Cycling The Gulf Coast

The stunning landscapes along the Gulf Coast make it a shame to spend time indoors - even inside of a car. If you really want to experience all of the warmth and salt spray we can offer, you’ve got to do it on 2 wheels. Sandy beaches, stunning nature preserves, and convenient attractions make the area between Perdido Key and Gulf Shores the perfect place to bike. Most of the major highways offer bike paths, making it easy to ride next to the beach and stop in at a variety of restaurants and shopping centers along the way. There are also many parks in the area that provide world-class biking trails for your enjoyment. Whether you’re looking for a quick workout or a long, scenic ride, you’ll find plenty of opportunities nearby!

So grab your helmet and start stretching, because we’re about to give you the top 6 places to bike when you visit the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast!

Johnson Beach Road

Johnson Beach, Perdido Key’s section of the Gulf Island National Seashore, is the favorite biking spot in the city. From the entrance station and back is approximately 5 miles, and at the start there’s a parking lot, restroom facilities, and plenty of public beach access to start your adventure off on the right foot.

Along the road is an easy 4-mile loop that’s perfect for families and takes you through the dunes with water on both sides. You’ll pass by numerous boardwalks where you can peel off and take a refreshing dip! You can also stop at the Discovery Nature Trail, a popular boardwalk trail for bird enthusiasts (it also has some beautiful marsh and wetland scenery). 

If you’re in for a long ride, exit the beach and follow Perdido Key Drive all the way to the Flora-Bama (it’s about 10 miles). You’ll be treated to beachfront views the entire way and run right into the famous watering hole, where you can sip a drink and rest your legs in the sand before your journey back.

Big Lagoon State Park

This 704-acre State Park offers miles of paved pathways perfect for biking that wind through an oasis of Gulf Coast nature. You’ll travel through saltwater marshes, pinewood flatlands, and sandy beaches. You’ll cross paths with a variety of wildlife and the park is home to 23 species of birds, so be sure to bring a good pair of binoculars! There’s also plenty of opportunities for fishing, kayaking, swimming, boating, and more.

Beach Boulevard

Highway 182, which runs parallel to the beach between Gulf Shores and Perdido Key (and beyond), is almost all bike-accessible and offers stunning beachfront views amidst restaurants, shopping centers, state parks, and more. Located right on the route are such treasures as the Gulf State Pier (perfect for some ocean fishing), The Gulf restaurant (sink your toes into the sand while you sip on a beach cocktail), and Perdido Key State Park. If you want to experience it all, try riding the Orange Beach Road Ride course! It’s a 24-mile course along Highway 182 that begins at Infinity Bicycle in Orange Beach and loops around Perdido Key before returning. You’ll get to see the best of both towns, plus a lot of beautiful beaches in-between!

Beachfront condos offer perfect access along the route, though you can also park in multiple shopping centers if you’re staying farther out. The highway does become congested, so be sure to mind traffic and follow the rules of the road. 

Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail

Orange Beach, AL

Easily the most beautiful biking space in the area, this Gulf State Park attraction is made of seven trails spanning 15-miles through 6 distinct ecosystems. Each trail offers its own unique charm, and if you have time you should try them all. You’ll cruise along coastal dunes, freshwater marshes, live oak forests, and more. Keep your eyes out for unique wildlife; you may have to stop for a crossing gator or at the howl of a nearby coyote. The park also has fun amenities such as a butterfly garden, a wildlife pavilion, a kid’s play area, and campgrounds. It’s a great experience for families and biking enthusiasts alike.

The Fort Morgan Ride

Hwy 180 - also known as Fort Morgan Road - has 40+ miles out-and-back of pristine biking space. Beginning at the Rouse’s shopping center at the corner of Hwy 59 - which has plenty of parking space and spots to grab a snack - take a left onto Hwy 180 and prepare to wind your way along beaches, lakes, forests, and more. Along the way, you’ll pass Bon Secure National Wildlife Refuge, which has a small visitor’s center, hiking trails, and paths to sandy beaches where you can view the protected sea turtles. You’ll also get the chance to stop in at several convenience stores and gift shops for rest and refreshments.

On the west end of the ride, you’ll get the chance to tour Forts Morgan and Gaines, both historic war forts with a rich military past (there is a price for admission). Or take the ferry over to Dauphin Island to visit the estuarium and Audubon Bird Sanctuary, enjoy uncrowded beaches, or dine on delicious local seafood. The route is long, but it’s so jam-packed with fun activities and scenic views that you’ll hate when it’s over.

Once you’ve cruised the coast on 2 wheels you’ll want to do it again and again. We can help! Let us find you the perfect Gulf Coast real estate so you can bike the area as often as you like. Contact us today!

Posted by Kathy Justice on
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