First thing I need to say to TripAdvisor is they need to change the location of this attraction. It is NOT in Ft. Walton (A good 35 minute drive from Ft. Walton). It is even 12 miles past Destin. But because Destin is the closest and biggest town near it, I guess it could be considered an attraction in Destin.
This trail is 30 miles long one way. But there are plenty of places to park your car, so you can choose to bike 60 miles, or just 1 or 2 depending on where you park and where you want to bike.
If coming from Destin, shortly after the hospital in Sandestin, you will see a sign pointing to the beaches (Topsail Beach) to the right (a big intersection). Take that. The trail will start shortly after and there is free parking. If your plan is to bike through the charming towns, I would suggest driving on to one of the communities you are interested in, because some of the best of those towns are at the halfway point of the trail. So it will be quite a bike ride to get there from this starting point.If coming from Panama City, head to Rosemary Beach and park there. The trail ends (or begins there) depending on which side you start on.
The trail itself is a combination of scenery. You can pass the woods only. You can pass through some older neighborhoods, and you will also pass some of the most charming seaside villages you will get to bike through in Florida. At a few areas of the trail, you will be able to view the Gulf of Mexico. And there are several community access walkways if you want to stop and visit the beach for a little while. The path is paved, and wide enough for bikers and pedestrians to share. There are a few bumpy places on the trail, but outside of that, it is an easy trail to ride on. You will pass over various driveways, but will cross over relatively few streets to have to wait for cars. Many cars will yield for you, but keep in mind, many tourist are glancing around at the scenery themselves and may not notice you. As far as biking solo on the trail, it is relatively safe. The trail stays along the road the entire time, so hopefully anyone out to do you harm will think twice because of all of the passing traffic that is in full view.
While always good to have water with you on a trail, you will pass multiple stores and restaurants if you are in need of a drink or snack. Bathroom facilities are available. Many will be at the restaurants you will pass. But I do know that Seaside does have public restrooms, and about a mile east of Seaside, there is a beach access area on the beach side of the road, and there is a bathroom located in that parking lot (it is not overly obvious from the road).
One of the fun parts of riding the trail is that you pass through several charming seaside town, that you have to do a side trip and ride through the streets to look at the architecture or landscapes. I personally think it is one of the main reason that parts of the trail are so heavily used. In these small towns, if you do not live there, you are not allowed to drive your car through them, which make it easier/safer to get around by bike. If you ride around enough, you can often find the small nature trails that are associated with some of the towns. Many people have heard of Seaside. Several communities that are similar popped up over the years, that still have their own charm. Each area is worth a visit, even if you have to take more than one trip to see them.
If you are more into nature trails, than paved trails, there are a few State parks located along the trail (you can also choose to park there and just bike out to the trail). Just check the map for where they are. Or park elsewhere and check out the other trails along the way.
If you did not bring a bike, do not worry. There are multiple places from one end to the other that rent out bikes. Whether you live in the area or are close enough to visit, this is a must do. If you like to do a little activity, biking is a much better way to explore the trail than to walk or jog even. You will just have the opportunity to see much more.
So please come, and have fun....
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