Myakka is one of the oldest and biggest state parks, a great place for seeing wildlife, from huge gators to flocks of birds in winter. Go here for its log cabins, appealing camp sites, excellent kayaking, extensive hiking and good bike trails. It’s also a good spot for nature neophytes, who enjoy the airboat ride and canopy walk.
Bike & Hike
Bike trails on South Florida levees offer traffic-free paths along the Everglades, though they can get hot and monotonous. The Bluegill Trail in Palm Beach County is better than most with wildlife and better scenery.
The paved 11-mile Legacy Trail follows an abandoned railroad bed from Sarasota’s suburbs to Venice, where it links up with another 10 miles of trails in Venetian Waterway Park. At the halfway mark, the trail hooks into 15 miles of offroad trails within Oscar Scherer State Park.
Peaceful Waters Sanctuary is an outstanding birding site and a particularly good destination for nature-starved folks from Broward and Palm Beach counties. It’s also close to two good places for 3-mile-long walks in natural settings.
Loop Road is famous for being a wild place. (That once applied to the people as well as the animals.) It’s a gravel road off the Tamiami Trail in the Everglades. If you’re not in a hurry, it’s a rewarding place to explore.
Everyone wants to bike through the beautiful scenery in the Florida Keys, but the Overseas Heritage Trail isn’t entirely complete or entirely safe. We found four terrific segments, however, that give you a fun day’s ride and a sampling of all the Keys has to offer.
This 22,000-acre wilderness offers 60 miles of trails for hiking, biking and equestrians through five thriving wildlife habitats. Six primitive campsites allow you to get away from everything, or camp near the preserve in a little-used county campground with river access.
The Nature Coast Trail is a high-quality rail-trail with a picturesque train trestle over the Suwanee River and some good scenery. Two great state parks are nearby: Manatee Springs for camping and Fanning Springs for cabins. It makes a great weekend for cyclists.
After a dozen years, a prehistoric Native American archaeological site is saved and opened as a park. It makes a nice stop on a walking or bicycle tour of the Brickell area of downtown Miami.
Florida makes an ideal location for bike touring, especially in the winter. Here are three options for week-long supported tours. Best of all, they’re operated by a non-profit, Bike Florida, which raises money for bicycle safety efforts.