People On Bikes

The St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop: The Perfect Weekend Trip for Central Florida Cyclists

A family rides along the St. John River-to-Sea Loop. Photo courtesy St. John River-to-Sea Loop Alliance

If you’re looking for a fun day-trip where you can ride your bicycle through some great scenery, all the way to the ocean, we have the perfect trail! The St Johns River-to-Sea Loop is paved 260-mile trail that extends from St. Augustine down to Titusville.

The St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop was knit together from several smaller trails. After the state had purchased a 51-mile rail bed extending from Brevard to Volusia counties and an 18-mile rail bed in St. Johns and Putnam counties, bicycle activists advocated turning them into trails. Other local leaders had also been working to build more trails and bike lanes from DeLand to Palatka and into St. Augustine. Over several years, these pieces were connected to form the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop.

Google Map image of the River-to-Sea Loop

The first official tour of the loop took place in 2008, and cyclists have been enjoying this massive trail ever since. Now the St. John River-to-Sea Loop Alliance works to help cyclists plan their trips, find maps of the trail, and learn how they can help enhance and protect the Loop.

“The distinctive character of the Loop varies from resort towns to rural hamlets, from coastal dunes to springs. It includes a national seashore, several Florida State Parks, national monuments and national wildlife refuges, Daytona Speedway, the houseboating capital of Florida, flowing springs, and acclaimed museums of photography and minerals. The Loop traces Florida in tenuous balance between fast growth and conservation. It connects the medieval city of St. Augustine to the cusp of the Kennedy Space Center, the college town of DeLand, the old steamboating capital of Enterprise, Spiritualist Cassadaga, and the art centers of New Smyrna Beach,” according to the St. John River to Sea Loop Alliance’s website.

The trail is close to being complete.

In 2016, the River to Sea Loop was designated a Priority Trail; it’s all part of the Coast to Coast Connector. When the gaps are closed, ambitious cyclists will be able to ride from St. Augustine to St. Petersburg.

Bike/Walk Central Florida is excited to support our partners at the Alliance in their work promoting cycling, hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. Getting people out on their bikes for recreation, as well as transportation is an important part of the mission. And what better time than during #FloridaBikeMonth?

Today, opportunities abound for cyclists to take advantage of this local treasure. Those looking to venture out to the Loop without a car, can take SunRail or bike along the Seminole Wekiva Trail to Debary. There you can jump on the R2S trail.

Cyclists looking for an overnight trip can even pack their camping gear and plan for an overnight stay at one of the many state parks or springs along the way. Blue Spring, Gemini Springs, Lake Monroe, and several other camp grounds along the Loop provide the perfect opportunity for those looking to spend the night under the stars.

So, are you making plans to visit the St. Johns River-to-Sea Loop yet? We thought so!

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