If life is better on two wheels, then it’s simply spectacular when you break out the bicycle on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Pine Island and Matlacha are particularly kind to cyclists, thanks to sparse traffic and a smoothly paved bike path spanning the length of the island.
Enjoy an easygoing ride with beautiful views along the Pine Island Bike Trail on Pine Island. With hardly an incline, it’s about 28 miles roundtrip – straight up and down the length of Florida’s largest island – it’s perfect for casual cruisers and families with kids.
Begin your Pine Island trek at Phillips Community Park, just west of the fire station, and head south to St. James City before turning north toward the village of Bokeelia. Try counting all the different kinds of farms and orchards along the way. Be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen, as the path is not shaded. Also, pack water and snacks to keep you going.
You might also want to pack your hiking shoes. The Pine Island Trail passes by the island’s Flatwoods Preserve, featuring trails through marshes, forests and tidal swamplands, perfect for exploring on a side trip.
After biking the length of Pine Island, point your handlebars in the direction of the area’s artistic nerve center of Matlacha. Bike east along the shoulder of Pine Island Road until you see The Leoma LovegroveGallery and Gardens, which are bursting with fun patterns and colors on every available surface (they are hard to miss).
While there isn’t an official Matlacha bike trail, the short streets are bikefriendly. Take the time to galleryhop among the tiny island’s many artist-owned galleries and shops, and enjoy fish sandwiches and fresh shrimp caught right from the Gulf at the Blue Dog Bar and Grill or Olde Fish House Marina – Matlacha mainstays – before heading back to Pine Island.
There’s much to discover when you’re pedaling along The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, and Pine Island and Matlacha are just the beginning. Start planning your cycling adventure in Southwest Florida today, and discover hundreds of miles of interconnected trails, bike-friendly cities and more.
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