Sarasota County Trails
THE BEAUTIFUL BIKE TRAILS OF SARASOTA COUNTY
With 35 miles of sunny beaches, an ideal, year-round climate, and more than 150 parks and nature preserves exceeding 4,000 acres, Sarasota is the ultimate destination for anyone who loves recreation in the great Florida outdoors. Throngs of bicyclists, for example, enjoy Sarasota County’s hundreds of miles of bike trails. Bicyclists can choose a leisurely nature-ride on the Legacy Trail, a beautiful, meandering path along the waterfront, or explore downtown Sarasota itself. Whatever you choose, you’re certain to take in some splendid local scenery. Sarasota is also the home of several bicycling clubs and dozens of retailers serving Sarasota’s substantial bicycling community.
Sarasota’s most well-known bike ride is the Legacy Trail, which links points in Sarasota County and extends into Charlotte County. The Legacy Trail is dotted with rest areas and opportunities to learn about Florida history or simply to delight in the trail’s primitive beauty. The Legacy Trail opened in 2008. It runs more than 12 miles, with 15 rest areas providing opportunities to learn Florida history or simply delight in the Trail’s primitive beauty. Access points with free parking are located in Sarasota, Osprey, Laurel, Nokomis, and Venice. The old railroad crossings have been retained, and riders will see pines, palmettos, gopher tortoises, scrub jays, other native species, and some genuinely awe-inspiring Florida scenery. The Legacy Trail is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
While the Legacy is Sarasota County’s best-known bike trail, Myakka River State Park is one of the state’s oldest and most diverse parks. Bicyclists will enjoy the seven-mile scenic paved drive. Bicycle rentals are available onsite. Enjoy wildlife viewing and a trail running through pinelands, wetlands, and hammocks. Campgrounds, cabin rentals, canoe and kayak rentals, picnic facilities, and a kiddies’ playground are provided. Shamrock Park features a 10-mile trail bike trail extending to downtown Venice and Caspersen Beach. Myakka State Forest is ideal for birders and wildlife watchers. Over 100 bird species of birds been sighted here. The multi-use trails are perfect for bicycling, and it’s allowed on all trails. Campsites, picnic facilities, and free parking are provided.
Oscar Scherer State Park features bicycle trails, a fishing pier, canoe and kayak rentals, camping, and more. It’s one of the best places to spot scrub jays, a threatened species found only in Florida. The 15 miles of trails are a splendid spot for bicycling and wildlife viewing. A half-mile ADA-compliant trail is one of several trails at Scherer Park. Another one-mile nature trail takes bicyclists through majestic pine flatwoods and oak hammocks. At Venetian Waterway Park, 8-foot-wide paved trails for bicycling and hiking provide unique views of gopher tortoises, scrub jays, and bald eagles. The park also features picnic shelters, grills, and dog clean-up stations. Venetian Waterway Park links Caspersen Beach to downtown Venice. Deer Prairie Creek Preserve features over 70 miles of unpaved hiking and biking trails, picnic shelters, and free parking.
Dozens of other bike-friendly parks and bike trails can be discovered in every part of Sarasota County. Bicyclists should also know that downtown Sarasota and Venice provide a number of designated bike lanes, and that Florida law requires bicyclists under age 16 to wear helmets. Sarasota County’s many beautiful bike trails enhance the area’s quality of life and are among the many reasons Sarasota is a top destination for vacationers and homebuyers.