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Adventure Travel

Hit the Bike Trails in These Outdoor Destinations for an Active Vacation the Whole Crew Can Enjoy

Pedal your way to fun — from the beach to the desert and everywhere in between

The Vacationeer
Two women riding bikes, treen covered paved bike trail, Parc Soleil, a Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Orlando, Florida.

Consider hopping on a bicycle to explore during your next getaway, whether you’re planning an adventure-filled vacation or just want a few ideas to stay active. Bike riding infuses your trip with heart-pumping fun that travelers of all fitness levels can enjoy, no matter the destination. 

Here are some of the top trails in four popular family vacation destinations.

Aeria image, Virginia Beach shoreline, biking trail parallel, Virginia Beach, Virginia.    

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach has a 2.5-mile concrete boardwalk that keeps its bike lanes separate from the pedestrian path, and it’s an ideal first ride for young kids.

Feel free to mix it up, as this beach city has a handful of state parks and nature preserves that offer an alternative to the boardwalk for a bike ride with scenic views. Virginia Beach also has a good network of protected bike lanes that make navigating main streets to get around on two wheels safe and easy. 

You can try beach cruising for something a little bit different, which entails riding on the sand using bikes with wide tires. For the complete experience, bike down by the water’s edge, stopping to dip your feet in the water. 

Insider tip: Beach riding is easiest at low tide when the wet sand has had a chance to dry out and firm up. Even at that time, though, biking in sand takes a little extra effort, so it’s an activity best suited to teens and adults who can handle the irregular terrain.

Orlando, Florida

Stunning natural springs, wooden trail way,  Florida.    

Orlando offers 45 miles of bike trails and 50 miles of signed routes, and extensive on-street bike lanes. Many of these trails and greenways are reasonable distances for family rides. Most wind through a mix of neighborhoods and parks and around lakes and waterways.

For example, the 8-mile Little Econ Greenway passes through residential neighborhoods, parks and canals. You can spot kayakers, water birds and even alligators along the paved path.

There’s also the connecting Lake Baldwin Trail, a 2.5-mile loop around a lake that sits next to a planned community. The loop is a good ride for kids who aren’t ready for something longer, and you can pop over to the town center for a snack to refuel after your ride. 

For a more rigorous route, the 15-mile Lake Apopka Loop Trail winds around its namesake through land that has recently been restored as a nature preserve.

Insider tip: TrailLink lists various trails and descriptions to help you find the bike trail best for you. 

Picturesque wooden bride over forest creek, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee.    

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are both gateways to Smoky Mountain National Park. The area has plenty of family biking trails and more difficult mountain biking opportunities for more adventurous travelers. Expect scenery and a few hills.

Cades Cove Loop is the most popular ride, an 11-mile, one-way scenic road. Bikes share the road with pedestrians and vehicles, but on Wednesday mornings (and sometimes Saturdays), the road is closed to cars.

Along the way, there are plenty of picturesque overviews where you can take a break and snap selfies or panoramas. Bring water and snacks or even a picnic lunch along on this one. 

The short, 2-mile Gatlinburg trail stretches from the outskirts of town to the park’s Sugarlands visitors’ center. It’s one of two off-street trails in the park that allow cyclists.

Outside the park, the 4-mile Riverwalk Greenway winds through Pigeon Forge along the Little Pigeon River, ending with a small loop through a small park. It’s a good, easy ride for younger kids.

The other in-park trail that allows biking is the Oconaluftee River Trail, about an hour from Gatlinburg on the North Carolina side of the national park. It’s an easy and scenic 3-mile ride that follows its namesake river. It’s a short trail and ideal for kids because you can begin or end your ride at the outdoor Mountain Farm Museum, built around a 19th-century Tennessee homestead.

Insider tip: This path consists of packed dirt and gravel patches, making it ideal for hybrids and kids’ bikes with thicker tires. However, if you use a road bike, you may risk popping a tire, so come prepared. 

Sedona, Arizona

Wideshot image, woman riding bike along red dirt trail, stunning red rocks against blue sky, Sedona, Arizona.    

Sedona’s rugged, red rock trails are popular with hikers and mountain bikers. There are a few trails in the area suitable for a hybrid or sturdy road bike, but plenty of opportunities to sharpen your mountain biking skills.

The Red Rock Loop is an 8-mile paved trail through the area’s foothills. It isn’t flat, but it’s still suitable for road bikes and kids who have bikes with gears. The 7-mile Bell Rock Pathway is around 3.5 miles of packed dirt, ideal for family bike rides.

If you want to try mountain biking, the Sedona beginner loop on the Big Park Loops is one of the few trails in the area that will work for families. Most of it is wide, packed dirt. Although there are a few tricky spots, you can always walk your bikes if the trail looks too daunting.

Peruse Hilton Grand Vacations’ resorts and destinations to pick a home away from home for your next active vacation. 

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The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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