South County, Florida

South Florida is the southernmost region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is one of Florida’s three most commonly referred to directional regions; the other two are Central Florida and North Florida. South Florida is the southernmost part of the continental United States and the only region of the continental U.S. that includes some areas with a tropical climate. South Florida is dominated by the Miami metropolitan area and the Everglades, and contains the Florida Keys, three U.S. national parks, and multiple cities.

Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail

An overlay on the Florida Trail around Lake Okeechobee, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail provides a mostly paved cycling and walking route around the second-largest lake entirely within the borders of the United States.

First hiked in the 1960s and developed as a loop in the Florida National Scenic Trail in the 1980s, the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail offers spectacular views.

Mainly atop the 35-foot-tall Herbert Hoover Dike, built for flood control between the 1930s and 1960s, it offers unmatched perspectives on the lake for photographers and birders.

While there are numerous access points with parking, there are few convenience stores along the trail, and you can go long distances before finding a restroom, so be prepared. Bring water and sunscreen, there is no shade – better as a cool weather ride – and it can get windy on the dike. Watch the weather and get off the dike to avoid lightning strikes. Views from the dike can include broad vistas and excellent sunrises and sunsets, but again it is wide open, so much depends on the weather. The best biking lake views are on the north and east sides, while the west is mostly marshland. Many waterfowl are seen, plus sugar fields, wetlands, and surrounding agricultural communities. In sum, long distances with often unchanging views.

Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail

The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) features more than 90 linear miles of existing trail paved in segments along a planned 106-mile corridor from Key Largo to Key West.

From a locally inspired vision and master plan, the FKOHT is a multi-use bicycle and pedestrian resource that serves as a recreational and alternative transportation corridor for the Florida Keys. Paralleling U.S. Highway 1, which is designated as a National Scenic Highway and All-American Road, this recreational pathway incorporates 23 of the historic Flagler Railroad bridges, offering a scenic venue hiking, running, bicycling, skating, sightseeing, fishing, and paddling. Please be advised that a few fishing bridges in this area have been closed for safety purposes. They are the Ohio-Missouri, Ohio-Bahia Honda, Missouri-Little Duck, Lower Sugarloaf, and Niles. These bridges are part of Henry Flagler’s Florida East Coast Railway built around the turn of the century. At more than 100 years old, the bridges are no longer used for transportation.

The existing FKOHT is paved in segments along the corridor from Key Largo to Key West. The longest, continuous section of paved trail is currently located in the Upper Keys between MM 106 at Key Largo and through MM 72 at Islamorada, Village of Islands. The trail and historic bridges also provide a beneficial, alternative transportation route that links island communities in the Keys. The trail offers access to many points of interest and ecological resources throughout the Keys, including Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge, Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge, and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, as well as 10 Florida State Parks. There are camping opportunities available at some state parks and private campsites.

The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail: 90 Miles of Multi-Use Trails Link the Keys, Offering Visitors a Spectacular Way to Experience the Islands.