South Florida bike trails offer great scenery and local flavor. From the Keys to Lake Okeechobee, here are nine great bike trails that we’ve tried and recommend. How many have you ridden?
Bike & Hike
Some of the best hiking near Orlando can be found at the Little Big Econ State Forest, where bluffs along a scenic river add interest. The forest is 5,000 acres preserved in a suburban area in the middle of the triangle formed by Orlando, Cocoa and Daytona Beach.
Lake Wales Ridge State Forest is for explorers – folks who like to find places that aren’t in the guidebooks. Here you can hike for miles in the woods, hear only nature and have a chance to spot wildlife, including bear, bald eagles and endangered scrub jays.
This paved bike trail system has it all — spectacular scenery, a smooth paved surface with few road crossings and great amenities and stops along the way. The 11-mile Legacy Trail, which follows an abandoned railroad bed from Sarasota’s suburbs to Venice, connects to another 10 miles of trails in Venetian Waterway Park.
This state park has superior cabins and is a great base for kayaking the Suwannee and hiking. It’s also home to an oddly dated museum on Stephen Foster. (We considered it a funky Florida find.)
This state park holds a special place in my heart. In urban South Florida, it preserves a sliver of the natural splendor once all around. There’s a lot to do here: beach, biking, shaded picnics, Intracoastal views. When visiting, a perfect day includes a stop to nearby Bonnet House.
Grassy Waters Preserve in West Palm Beach is a rare South Florida spot to hike or bike for miles in a wild area. It also offers a great family-friendly boardwalk through a lovely cypress swamp.
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, an Audubon Society preserve, takes you on a hike via boardwalk with good wildlife viewing and exquisite scenery.
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.