A town as scenic, laid-back and traffic-free as St. Marks just begs to be explored on two wheels. Biking allows you to hop off and explore the places you notice along your meandering route, and you’re far more likely to notice them when you’re traveling at a relaxed pace in the open air instead of speeding by in a car.
Here’s a tip for a relaxing trip: When you arrive, park your car and forget about it. Head to Shields Marina, rent a beach cruiser (or bring your own) and enjoy the rest of your vacation at St. Marks speed. This goes double during an event such as the Stone Crab Festival or Monarch Festival when parking can be at a premium.
Cruise through the marina and stop for a cool drink on the balcony while watching the action at the boat ramp. Explore San Marcos de Apalache Historic State Park. Stop by St. Marks River Park for a picnic, or break for lunch at the Riverside Cafe. Cruise down to Shell Island Fish Camp, the oldest family-owned fish camp in Florida, to see what’s biting.
That puts you in a perfect spot to jump on the Tallahassee-St. Marks Rail Trail, with 11 miles of freshly repaved, vehicle-free trail that’s wide, shaded and perfect for families or bikers of any skill level. If you cycled the trail before its face-lift, you’re in for a very pleasant surprise when you return.
Another great spot to explore by bike is the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. We’ve discussed its lighthouse in a previous post: Stay tuned for more on what not to miss at the refuge from events to GPS treasure hunts and more.