Secrets of South Florida

I've been an Adventure Cycling Association life member for some time, and I decided it was finally time to get Diana and our almost two-year-old involved in the world of bike touring. So, we loaded up and prepared for a couple of stress-free travel days on our bicycles.

Utilizing Adventure Cycling's Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route maps we set off from home in Cutler Bay, Florida. I pulled a trailer with our gear, and Joshua sat in the bike seat behind Diana.

We rode to and stayed at Everglades International Hostel, an "Urban Oasis in the Heart of Florida City."

The hostel is one of those places that most natives would never think of visiting. We were pleasantly surprised to find that this little gem exists.

Water garden at the Everglades International Hostel. 

The hostel offers a variety of accommodation options, ranging from dorm beds to semi-private rooms to "garden camping" in tents.

Yoga Tent at the hostel.

The next day we left the hostel and rode away from the Adventure Cycling route, blazing our own trail to the Robert is Here Fruit Stand and Farm. (Unless you've been to the region, you might not realize that the southernmost edge of mainland Florida is a major farm-produce area.) Robert is Here, an outstanding fruit and vegetable stand virtually in the middle of nowhere, was established by Robert (who else?) late in the fall of 1959.

According to his website, "At that time, six-year-old Robert was set on this very corner with some of his father’s cucumber crop and told to 'Sell 'em!' Robert sat all day that Saturday and no one even stopped. That evening, Robert’s father decided that 'there can’t be that many people who don’t like cucumbers; they must not see this little boy standing here on the corner.' The next day, Robert’s father placed a sign on each side of the table proclaiming in big red letters 'Robert Is Here.' By noon Robert had sold all of the cucumbers and [he] walked home. The following weekend, a neighboring farmer added tomatoes to Robert’s display and a fruit stand was born."

Later in the day we stopped at Knaus Berry Farm and Bakery for some ice cream -- another place not to be missed!

Our second night out we spent at the Larry and Penny Thompson Park campground, located next to Zoo Miami. Another beautiful spot even a lot of locals aren't aware of.

The next day was a short jaunt back home. All in all, this is a perfect short bike tour that can be done in winter, making it particularly appealing for all of those afflicted with snow on the ground! We rode through Cutler Bay, Florida City, the Redlands, and Homestead, our little pieces of heaven.

Get more information about bike overnights.

Favorite local bike shop: The Bicycle Spot in Oakland Park, Florida. Peyton's shop is one-of-a-kind, with outstanding service and loyal customers.

3 responses so far ↓

Matt K. - Dec 3, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Great article! I'm working on talking my wife into a bike overnight, but we live in the Tampa area, so we're not sure where we can go/stay. Stories from Florida inspire discussion and excitement when we read them, and yours was a big hit over dinner tonight!

Art Burke - May 21, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Find the easiest way from your home to the Suncoast Trail. From there, you should be able to find a reasonable route to Brooksville. From Brooksville to near Inverness you should be able to pick up the Withlacoochee State Trail and get to just south of Dunellon (if you want to go that far). Even if you stay on US 41, the paved shoulder is wide enough to be an enjoyable ride.

Dale Morris - Mar 16, 2014 at 2:04 PM

I'm down here in Punta Gorda, FL, about 50 miles south of Sarasota. Anyone got any suggestions for travel here?

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