Southeast - Destin to Panama City Bike Paths
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03-17-11, 10:50 AM
I'm heading to Destin this Saturday (3/19) for a vacation and wondering about the bike baths. The bike paths I'm interested in are between Destin and Panama City on Highway 30A along the coast. I was able to check it out from Google Maps and it looks more like a sidewalk than a bike path. I'd like to take some longer rides, 30 - 50 miles at +/- 20 mph. Am I better off riding on the road? Will the locals get PO'ed at me for riding in the road when there is a bike path? I'm looking for the least path of resistance :thumb:.
03-18-11, 09:28 PM
I ride that route split road/ path. There's a stretch between Seagrove and Rosemary Beach where the road is only two lane, higher speed limit, and with little to no shoulders. Also lower density, so the path is a good option. Riding 20mph through Water Colors, Seaside and Seagrove on the path is next to impossible. Even if they're not clogged with slow traffic, cars pulling out of the beach condo complexes can't see you.
If you're a fool like me stop for some donuts at Thomas's (in Laguna Beach/Sunnyside?) Makes that ride back to Destin into the prevailing wind so much more fun. :)
If you want to find some rides with a good group while you're down there, see if you can hook up with the Emerald Coast Cycling Club. I did two nice rides off the coast with them last summer, one of 50mi, the other 57mi (two Saturday rides)
03-19-11, 04:51 AM
Thanks for the info. It seems like not all bike paths are made equal. I guess I should not worry about it and just enjoy the ride.
There is a brand new path on Route 79 out of Panama City Beach that will take you north over the intracoastal and connect you to route 388 which has a bike lane and winds its way into Panama City proper. A bit out of your way, but it is a very quiet route in the morning and gives you an opportunity to see and hear a wide variety of birds, frogs, deer and - occasionally- bears.
One more thing regarding the locals (I married one). Mornings are best to avoid traffic (though there will be quite a bit of foot traffic at Thomas' donuts - which I agree, are not to be missed). The closer you get to to Panama City Beach - especially east of Pier Park, the more rowdy the drivers tend to be. Remember, this is Spring Break seaon and while most of the kids are respectful and well behaved, you do get your share of morons who like to imbibe and drive. As you would anywhere, be careful - but don't pass up the opportunity to ride down there - it is beautiful.
03-21-11, 08:48 AM
I got a chance to ride about 30 miles yesterday afternoon (after the morning fog). It was fantastic! The weather has been perfect with high's in the mid 70's. I took it a little easier so I could scope out the area. I went from Sandestin to Seaside. For the most part it was a great bike path. In some areas I had to ride on the road which was fine. I had to watch out so I didn't get doored, but that was about it. I didn't see many Spring Breakers, mainly young families and retirees. I think the next few weeks will have more traffic.
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