Florida is pretty much designed for great cycling. With perfect weather year-round, flat trails and gorgeous landscapes wherever you turn, it is a dream for serious cyclists and casual weekenders alike.
Although some parts of the Sunshine State are over-developed when it comes to roads and urban sprawl, you don’t have to go very far to find great cycling trails, particularly in North Florida.
Florida bike trails are as picturesque, historic, and enjoyable as you’ll find anywhere in the US, and bike rental is commonplace throughout the state, especially in the state parks.
Strapping your bikes to the roof of your car and heading off for a weekend on the trails is a magnificent experience, and Florida offers a myriad of opportunities for serious enjoyment on two wheels.
With that in mind, take a look at our round-up of the best biking trails across Florida, and get to planning your next outdoor cycling adventure!
North Florida offers some of the best cycling trails in the Sunshine State. Whether cycling through state parks, past natural springs or along the banks of gorgeous, lazy rivers, North Florida truly is a biking paradise.
1. Nature Coast Trail
Best for weekend cycle tourers.
Starting off in Fanning Springs, the Nature Coast Trail is a superb, paved bike trail that runs through the picturesque countryside of Columbia County. It offers 32 miles of serene, quiet riding, much of it along the Suwannee River, with a delightful historic train trestle crossing one of the many highlights.
It is a great weekend option, with cabin rentals available in Fanning Springs, or some wonderful camping options in Manatee Springs State Park. While the trail is well away from built-up areas and the noise from highway traffic, you are never too far from useful amenities, with the trailheads at Chiefland, Cross City, and Trenton all offering parking, restrooms, and pavilions.
2. Big Shoals Trail
Best for casual riders and nature lovers.
Big Shoals State Park is all about the drama of nature, with vast limestone cliffs and the largest whitewater rapids in Florida. The State Park offers 28 miles of wonderful wooded biking trails, with a great combination of forest scenery and stunning cliff top vistas as you wind your way along the banks of the Suwannee River.
Cycling Big Shoals is a superb chance to take in some of the quintessential North Florida flora and fauna. The state park is full of sandhills and hardwood hammocks, moss-draped oaks, and wildflower meadows, and is a gorgeous place for a gentle cycle. Take a break and sit quietly, and you’ll probably catch sight of gopher tortoises, wild turkey, and deer, and you might even hear a horned owl hooting in the distance!
3. Gainesville Hawthorne State Trail
Best for serious cyclists.
Gainesville is a serious cycling town, and this might have something to do with the impressive Gainesville Hawthorne State Trail on its doorstep. Regularly hailed as one of the best cycling trails in Florida, this tree-lined paved trail runs all the way along the northern edge of the glorious Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park.
Unusually for Florida, the west of the trail offers a few gentle hills, and crosses streams, passes by wildflower meadows, and through picturesque forests. As the trail winds its way through Paynes Prairie Preserve it is well worth jumping off the bike and hiking the one and a half miles of La Chua Trail, where you can find giant gators, wild horses, and even the occasional bison!
4. O’Leno State Trail
Best for off-roaders.
Set on the banks of the beautiful Santa Fe River, O’Leno State Park offers some of the best off-road cyclings in North Florida. Over 20 miles of rolling single- and double-track trails are a wonderful way to explore the beautiful scenery of the state park, which offers some delightful highlights in the form of natural springs, sinkholes, and a charming wooden suspension bridge built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Somewhat more developed and built-up than north Florida, you have to look a little harder and go a little further to find the best cycling in South Florida. But the biking trails here are well worth the effort, with some absolutely stunning examples just waiting to be discovered.
5. Shark Valley Loop
Best for biking families and nature lovers.
The wonderfully named Shark Valley marks the entrance to the Everglades directly west of Miami. The Everglades might conjure up images of airboats, mangroves, and gator-filled swamps, but this excellent 15-mile paved loop trail is perfect for cycling and offers a wonderful opportunity to explore one of the icons of Florida on two wheels.
With no traffic beyond a tram that shares the path, this is a brilliant option for families with children, and rewards a slow, relaxed approach which will pay dividends in terms of wildlife watching!
6. Sanibel Island
Best for luxury weekend riders.
Sitting just off the coast of southwest Florida, Sanibel is an exquisite slice of island paradise, full of charming lighthouses, gorgeous beaches, and quaint roadside attractions. It also boasts 22 miles of spotless trails that wind their way through the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and along the beautiful coastline of the island.
Wooden boardwalks and bridges take you through lush vegetation, while birdwatchers will be delighted with the diverse species who call the island home.
7. Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
Best for long-distance cycle tourers.
For stunning coastal scenery, it is hard to beat the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail. A truly unique cycling journey without comparison anywhere else in the world, the trail runs almost the entire length of the Florida Keys, allowing you to cycle over 80 miles of the 106-mile road between Key Largo and Key West safely and securely.
The views are genuinely awesome, with the highlight being the two-mile long Long Key Bridge, and if you don’t like attempting the entire length of US-1 there are some wonderful loops to explore, on Islamorada, Long Key, and from Old Seven Mile Bridge to Sombrero Beach.
The Gulf Coast offers some excellent paved cycleways, allowing keen cyclists to explore the delightful rural landscapes between Fort Myers and Tampa, and all the way up to the Goethe State Forest.
8. Legacy Trail and Venetian Waterways Park
Best for beginners and relaxed riders.
Florida’s Legacy Trail, which connects up to the Venetian Waterways Park Trail, offers a magnificently smooth ride through some gorgeous scenery for over 20 miles. Bridges keep you away from the highway traffic (and take you soaring above Dona and Roberts Bays), and the trail is consistently and comprehensively marked with signage, and some fascinating boards exploring local history.
Heading into the Venetian Waterways Park allows you to explore the sparkling waterways and off-road, sand trails of Oscar Scherer State Park, as well as the delightful beaches of Casperson, Brohard, and Venice itself.
9. Withlacoochee State Trail
Best for speed lovers and serious road cyclists.
For cyclists who like to ride hard, far, and fast, Withlacoochee State Trail might be the best bike trail in Florida. 46 miles of smooth, paved trail along the route of an old railway, the Withlacoochee trail runs from the small town of Trilby in the south all the way to Dunnellon in the north.
Almost entirely flat, with gentle curves, it offers great views and excellent opportunities to take in the scenery, and a significant portion of the trail runs alongside the Withlacoochee River, lined with beautiful live oaks.
10. Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail
Best for casual cyclists looking to get out of the city.
Great cycle paths amidst the urban sprawl of Tampa and St Petersburg are hard to find, but the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail serves up 34 miles of well signposted paved trail, with pretty views of suburban parks, charming downtowns, and some historic monuments.
The most attractive section of this trail is to the north, between Dunedin and Tarpon Springs, and there is also a delightful spur that heads off west out to Honeymoon Island State Park.
Central Florida is full of wetlands, pastures, prairies, and atmospheric forests of Cypress, Oak, Maple, and Pine. It also boasts some excellent cycling trails, taking you right across the state, from coast to coast.
11. Van Fleet State Trail
Best for adventurous riders.
Running along a former railroad through the Green Swamp west of Orlando, the Van Fleet State Trail is straight, flat, and empty. It is probably the most remote cycling trail in the state and is the perfect way to get away from the excitement, lights, and noise of Orlando and its theme parks.
The trail takes you through cattle ranches, under the shade of forests, and around wildflower meadows full of birds and butterflies. Right at the heart of the trail is the Green Swamp Conservation Area, which is a haven for wildlife lovers, and well worth taking a break to explore.
12. West Orange Trail
Best for casual weekend riders.
A wonderfully pretty trail shaded and paved for the entirety of its 22 miles, West Orange Trail meanders its way through Central Florida, west of Orlando. There are some lovely views over Lake Apopka, but the highlight is the section that crosses through Winter Garden, with its attractive historic downtown.
The trail offers several opportunities to stop, explore, and take in the scenery. One of the best is at the Oakland Nature Preserve, where well-marked trails and boardwalks take you through the forest and out onto beautiful Lake Apopka.
13. Coast to Coast Trail
Best for serious cycle trekkers and ambitious tourers.
The Florida Coast to Coast Trail connects up several existing bike paths, trails, and cycleways to create a wonderful route that takes you from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic, from St Petersburg to Titusville.
With over 250 miles of trails, the Coast to Coast Trail is an ambitious undertaking, but well worth the effort, showcasing the extraordinary variety that Florida has to offer and providing a satisfying challenge for serious cyclists.
14. East Central Regional Rail Trail
Best for adventurous, self-sufficient riders.
Tracing the route of a historic railway, the East Central Regional Rail Trail takes you through the wild, swampy landscapes of southern Volusia County. The trail runs through ghost towns like Maytown, and takes riders right out into the wilderness, with few amenities nearby, so it pays to be prepared!
Highlights of the trail include the beautiful Green Springs Park, one of the few green sulfur springs that remain in Florida, and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for animal lovers.
It is easy to see what attracts cyclists to Florida, and the wide variety of trails across the state provide something for every kind of rider. The list above will hopefully provide inspiration to dust off your bike and head out on the open road. Happy cycling!