November 17th is National Hiking Day and this is a great time of year to get out and walk the beautiful hiking trails of South West Florida before the snowbirds from the north come along with tourists from other places. There are plenty of beautiful options available. One of the best things about South West Florida hiking trails is that you have such a wide variety of choices that whatever your taste may be, you are sure to find a trail to delight. We’ve highlighted a few of the best hiking trails to help you on your way.
Venetian Waterway Park
If you like a bit of nature mixed with urban flair, you’ll enjoy hiking the Venetian Water Park. This 8.6-mile hike is located between the Intracoastal Waterway and a bit north of E. Venice Avenue. The trail consists of both grassy areas and concrete surfaces.
Located in Sarasota County, you will pass through urban corridor areas. Enjoy the picnic areas and interpretive signs along the way. Take time to appreciate the murals you will see along the way. There are also playgrounds and fitness stops. Enjoy the natural beauty to be experienced in the open green areas. You’ll feel cool breezes along the way as it tends to be rather windy at times. This is a perfect trail for those who want a flat hiking surface.
Babcock Footprints Trail
Punta Gorda has amazing cypress swamps and the Babcock Footprints Trail is a place where you can hike and see them up close. Cattle roam free on the open prairie here. These are wet flatwoods so be sure to bring your waterproof hiking boots. Bring your camera too because beautiful wildflowers are always blooming here.
It’s recommended that you also come equipped with GPS or a compass just in case. The trail system tends to get wet on the cross trail between loops particularly during rainy seasons. Stop by the Kiosk to get a map before you start out. This will help you determine which trail loop you will want to follow.
Sanibel Island Shared-Use Paths
These paths are great for everyone. Asphalt surfaces make these accessible for those in wheelchairs. These shared-use paths are separated from traffic by grassy medians. Walk along the paths to see the treasures of Sanibel Island. You’ll have access to restaurants and quaint shops. Visit the Sanibel Lighthouse while you’re hiking. This just happens to be the most famous landmark on the island. For planning your hike, you will want to stop in at the chamber of commerce and visitor center. In this inviting establishment, you can get maps and information that will help you have a most rewarding hike.
Punta Gorda Harbor Walk
Between Adrienne Street and Fishermen’s Village is the Punta Gorda Harborwalk. This 2.4-mile trek of asphalt and boardwalk offers a beautiful view of Charlotte Harbor. Just one part of the city’s massive trail network, this trail is connected to Linear Park. Fill your knapsack with lunch and enjoy Gilchrist or Laishley Park. You will find picnic tables and restrooms here along with beautiful gardens. You may want to pack a fishing pole as well because the trail also sports fishing piers.
This trail follows along a former railroad right-of-way. It begins at the Historic Venice Train Depot. Palm trees decorate the waterway. Enjoy the nostalgia of the old depot building, once hailed the finest station on the line. Built-in 1927 in the Mediterranean Revival style, this is a perfect setting to begin your trek. If you visit on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. you’ll have an opportunity to check out the displays on the Seaboard Air Line Railroad.
The Legacy Trail is a straight shot. 10 miles of trail from north of the depot to the southern outskirts of Sarasota. You’ll hike over picturesque waterways and about halfway through the trail, you’ll come to Oscar Scherer State Park. There are lots of recreation options here including camping, canoeing, and fishing.
All of the hiking trails offer you an opportunity to see some of Florida’s wildlife and the changing beauty of the landscape. You don’t need to wait until November 17th to don your hike shoes though. Enjoy these and any of the many trails our area has to offer all year round.
Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A. invites you to get out and take advantage of the opportunities and sights for which our beautiful state is known. We also invite you to contact us for all your personal injury and business litigation concerns. We are the lawyers who care and we can help with your legal requirements. Contact us for legal services in the Port Charlotte, North Port and Englewood areas.