Some say to experience Longboat Key at its fullest; you must do so from outside of a car. Longboat Key is beautiful by anyone’s standards but its true beauty lies within its mangroves, hiking trails, and other little nooks and crannies that you generally couldn’t find from inside the driver’s seat of your vehicle. Since there is no shortage of beautiful scenery in this area, a bike ride might be your best choice for finding the sights that make even the best photographer envious. On a bike, you can coast from the south end of the island to the north, taking in everything along the way and experiencing the open air and pristine weather. Where else can you combine exercise and sightseeing all in one?
Longboat Key is our top choice for biking trails because of the beautiful Gulf views. This trail is 9.47 miles and runs throughout Longboat Key. A 10mph speed limit is enforced, and you must have a ding bell to warm pedestrians. Also, it is important to be aware of cars coming out of driveways and side roads. Your ride doesn’t have to stop here, though. You can continue over the bridge onto Anna Maria Island and get your fill of Cortez and Coquina beaches. You might catch a glimpse of a manatee or a dolphin so be on the lookout. Another good place to start out at is South Lido Park in Sarasota.
Lying at the southern tip of Lido there’s a 100-acre South Lido Park with four bodies of water; the Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay and Brushy Bayou encompassing it. It doesn’t get much better than being surrounded by such breathtaking views. The Legacy Trail in Sarasota is also a good place to start in the morning, running between Sarasota and Venice, covering over 12 miles of the coast.
If you decided to go with the Legacy Trail, you can always continue into Venice and experience the Venetian Waterway, which follows along both sides of the Intercostal waterways. This trail is flat, winding through a mix of open space and urban areas. Along the way, you will see gorgeous murals and picnic areas if you need to rest. Venetian Waterway Park connects downtown Venice to Caspersen Beach Park. Most of this side of the trail is looking at the glittering water of the bay.
If you want to explore other areas, Bradenton has a ton of gorgeous parks that offer great biking trails as well. Robinson Preserve is a place that allows you to bike, hike, skate, and job. The most notable feature about it is the 5-story observation tower. It’s worth the climb to the top to see breathtaking views of Tampa Bar, St. Petersburg, Fort Desoto, the Sunshine Skyway bridge, and Egmont Key. It’s a sight you won’t soon forget!