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Wintering in Florida locations

Old 04-10-17, 07:49 AM
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Wintering in Florida locations

Hi everyone. For the past few years I have been spending a few weeks every winter in the Pompano Beach/Lauderdale area and I think I am ready to take the next step and stay a little longer. This past weekend I spent time riding around the Palatka area and really loved the roads but the mornings were only in the 40's and its already April.
With that said I am looking to bring our RV down south and find a park to leave it in for the entire winter next season. Cost is an issue so while I would rather be farther south where warm weather is almost a guarantee midstate and north is more in my budget. I would love some recommendations from you fine folks on area that have nice cycling roads, are affordable and hopefully midstate or a bit south of mid. Any recommendations?
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Old 04-10-17, 04:42 PM
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Hi Gary.
If you want "quiet" bike trails there is the Withlacoochee Trail in west central Florida. I ride it 3-4 times a week. And there's the Suncoast Trail between Tampa and *****assa (west Florida). There are several trails in the middle of the state near Gainesville and Ocala but I haven't tried them yet.
If you want hills try the middle of the state near Clermont. Some others (like OldTryGuy) on here ride them quite often and can give you more info about the roads, traffic, etc.
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Old 04-10-17, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by RonH View Post
Hi Gary.
If you want "quiet" bike trails there is the Withlacoochee Trail in west central Florida. I ride it 3-4 times a week. And there's the Suncoast Trail between Tampa and *****assa (west Florida). There are several trails in the middle of the state near Gainesville and Ocala but I haven't tried them yet.
If you want hills try the middle of the state near Clermont. Some others (like OldTryGuy) on here ride them quite often and can give you more info about the roads, traffic, etc.
I have heard the Withlacoochee is one of the nicest trail systems in the state. What towns would you recommend that I look at that are on the trail?
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Old 04-10-17, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
I have heard the Withlacoochee is one of the nicest trail systems in the state. What towns would you recommend that I look at that are on the trail?
The trail is 46 miles long, runs north-south. You'll find road bikes, hybrids, trikes and recumbents. Some folks ride slow, some ride fast, some ride really fast. And there are all ages and abilities.

Dunnellon is a few miles north of the trail and there is a nice trailhead at that end. Inverness is at mile 30 (from the south, 16 from the north). Floral City is at the mid-point. There isn't much south of Floral City. Very rural after you're a few miles south of Floral City.

Depending on the season you can see deer, coyotes, bob cats, wild turkeys, tortoises, hawks, eagles and snakes - mostly black snakes but I've seen some "others" on the trail. People say they've seen alligators but I've never seen one. They're mostly in the lake areas in the Inverness area.

There are eating establishments (Mom and Pop places) at various places along the trail, most in the northern half.
There are rest areas with picnic tables or benches every few miles. Water and rest rooms are at the the north end, mile 41N, mile 35N, in downtown Inverness (mile 23N), in downtown Floral City (mid-point of the trail), near Nobleton (mile 15N) and at Ridge Manor (mile 5N).
There are 2 bike shops in Inverness. One is right on the trail and the other (my favorite) is 1-1/2 blocks off the trail. There is also a bike shop on the trail in Floral City. And there's a nice bike shop in Dunnellon.
There are a few nice eating places not far from the trail in Inverness. The Shamrock Inn (pub grub) is along the trail in Floral City.
The River Ratz cafe is ~1/2 mile off the trail in Nobleton. It has outside seating that looks out over the Withlacoochee River.

There isn't much south of Nobleton (very rural with horse farms, etc).
Here is downtown Istachatta. There's a convenience store that opens and closes as new owners (?) take over the business. When its open you can get cold drinks, candy bars, etc. They saved me once when I rode to the south end of the trail and didn't take enough food/water.


The Suncoast Trail isn't that far away and is 41 miles long (again north-south). Not many eating places and water is scare in the southern 15 miles but its a great ride with some decent rollers at the north end.

If you head down this way next winter be sure to post in the SE subforum. Maybe we could get a few group rides set up. Hope you can make it.
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Old 04-10-17, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by RonH View Post
The trail is 46 miles long, runs north-south. You'll find road bikes, hybrids, trikes and recumbents. Some folks ride slow, some ride fast, some ride really fast. And there are all ages and abilities.

If you head down this way next winter be sure to post in the SE subforum. Maybe we could get a few group rides set up. Hope you can make it.
Thank you so much for your info. I have some homework to do!!
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Old 04-10-17, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
Thank you so much for your info. I have some homework to do!!
I forgot something. Here is the trail map.
https://www.floridastateparks.org/trail/Withlacoochee
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Old 04-10-17, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by garysol1 View Post
This past weekend I spent time riding around the Palatka area and really loved the roads but the mornings were only in the 40's and its already April.
You should have come in February. It was much nicer. I'm a bit further north, but winters here have been odd the last couple years. Generally on the mild side, but March and April have tended to be colder than normal. This year is better than last in terms of highs, but we've been dominated by those annoyingly cold mornings.

We have great roads for riding up in the far north, but even at best the winters are colder than you seek. Really colder than I'd prefer, but I love the land in this part of the state.
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Old 04-12-17, 01:13 PM
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I like the nature coast of FL. That's the "arm pit" looking area that is on the gulf coast side. There is a smaller rail to trail system there around Chiefland. It has some great natural springs, Fanning and Manatee nearby. I believe the Withlacoochee trail isn't that much farther north. It would be really small town living though. Also the area around the Ocala Nat. Forest is nice. Somewhere like DeLand. I don't think there are too many trails nearby but riding in the forest is good. Also some local springs DeLeon, Blue and Juniper. Plus you are fairly close to the Atlantic beaches.
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Old 04-12-17, 06:25 PM
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Speaking of the Nature Coast Trail, here are a few pics. It is a nice 32 mile trail.





View of the Suwannee River from the bridge.


Here's info from the Florida State Parks folks.
https://www.floridastateparks.org/trail/Nature-Coast
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Old 04-12-17, 07:44 PM
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That does look like a nice trail. I am typically happier on the roads than on the trail but man does that look inviting.
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Old 04-13-17, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by RonH View Post
Speaking of the Nature Coast Trail, here are a few pics. It is a nice 32 mile trail.
I've seen that view several times while I was staying at Fanning Springs. Side story...I took my longest ride ever there by accident. I missed the turn off to Manatee Springs and wound up taking another leg around the trail. It was the middle of summer, really hot and I ran out of water. I limped into Manatee Springs about a hour later than expected. The springs felt so good after dying in the summer heat/humidity.
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Old 04-13-17, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by bikecrate View Post
I've seen that view several times while I was staying at Fanning Springs. Side story...I took my longest ride ever there by accident. I missed the turn off to Manatee Springs and wound up taking another leg around the trail. It was the middle of summer, really hot and I ran out of water. I limped into Manatee Springs about a hour later than expected. The springs felt so good after dying in the summer heat/humidity.
You're right about the heat and humidity. I did the Tour de Melon a few years ago with my grandson. Its usually the first Saturday in June and it was HOT and beyond HUMID.
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Old 04-16-17, 06:02 PM
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For a place to stay with your RV that is centrally located to the Nature Coast, Withlacoochee and Hawthorne Trails, check out Grand Lake RV Resort in Orange Lake, FL ( half way between Gainesville and Ocala just off I-75). Ocala also has several large RV Parks.
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Old 11-12-17, 02:41 PM
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There are several paved trails around the Orlando area, and if you're down as far as SR 50, you'll have the choice of both the Gen.Van Fleet trail that runs south to Polk City (plenty of road bikes and an almost straight trail) and the Withlacoochee State Trail. They're both safer than riding on the Florida roads.

Happy riding!
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Old 11-13-17, 03:54 AM
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Riding Boundary Blvd. and within (
) will yield 98 miles of flat, except for humpback bridges, low trafficked wind in your face 90% of the time relaxing pedaling.

Ask me how I know.

You can even bicycle on the same track (at 43 seconds with O.J.) used in the TV program SUPERSTARS

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Old 11-26-17, 03:01 PM
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We have spent last five winters on north end of Lake Okeechobee. Cold days are rare. The LOST trail is great ride on the NE side of the lake. Few humans on foot or bikes, no cars, no intersections, paved on top of dike. The only slow down is 5mph at the locks, otherwise go as fast as you want. If no new construction this year I will get in a twenty-five to fifty mile ride R/T on the trail just about every day. RV parking spot prices very in the area. Winter rates where we stay about $800 a month elec included. If not particular about park rates go below $600 a month.
Rates ? Zachary Taylor RV Resort
Check parks in area at Search results for "Okeechobee" - RV Park Reviews

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Old 12-02-17, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ctpres View Post
We have spent last five winters on north end of Lake Okeechobee. Cold days are rare. The LOST trail is great ride on the NE side of the lake. Few humans on foot or bikes, no cars, no intersections, paved on top of dike. The only slow down is 5mph at the locks, otherwise go as fast as you want. If no new construction this year I will get in a twenty-five to fifty mile ride R/T on the trail just about every day. RV parking spot prices very in the area. Winter rates where we stay about $800 a month elec included. If not particular about park rates go below $600 a month.
Rates ? Zachary Taylor RV Resort
Check parks in area at Search results for "Okeechobee" - RV Park Reviews

Awesome info.... Thank you.
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