Pedal to the Venetian Metal

Venice, Florida, abounds with biking opportunities from the novice to the pro, training wheels to speed bikes, and everything in between

Biking through Venice opens up a world of opportunities. Gliding by, riders get the opportunity to see wildlife that may scurry from cars or chit chatters. Birds, lizards, snakes, even larger creatures like panthers may linger. Venice, rated a Silver-rate Bicycles Friendly Community by, abounds with urban and natural routes that venture through State Parks, around lakes, amongst historic shops, and beneath canopies. Paved and predetermined, the routes give the riders the opportunity to venture undistracted and appreciate the world around them, free of distraction but full of the treasures Venice has to offer.

Legacy Trail (see also: traillink map)

Sarasota Bike Tours on the Legacy Trail
Sarasota Bike Tours on the Legacy Trail

Undoubtedly the most popular route in Venice, Legacy Trail follows 10.7 miles of paved trail from Venice to Sarasota, cutting through Oscar Scherer State Park. The path previously served as the railroad tracks used by Ringling Brothers and others creating a perfect merge of history and athletics. For the course of the trail, bikers (as well as walkers, runners, skaters, and scooter-ers) enjoy a much-shaded, paved trail with almost no vehicle interruption. With vegetation on either side, critters abound. Legacy Trail also offers benches, drinking fountains, and restrooms. It’s also a great place for young riders as most of Legacy Trail does not provide car access and they cannot get lost on its straight route. Riders can opt to begin at the trail start, or choose a variety of parking locations spanning its length for a customized ride.

Venetian Waterway Park Trail 

The Venetian Waterway Park trail follows the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW), so bikers have a breeze and a view of the water along the 8.6-mile paved route. Linking to Legacy Trail, riders can opt to intertwine the two or explore them individually. Amongst the seaside scenery, wading birds make their appearances, reptiles and amphibians scurry by, even bobcats have been known to say hello. Dolphins may jump out to challenge you to a race. Keep going and end up at popular Caspersen Beach, where sharks’ teeth abound and views of the Gulf wow its visitors. Bikers should be sure to bring plenty of water as the Venetian Waterway Park trail does not offer this amenity.

Venice Island Bike Loop

Biking these 11 miles will give riders an excellent tour of the city of Venice. It’s an opportune way to get a bearing of the area, see the architecture, foliage, and people that make Venice unique. Stop for a visit to the beach, watch boats on the Intercoastal, check out the Jetty, stop and admire the shops in the historic downtown district (they are peculiarly adorable here), say hi to some locals, and keep on pedaling.

Carlton Reserve


For a ride that is literally off the beaten path, go mountain-biking on the 100 miles of trails at Carlton Reserve. The 9.3 “Boldly Go” route will give you a challenge. Riding amongst the natural environment, the slash pines and palmetto palms, authentic, wild Florida surrounds you. Wild hogs, armadillos, birds of prey, snakes, and more make this Reserve their home. The annual “Piggy’s Revenge” Offroad Challenge takes place January 8, 2017 features a 10-, 20-, 40-, or 60-mile loop. View the event in action to see the Reserve paths and get excited.

Historic Downtown District

Cruising downtown is the chill route. Traverse along Main Street, past shell shops, ice cream parlors, and local architecture. Many roads provide bike lanes in addition to sidewalks. Traffic (like life) is slow here, so you can cruise without worry. With little effort and minimal sweat, bikers can venture from the beach to the Waterway (a straight shot is one mile, with myriad opportunities to wander) and get a glimpse of the hub of this quaint city.

Caspersen Loop

Beginning and ending your ride is the ideal way to bike. Between these glorious starting and ending points, venture over five miles of old Florida, meeting up with the Venice Bike Trail briefly on this scenic route. Visit Venice Bikes and Trikes for detailed route information as well as rentals delivered directly to the beach for your convenience.

Shamrock Park

Shamrock Park. Photo credit: Lucy Beebe Tobias
Shamrock Park. Photo credit: Lucy Beebe Tobias

Located just a smidge east from Caspersen Beach, Shamrock Park is the safe starter appetizer of Venice trails. With its 1.2 miles of paved route, bikers have the opportunity to explore the natural environment with little commitment or possibility of getting lost, tired, or hot. So it’s perfect for kids or novice bikers. If, at the conclusion of the 1.2 miles, riders decide to go for the entrée, Shamrock Park links to the Legacy Trail, Venetian Waterway Trail, Caspersen Beach, Downtown Venice, and north towards Sarasota.

Tours and Rentals

If you’re hoping for a little additional direction, guided tours are always options. Sarasota County Off Road Riders (SCORR) is one provider of said guided tours. For riders who don’t have bike access, rentals are available in Venice at Real Bikes amongst other establishments.