The Bay Sarasota
Myakka State Park

Nine Great Day Hikes to Get Your Walk On

Get your daily steps in—starting at these scenic trailheads around Sarasota County!

Lace up your sneaks and fill up your water bottle for some fresh air and cardio with these nine great day hikes. Each park or preserve showcases the bounty of Florida flora and fauna Sarasota County has to offer all year round. Between the lush, green vegetation, exciting wildlife, blue skies and endless sunshine, you'll forget you're actually "working out." 

So strap on your FitBit or Whoop band and see how many steps you can get in on these super scenic and undisturbed nature hikes – all less than 5 miles long in length! 

Celery Fields

East Sarasota

This 400+ acre site is owned by Sarasota County, and mainly consists of open marshlands, deep ponds, shallow pools, and canals. The Celery Fields are edged by oaks, willows and pines, making it a beautiful and rugged spot to stroll. In addition to the walking trails up, down and around the main hill (a great spot to catch the sunset from a high vantage point), there are also two boardwalks: one on Palmer Blvd and the other on Raymond Rd. Both boardwalks provide excellent opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife watching.

Also, if you happen to be strolling around "dinner time," you may hear the roars of the neighboring Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary as the lions and tigers get fed. 

Myakka River State Park

East Sarasota

With 37,000 acres spanning raw, rugged nature, Myakka River State Park remains one of the state's largest parks. There are over 39 miles of beautiful hiking and biking trails to explore, as well as a spectacular Canopy Walkway, which will lead you to a 360° bird's-eye-view of the vast treetops and undisturbed land. Backwoods backpackers love to wander the lush landscape with the possibility of running into some exciting wildlife, such as alligators, exotic birds, lizards and furry creatures.

Myakka is one of those places where you can easily "get lost" in, in the best way possible. But if you do actually get lost, don't fret – there are plenty of trailhead markers, signage, state park rangers and reference maps to find your way back. 

Legacy Trail

Sarasota, Osprey, Venice

The newly-finished 12-mile bicycle trail from Venice to Sarasota used to be an old railway system but now a great place to walk, bike, connect with nature, get exercise and enjoy some peace and quiet. One of the many great things about the Legacy Trail is that you can jump on and start at any point – simply park your car and head north or south for a distance, or get the full experience by traveling round trip, just over 20 miles.

You’ll see mile markers along the way that corresponds with the old railroad’s original mile numbering system, which makes you feel the history as you go along. There are also Trailheads, many offering amenities like parking, benches to sit and take a rest/break, picnic tables, shelter from the sun, water fountains and bathroom facilities. 

Oscar Scherer State Park


The Legacy Trail also goes right through Oscar Scherer State Park at one point. Here, you can of course enjoy the paved rail trail part, or you can go off and explore the more unpaved parts of this beautiful state park. This park’s large acreage of scrubby flatwoods makes it one of the best places in southwest Florida to view Florida scrub-jays. With over fifteen miles of hiking trails of solitude, tropical flora and fauna, and a little cardio challenge, this is a perfect place for a footed expedition.

Deer Creek Prairie Preserve


Further south, experience another spot of native, natural habitats—including pine flatwoods, prairie hammock and seasonal wetlands. At Deer Creek Prairie Preserve, portions of the trails provide scenic overlooks along the banks of the Myakka River and Deer Prairie Creek. The preserve has more than 70 miles of hiking trails, which are unpaved but accessible for most visitors.

All trail intersections are marked with numbered trail markers and certain trails may be shared by hikers, bicyclists and equestrian users. The trails are primitive and rated easy to moderately difficult, giving you options for a short, quick stroll or a longer, day's-worth of roaming!

Lemon Bay Park & Preserve


This 210-acre nature-based park in Englewood has 1.7 miles of shoreline located on the beautiful Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve. Enjoy a part of natural Florida walking along black mangrove forest fringe, and pine and scrubby flatwoods. Within the park are nature trails with interpretive signage, a butterfly garden and a canoe/kayak launch.

Enjoy the serenity of strolling Lemon Bay – whether it is in the morning to enjoy the sweet songs of the early birds, or late evening to observe the glorious sunsets over Manasota Key.

The Bay Park
Mangrove Walkway at The Bay Park


Recently transformed into a gorgeous landscaped park and recreation center for the public, The Bay Park is one of the easiest places to go for a morning walk or sunset stroll from downtown. The 53 acres of freshly-paved trails hug the Sarasota bayfront just about the entire way – providing pedestrians with unobstructed water views while meandering alongside healthy, green plant life.

While this may not be you're typical or strenuous "hike," being a more polished, community-centric park, it's a perfect low-key, easy option with great accessibility and non-demanding terrain.  

Sleeping Turtles Preserve North


Back down in the Venice area, stumble on a truly undisturbed piece of Old Florida ecosystem. Sleep Turtles Preserve North is a 174-acre preserve consisting of four parcels of land, split by Border Road with a parking area. Leashed pet access is located only on the north side of the road. Just know for hiking purposes, if you're bringing your four-legged companion, that dogs are not allowed at the portion south of Border Road.

The preserve has more than five miles of unpaved hiking trails, which is a great 10-mile roundtrip adventure for the day – including a scenic river trail offering open viewing of the Wild and Scenic Myakka River. Sleeping Turtles is considered an intermediate hike, with all trail intersections marked with numbered trail markers.

Orange Hammock Wildlife Management Area

North Port

Furthest south in North Port, feel "totally lost" in the wild wetlands and Old Florida conservation corridor that is Orange Hammock Wildlife Management Area. The protected land and habitat offers visitors a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities – including hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. The more than 5,000-acre area has approximately nine miles of trails to explore, including the seven-mile Tarflower Trail and the two-mile Slough Point Trail.