great for beginners, and it has a number of species identification signs providing background on the trail’s many animal residents.
The Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail
Both rural and re-paved, the Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail is maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation itself. If you’re taking a stroll, check out its natural habitats. Expect to see wetlands, flat woodland areas and hardwood uplands. If you’re lucky, you might see some turkeys, turtles, hawks, snakes or deer.
The Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail
The Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail is 16.5 miles long, extending from Boulware Springs Park in the City of Gainesville. It also runs through the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, making it one of the more scenic trails on our list. If you want to take a break, check out of the trail’s many hiking spots. Or, check out some Paynes Prairie overlooks.
The West Orange Trail
The West Orange Trail is much-loved by novice and experienced bikers alike. It’s a world-class rail trail which goes through suburban and urban Orange County locations alike. If you’ve ever wanted to check out Winter Garden, the West Orange Trail is your best bet. Featuring bicycle-art sculptures, restaurants and bike shops, the West Orange Trail is one of the coolest Florida bike trails around, and it’s a must-see before you hit the bike paths in south Florida.
We won’t lie: The Pinellas Trail is a monstrous, 38-mile-long trek. It’s rewarding because of its scenic coastal areas and awesome residential neighborhoods. A member of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame, Pinellas Trail packs a ton of historical landmarks, trailside amenities and unique riding spots. If you’re checking out some southwest Florida bike trails, head north to the Pinellas Trail.
The Sanibel Island Trail
Who doesn’t want to go on an island bike ride? The Sanibel Island Trail is 22 miles long, bringing riders through wildlife refuges, natural beaches, restaurants, gardens and shopping centers. Even if you’re not a tourist, you’ll love the trail’s awesome destinations.
The Tallahassee-St. Mark’s Historic Railroad State Trail
We feel northern Florida needs some love, too. If you fear the hot weather, head up to the state’s capital. Have breakfast in Tallahassee, and take its bike trail over to St. Marks for a seafood lunch. It’s a 20.5-mile-long trail, but it offers a lot of history. It also connects to the Apalachicola National Forest.
The Nature Coast State Trail
It might be 32 miles long, but the Nature Coast State Trail sprawls across a number of great destinations. It connects the communities of Trenton, Cross City, Chiefland and Fanning Springs. It also crosses the Suwannee River and a number of Trenton train stations.
The Shark Valley Trail
Our top trail is the Shark Valley Trail. Ironically, you won’t find any sharks here. You’ll find plenty of American alligators, though. You’ll bike around them, checking out the Miccosukee Indian Reservation just west of Miami. It’s a 14.5-mile-long paved loop, featuring observation towers, the Otter Cave Hammock Trail and The Bobcat Boardwalk. For this reason, it’s one of the best bike trails in south Florida.
Pick up your bike, pack some food and make sure you’re hydrated! Florida biking gets hot. If you’re brave enough, check out the Shark Valley Trail and visit some alligators. Otherwise, stick with the other trails. Each assures a great time, and each features some of the state’s coolest locations.