Best Of 2013

Best place to go mountain biking: Alafia River State Park

Best place to go mountain biking

Mountain biking, yes, mountain biking: Consistently ranked as the top place in the state and a surprisingly highly-ranked location in the nation, the Alafia River State Park in Brandon provides riders of all levels an opportunity to perfect their craft or just enjoy the thrill of biking on some of the most radical elevations in Florida. With about 20 miles of off-road access, the former phosphate mining site has been carved into an eclectic mix of steep drops, off-camber ledges, ridged-top passages and banked turns suited for high speed action. The trail sits within a 6,260-acre park that includes hardwood forests, pine flatwoods and rolling hills. Lakes are scattered throughout the park so if you want to make it a day of adventure, you can canoe and fish. Picnic pavilions, a large playground, horseshoe pits and volleyball courts round out the recreational offerings. If you haven't been to this location or nearby Balm Boyette Scrub Reserve, you need to put this on your bucket list. swampclub.org/alafia.php.