Bike Trails for Families in Lakeland and Polk County

Bike Trails Lakeland Polk County

Are you looking for a bike trail in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Auburndale or Polk County? If you’ve got a bike trailer or a way to transport bikes, we’ve got a list of the best bike trails for families and kids. Below you’ll find paved bike paths, mountain bike trails, AND a list of bike shops in case you’re looking for a new bike or need a repair.

Whether you’re looking for a paved path for a family bike ride, need a grassy field and short bike trail for your little one to learn to ride a bike, or you enjoy the challenge of mountain bike trails and rough terrain, you can find a great bike trail right here close to home.

While many of these trails are multi-use paths where you can also go for a walk or run, we have a separate guide to Walking Trails and Paved Paths you might want to check out, as well as a list of Hiking Trails in Polk County.

Florida Bike Helmet Laws

“A bicycle rider or passenger who is under 16 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and is fastened securely upon the passenger’s head by a strap and that meets the federal safety standard for bicycle helmets.” (F.S. 316.2065)

Paved Bike Trails in Polk County

Below you’ll find the best bike trails in Polk County. These are multi-use paved trails that are popular for biking, but they also work as a paved trail for running, walking, or as a stroller path. Paved trails are ideal for biking with kids – they are typically nice and wide and are located away from the roadway so you don’t have to worry about passing vehicles. We’ve included both long-distance bike trails (2+ miles) as well as shorter paved bike paths in local parks.

Fort Fraser Trail

Fort Fraser Trail is a paved multi-use bike trail in Lakeland that runs along Bartow Hwy/Hwy 98 between Lakeland and Bartow, great for biking, rollerblading, walking, or jogging with a stroller. The full trail is 7.75 miles long. Perfect for a leisurely family bike ride, you can even stop to enjoy a picnic at one of the rest shelters. The trail begins at Winter Lake Road/540 in Lakeland and ends just before Hwy 60 in Bartow. Parking is available at:

  • Behind the Polk Sheriff’s Office Substation – turn at the light at Polk State College on Hwy 98 and follow the signs for Fort Fraser parking (this is just a parking lot, no restrooms)
  • Highland City Trailhead / Main Trailhead – Central Ave & 4th Ave off Hwy 98 in Lakeland (restrooms available here)
  • Bartow Trailhead – 1197 N Wilson Ave, Bartow, FL 33830
  • Click here for a map.

TECO Auburndale Trail

This paved, multi-use trail in Auburndale, is popular with walkers, joggers, cyclists, and inline skaters. The trail is 5.5 miles long and meets up with the Van Fleet Trail at the north end of the Auburndale TECO Trail. Ideal for those who don’t want a rural or remote trail.

Parking available at 318 Denton Ave, Auburndale. Parking also available at the Van Fleet Parking lot at 7683 Berkley Rd, Polk City, FL 33868. Click here for a map.

James A. Van Fleet State Trail

I still remember going to ride this trail with my family when I was growing up! The Van Fleet is a 29-mile paved, multi-use trail that winds through the heart of the Green Swamp. This a completely flat trail, mostly straight with one curve, making it ideal for families and kids who want a leisurely ride. The Van Fleet Trail meets up with the north end of the TECO Auburndale Trail. Note that portions of the Van Fleet trail are remote, take plenty of water and use caution. 

Parking is located at 7683 Berkley Road, Polk City, Florida 33868. Click here for a map.

3 Parks Trail in Lakeland

The Three Parks Trail is a 3.6 mile long loop bike trail and walking trail centrally located in Lakeland, Florida. This paved trail runs around the Cleveland Heights Golf Course, through Peterson Park, up along Lake John, and Woodlake Park, and back down Edgewood Drive to the golf course. Note that portions of this trail are next to the roadway, so if you’re on bikes, be sure your kids are steady on their wheels before you take the full trail.

Parking is located at Peterson Park or the Cleveland Heights Golf Course.

Bike Trails for Kids Lakeland Polk County

Paved Bike Paths in Lakeland

These paved paths are a shorter distance (typically 1 mile or less) and are designed for a leisurely ride or a place to learn to ride a bike. Some of them are near a grassy field so you can start learning on the grass and move to the paved path when your child gets more comfortable riding a bike.

Common Ground Park

In addition to Lakeland’s largest playground, there is a large grass field as well as a paved path at Common Ground Park. Look for the paved path near the parking area at the “back” of the playground (turn at Southington/Denton and go around the tennis courts).
Location: 1000 E Edgewood Drive, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Learn moreCommon Ground Park and Playground

Banana Lake Park

This park is tucked away in the neighborhoods off Clubhouse Road in south Lakeland, and we think it is a hidden gem! The park includes a playground, huge grass field, and paved path around the park (as well as a boat ramp).
Location: 5002 Tillery Road, Lakeland, Florida 33812
Learn moreBanana Lake Park

Walker Road Park

Walker Road Park is off the beaten path in north Lakeland. It has softball fields, grass multi-purpose fields, a playground, and a paved walking path around the park.
Location: 1035 Walker Rd, Lakeland, FL 33810
Learn moreWalker Road Park

Dobbins Park

Our favorite thing at Dobbins Park are the ziplines on the playground! There is also a paved walking trail around the park, and a large open field to play or learn to ride a bike.
Location: Next to Dixieland Elementary School at 514 Ariana St, Lakeland, Florida 33803
Learn moreDobbins Park and Playground

Christina Park

You won’t find a grassy field at Christina Park (just softball fields), but you will find one of our favorite shaded playgrounds in Lakeland. There is a paved path that runs around the outside of the softball fields, plus when the park is empty the parking lot is a great place to ride a bike.
Location: 500 Co Rd 540A, Lakeland, FL 33813
Learn moreChristina Park and Playground

Lake Parker Park

The partially shaded trail at Lake Parker Park is a nice leisurely ride, plus you can visit the amazing Rotary Playground at Hernando’s Landing.
Location: 910 Granada St, Lakeland, FL 33801 (There are two entrances to Lake Parker Park – use the one on Granada to access the playground and trail)
Learn More: Lake Parker Park and the Rotary Playground at Hernando’s Landing

Peterson Park

Veer left at the fork in Peterson Park and you’ll end up at a nice grass play area, perfect for learning to ride a bike. Minimal road traffic also means you can use the circle around the screened pavilion to ride on a paved path. There is also a straight paved trail, approximately 1/2 mile long, that is part of the City of Lakeland’s 3 Parks Trail (see above). Access this trail between the boat ramp parking and shaded pavilion.
Location: 3700 Cleveland Heights Blvd, Lakeland, FL 33803
Learn MoreCity of Lakeland

Lake Mirror and Hollis Garden

Lake Mirror has a large promenade and paved walkway the entire way around. It is approximately 0.7 miles around Lake Mirror making it an easy bike ride or walk for little ones, AND it is nice and wide, giving them plenty of space for bike riding. Located next to Barnett Park and Sunflower Playground.

Parking is available at Hollis Garden, in the parking garage at Lakeland Electric, and around Lakeland Community Theater.
Location: 614 E. Orange Street, Lakeland, FL 33801
Learn more: City of Lakeland website

Fletcher Park at Lake Bonny

Best known for the Lakeland skate park, Lake Bonny Park is also home to a 1+ mile paved walking trail as well as a large grass field.
Location: 800 US-98, Lakeland, FL 33801
Learn MoreFletcher Park at Lake Bonny

Douglas M. Cook Park

Located near Lakeland Square Mall in north Lakeland, this park has a huge grass field and a paved path around the park.
Location: 955 Wedgewood Estates Boulevard, Lakeland, Florida 33809
Learn moreDouglas M. Cook Park

Lake Hollingsworth

Editor’s Opinion on biking around Lake Hollingsworththere is a 3 mile paved path around Lake Hollingsworth as well as a designated bike path along the road. There is no barrier between the bike path and roadway, so it is designed for experienced bike riders. While we have certainly seen plenty of younger kids riding bikes on the paved path, it is meant for walkers and runners and can get pretty crowded, so if you’ve got older kids or bike riders going faster than a walking pace, we recommend visiting one of the other paved trails for bike riding.

Bike Paths Lakeland Polk County

Paved Bike Paths in Winter Haven

Chain of Lakes Trail in Winter Haven

This paved trail runs 3 miles along a former railroad bed from downtown Winter Haven to north of Lake Alfred. Popular as a bike trail in Winter Haven or a walking or running trail. A pedestrian bridge over Avenue T is the only elevation gain. {We haven’t been to this trail yet, portions of it run through Downtown Winter Haven and right next to a road. Ask friends or visit the area before you ride here with kids}.

Location: Parking is available at the southern end of the trail in Winter Haven at the Chain of Lakes Downtown Trailhead Park (611 Third Street, NW) and at Inman Park (8th Street NW).
Learn more:
Website

South Lake Howard Nature Park

Visit the Lake Howard Nature Park to walk, bike and roller blade the 1.5 mile paved looped trail. A boardwalk provides a nice overlook on Lake Howard which is on the Winter Haven Chain of Lakes.

Location: 1570 Lake Howard Dr SW, Winter Haven, FL 33880
Learn more: City of Winter Haven

Places to Learn to Ride a Bike

Wondering where you can find the best place to learn to ride a bike? Sometimes it is nerve-wracking to watch your child learn to ride on the street or sidewalk near your home. The best suggestion we have is to find a grass field to start with, that way they don’t end up with scraped knees or elbows if they fall over.

All of the places listed above and in our list of on our Open Fields and Parks Where You Can Play Outdoors in Lakeland are a great place to learn to ride. Some parents have also suggested finding an empty parking lot (schools that aren’t gated, malls or shopping centers when closed, etc. – just be sure you aren’t trespassing).

Mountain Bike Trails in Polk County

Loyce E. Harpe Park / Carter Road Park Mountain Bike Trails

The best-known mountain bike trails in our area are at Loyce E. Harpe Park on Carter Road, near the Wal-Mart in Mulberry. With over 13 miles of trails, mountain bike riders of all levels – beginner, intermediates, and experts – can find the right trail for your mountain biking skills. Trails are maintained by the Ridge Riders Mountain Bike Association – a 501c3 group focusing on the advocacy of mountain biking in Florida. Loyce E. Harpe Park (Also referred to as Carter Road Park) trail riding mountain biking. Visit the Ridge Riders Mountain Bike Association website to see a Trail map and get involved with their organized rides. HELMETS ARE REQUIRED.

Location: 300 W Carter Rd, Mulberry, FL 33860
Learn more: Polk County website (Loyce E. Harpe Park) or Ridge Riders Mountain Bike Association (mountain bike trails)

Colt Creek State Park

This State Park is located in the NE corner of Polk County on Hwy 471. It is a great place to hike, bike, picnic, ride horses, fish, camp and just be outdoors. Admission is $4 per vehicle.

Bike Trails – There are over 12 miles of trails that are accessible for bikes. The trails are mostly hard packed and grass covered. Due to some areas of soft sand or muddy areas, mountain bikes are recommended.

Fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, and camping are also available at Colt Creek State Park. Restrooms are located at the ranger station and the Mac Lake day use area.

Location: 16000 FL-471, Lakeland, FL 33809
Learn more:
Colt Creek Park Website

Alafia River State Park

Located a short drive from Lakeland in Hillsborough County, Alafia River State Park is built on a reclaimed phosphate mine with some of the most radical elevation changes in the state. This makes it a hot spot for mountain bikers, who come from all over Florida to ride over 20 miles of scenic and challenging International Mountain Bike Association trails. UBC offers bike rentals and bike repairs in the park. Admission to the park is $5 per vehicle.

Location: 14326 S County Rd 39, Lithia, FL 33547
Learn more:
Alafia River State Park website OR the Alafia Trail website

Mountain Bike Trails Lakeland Polk County Central Florida

Bike Shops in Polk County

Wondering “is there a bike shop near me?” We’ve got you covered!

Bent's Schwinn Cycling & Fitness
Bent’s Cycling and Fitness offers pro-level Road and Mountain bicycles…as well as affordable cruisers for a more leisurely ride.  They also […]
Bike Shop Of Winter Haven
30 year retailer in Winter Haven, FL supplying the community with high-quality hybrid, road, racing, and family-style bikes. Flat tire? Bro […]
David's World Cycle
David's World Cycle is part of a family-owned bike shop chain with stores across Florida. They sell biking gear, accessories, and also repa […]
LeRoy's Bikeworks
LeRoy's Bikeworks sells road, mountain, hybrid, recumbent, gravel, and fat tire bikes as well as tricycles and all the accessories. They […]
Road & Trail Bicycles
No matter what type of bike you're looking for, Road & Trail Bicycles has you covered. They have a full service department able to prov […]
Unwholly Bikes
Unwholly Bikes, Inc. is NOT your traditional bike store. It is a bike shop open to the community of Central Florida. Their team serves as a […]

Bikes are also sold at Target, WalMart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Amazon, and local resale shops.

Join a Local Bicycling Group

If you’d like to learn more about cycling in Lakeland or Polk County, want some guidance on the best mountain bike trails for kids, or just enjoy the camaraderie of a group bike ride, check out these local groups listed below. Many of the local bike shops also coordinate group rides and other bicycling events.

  • Ridge Riders Mountain Bike AssociationWebsite | Facebook
  • Bicycling in LakelandWebsite | Facebook
  • Bike LakelandFacebook
  • Bartow Cycling CommunityFacebook
  • Lakeland Landsharks Triathalon ClubFacebook
  • Pedal Power Bike MinistryFacebook (Pedal Power is based at First Presbyterian Church, they collect used bicycles then restores and refurbishes them to safe working order to give away for FREE to Children and Adults in need)

Map – Bike Trails Near Me

Locations

Bike Paths Near Me | Paved Trails Near Me

Did we miss a bike trail near you? Contact us and we’ll add it to our list.

Check out our full Outdoor Fun Guide for more outdoor things to do in Lakeland, Polk County, and Central Florida.