While Central Florida is known for its theme park thrills, it’s also home to lush forests, sparkling springs, and lots of wildlife. There’s no better way to get out and explore the area than on two wheels. From leisurely boardwalk trails and paved greenways to rocky lake loops and hilly mountain bike trails, Central Florida is a cyclist’s paradise.

Ready to soak up some sunshine, breathe in some fresh air, and peddle through some amazing scenery? We’ve put together a list of some of the best bike trails (some also double as hiking trails!) in Central Florida — all located just a short distance from the best vacation home rentals in the area! And if you’re looking to explore beyond Orlando, check out our guide to day trips from Orlando for even more adventure trips.

West Orange Trail

  • Distance: 22 Miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Surfaces: Paved/Dirt/Woodchips

Stretching from Killarney Station in Oakland to Apopka Station in Apopka, the West Orange Trail follows a 22-mile path once the site of the Orange Belt Railway. This scenic trail system connects several small towns and passes through Oakland, Winter Garden, and Apopka. There are multiple trailheads to begin or end at, with plenty of parking, restrooms, and water stations.

Riders can enjoy biking through a variety of landscapes, including bustling city centers, serene woodlands, and scenic viewpoints like the old covered railroad bridge near Killarney Station. In Winter Garden, bikers can enjoy stopping for lunch in one of the many outdoor cafes on Plant Street, where you’ll be sure to meet other cyclists doing the same.

Lake Apopka Loop Trail

Photo Credit: Andrew Shue

  • Distance: 14.6 Miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Surfaces: Gravel

With stunning lakeside views and nearly endless opportunities to spot wildlife, this 14.6-mile loop trail around Lake Apopka just outside of Orlando is perfect for leisurely cyclists and nature lovers. The trail is mostly gravel and can be rocky enough to present a fun challenge but is easy enough for beginners. Along the way, you’ll likely spot a wide variety of wading birds, turtles, and the highlight of the trail — lots of alligators!

There are a few trailheads with parking, but the only one with amenities is the Magnolia Park Trailhead, so cyclists should plan ahead for water and restroom breaks. There is also virtually no shade on the trail, so sunscreen and/or protective clothing are a must!

Shingle Creek Trail

  • Distance: 2 Miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Surfaces: Paved/Boardwalk

A quiet oasis near downtown Orlando, the Shingle Creek Trail offers a leisurely bike ride over smooth pavement with boardwalk stops overlooking the water. This easy, two-mile trail follows a loop around Lake Fran, offering great water and wildlife views. Cyclists are likely to spot many birds, turtles, and the occasional alligator.

The Shingle Creek Regional Trail is a multi-use trail, so bikers will be sharing the path with walkers and runners. There is little shade so a hat and sunscreen will come in handy on most days. The trailhead has plenty of parking, restrooms, and water stations.

Spring To Spring Trail

Photo Credit: Joni Hanebutt

  • Distance: 26 Miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Surfaces: Paved

As the name implies, the Spring-to-Spring Trail stretches between two beautiful Central Florida Springs Gemini Springs and DeLeon Springs, just outside of Orlando. In addition to the springs, the trail winds through several natural areas, including forests and wetlands, where an array of wildlife can be seen, like birds, deer, and alligators.

There are five trailheads throughout the Spring-to-Spring Trail, with plenty of parking, restrooms, and water stations. The trail has a nice mix of shaded canopies and open-air roads. Cyclists riding the Spring-to-Spring Trail from November through March may get to witness the manatee migration.

There are several manatee-viewing areas along the trail, including the famous observation platform at Blue Springs State Park, where hundreds of manatees congregate during the winter.

The Santos Trails

Photo Credit: Stillgravity

  • Distance: 80+ Miles of Trails
  • Difficulty: Varying Levels from Beginner to Expert
  • Trail Surfaces: Mountain/Limestone/Track

Just an hour outside of Orlando in Ocala, The Santos Trails are well worth the trip for off-road riders. With over 80 miles of technical/mountain biking trails in all skill levels, there’s a trail for every rider. Beginner trails feature more semi-flat trails and mild turns, while the more advanced trails have lots of twists and turns through rocky natural features and wooden ramps. The main trailhead has large parking lots, restrooms, water stations, and other amenities for mountain bikers.

Known as a “Mecca for Mountain Biking,” The Santos Trails are one of the most popular mountain biking spots in Florida, even drawing international visitors with many festivals and competitions.

Orlando Urban Trail

  • Distance: 3 Miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trail Surfaces: Paved

Located right in the heart of Downtown Orlando, the Orlando Urban Trail offers a fun way to get some outdoor exercise and explore the city. This 3-mile, paved trail connects two parks and takes bikers through scenic roads, lakes, and bridges. You can spot murals painted by local artists along the way or grab a bite from a local food truck or coffee stand.

Parking, restrooms, and water stations can be found at either Loch Haven Park or Gaston Edwards Park. Want to extend the ride? The trail also connects to the Cady Way Trail (6.5 miles) and the Downtown Orlando Loop Trail (8 miles) — two other popular urban biking trails in the Downtown Orlando area.

General James A. Van Fleet State Trail

  • Distance:  29.2 Miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail Surfaces: Paved/Boardwalk

Just west of Orlando in the Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve area, the General James A. Van Fleet State Trail is one of the most scenic bike trails in Central Florida. For almost 30 miles, the trail winds through vast swamps, rivers, pinelands, tropical hardwood hammocks, and old orange groves.

The bike path is brimming with wildlife at nearly every turn. While cycling through the wetlands, you’ll likely spot alligators, birds, and turtles. On the forest roads, you may find deer, armadillos, hogs, and tortoises.

General James A. Van Fleet State Trail stretches through a variety of environments, including areas that are shaded, open, and some that can be quite “buggy.” Cyclists should be prepared with sunscreen, protective clothing, and insect repellent. The trail also has four trailheads with plenty of parking, restrooms, water stations, and shaded pavilions for breaks.

Peddle The Day Away in Central Florida

We’ve barely scratched the surface on the bike trails in Central Florida, if you’re an avid cyclist, there’s no better place to pedal the day away! Florida’s mild climate makes it a great cycling destination year-round.

Looking for a place to park your bike and the whole family? Element Vacation Homes has everything you need for a perfect stay. After a day of cycling, soak away sore muscles in your private hot tub or unwind by watching a movie in your very own home theater. And of course — you’ll be close to all the best bike trails plus theme parks, shopping, dining, wineriesgolf courses, and more!