If you’re looking for some great places to run in NE Florida, I’ve got you covered. There are so many incredible running routes, so the only limit to varying my run is how far I’m willing to drive, and how much time I have in a given day. Come check out some of my favorite running routes in my corner of the Sunshine State.
Downtown St. Augustine (Bayfront)
Historic downtown is such a perfect choice for a great run. Not only does it offer gorgeous city views, but the Bayfront path is simply stunning, with the water on one side, and palm trees and beautiful old building on the other. The layout of the city offers the option of running anything from a mile to anything in the double digits, if you explore all the side streets and residential pieces. There is also the option to cross the Bridge of Lions to the Davis Shores neighborhoods, and even the lighthouse if you’re feeling ambitious. Parking can be a challenges, as can the cobblestones on some of the older streets, but it’s worth it.
As I have mentioned, if you want any kind of hills in St. Augustine, Vilano Bridge is the place to go. At about one mile in length, with a maximum height of about 75-80 feet, the bridge is a great way to get some solid elevation training. For us, that’s quite the climb! The views are gorgeous, and you can choose to take on repeats, run from the bridge to the beach to the Vilano Beach Pier, or even cross into town, and run long all the way into the city. Who doesn’t love options? Parking is plentiful in the morning, although you’ll need to keep an eye on the construction leading away from the bridge which limits safe sidewalk areas, at least for a little while.
Pioneer Trail – Jennings State Forest
There are some lovely trails in the northeast Florida region, but I think Jennings State Forest is the prettiest by far. Not only that, but it’s hilly and technical and all the things that make trails … well, trails. So many of the trails here are hard-packed dirt or sand, so they are beautiful but not particularly challenging. The Pioneer Trail is definitely a different story, and it’a absolutely worth a visit. Please note: finding the entrance is super tricky, and if there are amenities like bathrooms or information centers, I didn’t find them, but that doesn’t take away at all from how awesome the trail is.
Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuary Research Reserve
Whew! That’s a mouthful! But the trails at the GTM Research Reserve are so beautiful. They are well-marked, well-tended, scenic, and above all, incredibly accessible. Runners can log miles by utilizing all of the interconnected trails. Additionally, each trail comes with its own unique views and characteristics, which keeps things interesting. Bring $3 per car for parking, and please note that while the bathrooms and picnic areas are open, the visitor center is closed due to COVID.
The Riverside portion of Jacksonville is wonderful for running, with a mix of river and urban views. From the Riverside Arts Market underpass, runners can follow the Riverwalk all the way into downtown Jacksonville, or wind through the charming streets of Riverside, for a beautiful urban run.
What are some great running locations in your area?
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