Florida Cyclists Recommended These Parks & Trails to Go for a Ride

Favorite Florida Park Trails Jim Dodson LawIn September 2019, Jim Dodson Law had a Facebook contest that Florida cyclists entered by describing their favorite places to ride. The winner was announced on October 31st. We asked people to contribute some thoughts about their ride entries and gave them four categories of places where they had ridden: parks and trails, group rides, sponsored cycling events, and other favorite rides. Here are the entries, along with the actual comments provided by each participant. We hope this information inspires you to try a ride you’ve never previously experienced. We also complied all the favorite places to ride in an eGuide that you can download for free. Get your copy of the Best Rides by Friends of The Florida Bike Guy.

Best Florida Parks & Trails to Ride Your Bike

Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County (south-southwest of St. Petersburg):
“It was beautiful scenery with peaceful surroundings.”
“The bike lanes are on roads along peaceful beaches, surrounded by nature.”

Withlacoochee State Trail in Citrus, Hernando, and Pasco Counties (follows the Withlacoochee River and passes through the Withlacoochee State Forest):
“It’s the longest paved rail trail in Florida with wildlife management areas and small towns.”
“It starts north of Dade City and ends in Citrus Springs. Discovered it during Bike Florida’s awesome 2019 spring tour.”
“Plenty of shade. No traffic. Great stops along the way. Friendly bikers.”
“Forty-plus miles of pure biking fun near Inverness and Floral City.”
“It is safe, flat, and not too busy.”
“The ride is pleasant, with lots of trees, and can be done in 20, 30, 40, or 96–mile increments.”

Santos Trailhead & Campground in Ocala in Marion County:
“Beautiful paved trails through mostly wooded landscape. It’s thirty miles of flat, gently rolling hills that are well maintained and no cars.”
“Quiet, no cars, shaded, and smoothly paved, surrounded by nature.”

Myakka River State Park located in Sarasota and Manatee Counties:
“Peaceful.”
“Totally, fantastically sweet in the state park.”

Legacy Trail in Sarasota County:
“Twelve and a half-mile multi-use recreational trail.”
“It’s not just flat, so going up and over the flyovers and back down is fun. It’s pretty centrally located for people from north and south to reach. Located in the Sarasota area plus Tarpon Springs—a great little town to have lunch.”
“Peaceful.”
“Great roads, great views in south Sarasota.”
“It was my first ride in Florida after moving here from Minnesota. Everyone was so friendly and helpful to the ‘new kid.’ I biked alone but I wasn’t alone. I loved the flatness of the ride, coming from hilly Minnesota. I also loved nature at its best. It’s such a beautiful ride in my own town. I have since ridden in many organized rides and continue to learn new riding techniques, etc. Thanks to Bicycle International for such a great start to my biking career here in Florida.”

Fred Marquis Pinellas Bike Trail in Pinellas County (stretching from St. Petersburg up to Tarpon Springs):
“I like that the trail has overpasses that allow you to avoid negotiating busy streets. It also goes right by several parks which are good spots for a break or lunch stop. I saw alligators at two different parks in one week. As you continue into St. Petersburg and pass Tropicana Field, you end at a nice area by Tampa Bay.
I think the trail is well marked and seems to be kept clear of debris. When you do have to cross streets at ground level, there are usually flashing lights available to warn drivers of a bicycle crossing.”
“This trail has smooth ground to ride on.”
“It is the old train tracks that are no longer there, turned into a trail for us to use.”
“I love that this trail winds in and out of different towns along the coast, each with great stuff to offer.”
“You can take it fast, slow, point to point, or mingle in between with interesting and tasty places to stop along the route. It runs most of the length of Pinellas County and is mostly flat.”

Shark Valley Everglades National Park at the head of the Shark River Slough in far western Miami-Dade County:
“We enjoy the wildlife and vegetation along the 15–mile loop trail, although there is no shade on this ride unless you do it at night. On full moon evenings a Ranger-guided ride goes out at night, and this bike ride is highly recommended. No lights. Just ride by the light of the moon.”
“The Everglades are beautiful during the wet season and wildlife is abundant. Water birds, otters, turtles, and alligators are common sights. They are up close and personal too. So give them the right of way when you ride.”

Carlton Reserve from Border Road to Route 72 located in Sarasota County:
“Plenty of solitude and wildlife.”
“Easy gravel and grass trails.”

Marjorie Harris Carr Greenway Trail in Ocala in Marion County:
“Options to ride beautiful, paved, rolling trails or miles and miles of off-road single track for all skill levels. There is a campground and nearby restaurants.”
“Beautiful location near Silver Springs and Ocala. Fun rolling hills on paved trail.”
“Well maintained and easy to follow off-road single track.”

Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail in the Florida Keys:
“It’s a 106–mile paved trail in development in the Florida Keys. When completed, it will connect Key Largo to Key West, making it a part of the East Coast Greenway. Ocean views on both sides for most of the 106 miles it takes to go from Key Largo to Key West.”
“It's a very scenic ride with not only the beautiful ocean views but also the many historic sites you'll pass on the way down.”

Cape Haze Pioneer Trail in Charlotte County:
“It’s convenient to our home in Grove City, and it connects to Placida Road heading back to Englewood. There’s the possibility of meeting friendly scrub jays on the northern portion, and we enjoyed particularly the lovely crossing over wild and beautiful Coral Creek.”
“It’s a linear path, formerly an old railroad bed. The north end is located in Gulf Cove in Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Park on Gasparilla Road, just south of South McCall Road (776). It runs quite straight for eight miles, south past Rotonda, and Coral Creek, ending at the Coral Creek Club just north of Placida.”

Suncoast Trail, a 42–mile paved trail stretching from Hillsborough County through Pasco and ending in Hernando County:
“No cars.”
“Lots of trees and wild animals.”

Venetian Waterway Park, a 9.3–mile concrete trail located in Venice in Sarasota County:
“Scenic and no cars.”
“Flat surface along the Intercoastal Waterway.”

General James A. Van Fleet State Trail in Lake, Polk, and Sumter Counties:
“Limited road crossings and beautiful scenery.”
“With only one curve in its 29.2 miles, you can choose to go slow and view the wildlife or enjoy it at a brisk pace.”

Lake Apopka Loop Trail in Orange County:
“It’s flat, fast, and smooth, and you are surrounded by amazing wildlife, reflecting how Florida was hundreds of years ago. The people of Lake Apopka take great care of the trail.”

We are Committed to Helping Cyclists

There’s nothing I like more than getting out on my bike and enjoying the beautiful scenery of our state parks and trails. But I’m also keenly aware of how the unexpected can happen even when cycling in safer places further away from traffic and busy roads. I am an experienced personal injury lawyer, and I am a cyclist. If you or a someone in your family has been injured in a cycling crash, you can count on me to fight with everything I’ve got to see that justice is served. I’ll do everything the law allows to ensure that you get a full and adequate recovery that will compensate you for all your losses. For the representation you need from a bicycle accident attorney who knows and cares about cyclists, call our office at 727-446-0840 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.

 

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.