The following are some of Southern Florida’s best trails for young bicyclists:
1. Riverbend Park in Jupiter
This park consists of 680 acres with many crisscrossing bicycle trails lined with densely packed crushed shells. Altogether, there are about 10 miles of trails, but the longest single stretch is only 1.5 miles, so families can easily find their way back to the car if someone gets tired. Virtually all the trails offer great vistas of ponds, rivers, and marshes, and the abundant wildlife makes the park especially exciting for younger children. During the weekends, many families come to the park, thereby making it a fun place to make new friends.
2. A1A in Boca Raton
The A1A, which follows the beach through Broward and Palm Beach, has several dedicated bike lanes. Because these lanes are often occupied by speedy cyclists in Lycra suits, families should stick to the five or six miles that follow the beach in Boca Raton, where an extra shoulder set far off the highway on each side of the road offers a safe space for slower bicyclists. Bicyclists here can enjoy lovely views of the ocean and beautiful flora. Along the way, families can stop at Red Reef Park in Boca or the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, which has a butterfly garden.
A very easy and flat path, this trail provides what many consider a quintessential Florida experience with the water on one side and many different shops and cafes along the other. The entire path lasts only about 2.5 miles, but many families choose to make an afternoon of it and enjoy the other Hollywood Beach attractions, such as Charnow Park. Families who want a longer ride can always keep going north along North Beach Park and then onto Surf Road. Typically, the only obstacle that parents need to keep an eye out for is the occasional unaware pedestrian.
4. The Rickenbacker Trail in Miami Dade County
This trail is ideal for families who love a breathtaking view, although smaller children may not be able to complete the whole path. A popular weekend outing, the Rickenbacker trail crosses the entirety of Key Biscayne and passes through some of the most iconic Miami destinations, including the Seaquarium, Crandon Park, Virginia Key Beach, and Bill Baggs State Park, which is home to the famous lighthouse. Families should leave plenty of time to enjoy all of the sites along the path so that the trip does not feel rushed. Luckily, even in the hot summer months, a sea breeze ensures a cool, enjoyable day.
5. Oleta River State Park in Miami Dade County
Within the 14 miles of trails in Oleta park is one four-mile stretch dedicated exclusively to beginner riders. This part of the trail attracts many families, especially those with very young children who are still getting the hang of riding. For more experienced riders, the rest of the trails can prove rather challenging due to some steep terrain. The park even has a helmet loan facility in case anyone in the family forgets their head protection.
6. Quiet Waters Trail in Broward County
Quiet Waters Park has earned recognition as one of the most beautiful spots in Florida. Here, families can explore along a seven-mile trail that is ideal for riders of all skill levels. The International Mountain Biking Association actually supervised the development of the trails to ensure that they provide a wonderful experience regardless of skill level. This location can be a great place to introduce younger children to the fun of mountain biking. If anyone in the family does not have a mountain bike, the park rents a variety of equipment, including dual-suspension and hard-trail bikes.
7. The Lake Trail in Palm Beach County
The smooth and level Lake Trail stretches for five miles along the island of Palm Beach and provides excellent views of the pristine water. While the trail does wind across several roads, parents can rest easy because designers took care to minimize any danger from traffic. Bicyclists on this path ride by some of the island’s most impressive mansions and magnificent yachts while getting postcard-worthy glimpses of the beach. Add in a stop at the Flagler Museum and some lunch downtown and your family bike trip will be complete.