Biking in Ponte Vedra: Our Top 5 Suggestions
When biking in Ponte Vedra, you’ll find shady trails that meander through coastal forests in a natural estuarine reserve and paths that lead you over the dunes, making for a very pleasant beach ride. Here are our five top suggestions for biking in Ponte Vedra.
Ponte Vedra Biking: Our Top 5 Recommendations
Savor the coastal breeze as you bike through the Ponte Vedra area. Below, we share our top 5 recommendations, from biking through the GTM Reserve’s natural areas to riding along the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway, recently designated as one of two All-American Roads in Florida.
Feeling hungry or thirsty after your bike ride? Check out our post on outdoor dining options in Ponte Vedra to find the perfect patio for chilling with a cold brew after your adventure.
Biking the Beach
What better way to see long expanses of the Atlantic Ocean than to bike the beach? Riding at low tide offers beach bikers a nice firm sand base. Stop along the way to hunt for sharks’ teeth!
Experience the Beach on a Bike
Biking on soft sand can present a challenge, but if you plan for low tide, you’ll have a firm base for your bike ride. Be sure to check the online…
Ponte Vedra Beach offers several locations to begin your beach biking adventure! The GTM Research Reserve provides cyclists with four easily accessible parking areas along the west side of Highway A1A. Free parking is available in the unpaved lot located at the Exxon Gas Station. From there, a crosswalk leads you to a boardwalk down to the beach. Other access points are north and referred to as the South, Middle and North beach access areas. Parking in these locations is $3 (day use fee, cash only) and each have crosswalks that lead you across A1A to a boardwalk and access to the beach.
North of the GTM Research Reserve, about 5.5 miles is Mickler’s Landing. Mickler’s (pronounced Mike-luhr) Landing provides plenty of parking, restrooms, showers and handicapped accessible dune walkovers as well as a pavilion with picnic tables and grills.
A little over two-miles south of the GTM Research Reserve is the South Ponte Vedra Beach Recreation Area. This park offers limited parking, picnic tables, port-a-lets, and stairs to the beach.
Further south, approximately 12 miles is St. Augustine. This area offers exceptional dining opportunities as well as many historic sites and attractions. Bike racks are scattered throughout the downtown historic area so remember to bring a bike lock if you plan to explore on foot.
Where to Park?
|South Ponte Vedra Beach Recreation Area||2993 S. Ponte Vedra Blvd.|
|Exxon Station Unpaved Lot||2700 S. Ponte Vedra Blvd.|
|GTM South Beach Lot||2200 S. Ponte Vedra Blvd.|
|GTM Middle Beach Lot||2000 S. Ponte Vedra Blvd.|
|GTM North Beach Lot||1600 S. Ponte Vedra Blvd.|
|Mickler's Landing Beachfront Park||1109 Ponte Vedra Blvd.|
Don't have a bike? Choose from one of these nearby outfitters...
Road Bike A1A from Ponte Vedra to St. Augustine
If road biking is your thing, then riding from Ponte Vedra Beach to St. Augustine along historic A1A is an experience you won’t want to miss!
Experience Road Biking Highway A1A
Limit your impact by being a “Sustainable PVB Guest” by keeping these recommendations in mind.
It’s a straight shot from Ponte Vedra Beach to St. Augustine along the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Highway – recently designated as one of two All-American Roads in Florida. This ride offers salt air and scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Parking and facilities for this adventure can be found at Mickler’s Landing Beachfront Park or the GTM’s North Parking Lot ($3 day use fee). From there, heading south you'll enjoy ocean vistas mixed in with small residential areas along A1A. Highway A1A does offer sharrows for safe cycling; however, you'll want to wear bright colors, ride during daylight hours and obey the rules of the road.
If you are looking for a cycling buddy, be sure to check out the North Florida Bicycle Club’s (NFBC) website. NFBC offers both off and on road rides daily covering varying distances.
Biking the Guana Trails
Circling a peninsula of land between the Guana and the Tolomato Rivers, the trail system at GTM Reserve is one of North Florida’s most beautiful places to explore.
Bike the Guana Peninsula
The GTM Research Reserve offers cyclists an extensive trail system with five different trails to choose from
Brimming with wildlife and vegetation, the GTM Research Reserve is a great option for hikers and cyclists offering an extensive trail system with five different trails to choose from – Yellow (2.2 miles), Orange (2 miles), Blue (2.1 miles), Purple (3.3 miles) and Red (5.8 miles).
As you explore, be mindful that you’ll be sharing the trail with other cyclists, hikers, dog walkers – maybe even riders on horseback. Opportunities to view wildlife may be plentiful. Keep your eyes open for deer, owls, gopher tortoise as well as some avian species including snowy egrets, wood storks, roseate spoonbills, pelicans and more.
You can easily experience much of the Guana Trails by bike. Parking is available on the Dam or at the Trailhead Pavilion for $3 a day, cash only. After you pay your fee, you’ll cross the Guana Dam (an excellent fishing spot!) to an unpaved road and the Trailhead Pavilion where you'll find a map of the trails.
Your adventure begins on the Yellow Trail and traverses a variety of habitats including freshwater savannas, scrub, live oak hammocks, and salt marshes. There are a series of benches along the way for resting and taking in the scenery of this unique environment.
At a Glance Information for the GTM Reserve
- Type of Trail: Loop, choose from five options!
- Fees/Permits: $3 day use fee, cash only
- Difficulty: Easy to moderate
- Bug Factor: Moderate, bring bug spray.
- Restrooms: at Guana Dam, Trailhead and Environmental Education Center
- Open: Daily from 8 AM to sunset
Take an Organized Ride
Participating in an organized bike ride is the easiest way to take in the ocean vistas while enjoying the sport!
Experience an Organized Ride
Connect with other biking enthusiasts by joining an organized ride while visiting Ponte Vedra. Explore the area, get a great workout and meet new friends!
If you’re looking for a great biking experience with knowledgeable riders, why not check out an organized ride? These rides often take place after work in the cooler evening hours, or on Saturday or Sunday mornings.
North Florida Bicycle Club (NFBC) hosts many opportunities for both on and off-road cycling. NFBC organizes approximately 20 rides weekly with a variety of distances and paces. Typically, rides are for NFBC members; however, non-members may join organized rides up to three times.
Ride organizers often provide the location for starting point, maps that show varying lengths and durations with information on riding surfaces so you can be prepared and make the most of your experience. These organized rides do require you to wear your helmet and often start with a 10-minute safety briefing. For information on organized rides, check out their calendar of events.
In addition to daily organized rides, NFBC also offers two annual signature rides, Tour de Forts Classic and the Endless Summer Watermelon Ride.
Tour de Forts Classic, typically held in May offers riders five distances to choose from: 26, 40, 55, 70 and 100 miles. The shorter rides offer routes through farmlands, to the historic area of St. Augustine while the longer route includes the Palatka-to-St. Augustine State Trail and along the St. Johns River.
The Endless Summer Watermelon ride typically takes place in September just north of Ponte Vedra Beach in Fernandina Beach. For information on this event, please visit the NFBC’s website.
Additional Cycling Events on Florida's Historic Coast:
- Spoonbills & Sprockets Cycling Tour - Experience the beautiful A1A Scenic Byway by bike. The tour starts in Marineland and consists of cycling routes that pass through historic St. Augustine, the Hammock, and Flagler Beach. The race has 36, 72, or 100-mile routes.
- Rails to Trails Festival - Enjoy this festival at Armstrong Park that celebrates the Gullah Geechee heritage with cultural arts and crafts, food vendors, historical films, heritage corridor discussions, live music and a bike ride.
- Bike MS: PGA TOUR Cycle to the Shore - This two-day event takes cyclists from historic St. Augustine to Daytona Beach. Riders dedicated to changing the world for people with MS one pedal stroke at a time may choose from one- or two—day routes ranging from 36-100 miles.
Biking the Nocatee Preserve
Nocatee Preserve in Ponte Vedra offers cyclists a wildly beautiful ride through forestland that fronts a 3.5 mile stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway known as the Tolomato River.
Experience Nocatee Preserve
The Nocatee community encompasses 2,400-acres of conservation land and a 3.5 mile "out-and-back" trail for hiking, cycling and horseback riding.
Nocatee Preserve’s 3.5 mile “out and back” trail is not one to miss. With multiple wooden features including a whale tail and skinny and fat wooden bridges, this trail is an easy to moderate ride.
The Preserve is situated on a natural estuary, the GTM Reserve, and boasts a variety of wildlife. Visitors may see wild boar, deer, turkey, snakes, and many birds. It can also be home to lots of insects, particularly in the warmer months. Carry insect repellent to help keep them away.
The trailhead, located near Ponte Vedra High School and Davis Park, provides easy parking and restrooms. Be aware that although the trail starts out under a tree canopy, it opens and you’ll want to make sure to wear sun protection and a hat.
At a Glance Information for the Nocatee Preserve
- Type of Trail: Out-and-back, 3.5 miles one-way
- Fees/Permits: Free
- Difficulty: Easy to intermediate
- Bug Factor: Moderate, bring bug spray.
- Restrooms: at the Trailhead
- Open: Daily from sunrise to sunset
The Greenways Trail
Consisting of more than 5,000-acres, the Nocatee Greenway connects parks, protected wildlife corridors and wetland preserve with the Nocatee Community. Marked overlooks provide resting spots with a view as the trails travel through a scenic natural paradise.
The Nocatee Fitness Trails and Greenways are open to visitors from sunrise to sunset and offer more than 20 miles of pathways that wander throughout these preserved lands.
Tips on How to be a Sustainable Ponte Vedra Guest
- Stay safe. Wear your helmet and take plenty of water with you.
- Stay on track. Staying on designated paths as you access the beach help prevent biking on sensitive plants and animals.
- Keep it natural. By packing out what you bring in you’ll help keep the “natural” in our “natural areas.”
- Share the beach. While biking on our pristine beaches, watch out for sea turtles! Sea turtle nesting season is May 1 through October 31. Visitors are encouraged leave nests undisturbed and should never approach sea turtles emerging from or returning to the sea.
- Share the road. Keep your eyes and ears open as you’re sharing the road with other vehicles.
- Share the trail. Keep your eyes open for other cyclists, hikers, dog walkers and horseback riders.
- Carry a water bottle. Use the water stations at Mickler’s Beach Landing and the GTM Research Reserve for refills along the way.
- Stay chemical free. Stick to sunscreens that are free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, two of the most common ingredients found in chemical formulas.
- Education is key. Stop by the GTM Environmental Education Center to better understand these unique ecosystems.
- Donate. Become a member of the GTM Research Reserve. Funds go directly to protecting, researching and teaching others about the Reserve.
Nearby Things to Do
Eight miles down the road from Ponte Vedra Beach is the beachside town of Vilano Beach. This vibrant emerging community offers plenty to do. Here are some favorites:
- Watch live music during Evenings on Airstream Row held the 2nd Friday of the month.
- Set Sail on the High Seas on a luxury yacht with St. Augustine Sailing.
- Explore the area via kayak. Florida Water Tours offers rentals as well as sunset boat cruises aboard the Osprey.
- Pedal it out with Old Town Cycle Cruise. This 35-ft party pontoon offers BYOB cruises with 12 cycle stations and a lounge area.
- Recent recipient of the USA Today, Reader’s Choice 10Best award for “Best Boat Tour," Red Boat Tours offers sightseeing tours and sunset cruises.
- Enjoy a guided tour with Cruisin' Tikis St. Augustine. This floating oasis offers daily 90-minute and 180-minute excursions.
- Break for lunch just across the Vilano Bridge at Kingfish Grill on the Water.
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