I sometimes find it difficult to coax my family into a morning or afternoon hike, but they will join me on a bike ride. Biking is an excellent family event, and the Southeast abounds with miles upon miles of fabulous trails. Some are more scenic than others. Some are relatively straight and flat like the railroad bed converted trails. Some are easy; some are moderate. In this post, I am sharing a guidebook, Rail-Trails Southeast, which will help you plan your next family outing.
Although my blog centers around discipleship, let’s not forget that most important group of disciples–our families. Jesus spent time with his disciples. We know that they hiked a lot. They traveled. They slept outside. And who knows what else they did together besides performing miracles, teaching others, and having group discussions.
My point: We have to find ways to spend time with our family. Spiritual and life lessons can’t be scheduled and planned like workplace strategy sessions. In my opinion, I’m much more successful when I can model behaviors or inject spiritual discussions in the midst of a family activity. More is caught than taught. My kids have been very receptive to this approach.
Okay, back to the biking topic. Who doesn’t enjoy riding a bike? The guidebook will reveal several trip options you probably hadn’t considered. Rail-Trails Southeast covers about 55 bike trails, a collective 630 miles of paths. It includes Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee. The book provides quality maps and trail descriptions, along with several biking tips. It also lists important contact and website information.
Some trails are not paved, so you may have to make sure your bike tires (and your bikes) are a match for the trail surface. You’ll find that many of these trails are popular with hikers.
For those who live in Georgia, I am listing some favorite bike trails that have traditionally been a family hit:
- Silver Comet – a rail-trail which begins in Smyrna, Georgia and eventually connects with Alabama’s Chief Ladiga trail. From Smyrna to Anniston, Alabama, the estimated length is over 100 miles. We love the scenic and remoter sections of this trail. Check out my previous post on the Comet.
- Peachtree City bike trails– a 90 mile network of trails. I like how the city has laid out many of the trails through green spaces. It feels more like a park rather than an urban setting. Only downside–the numerous amount of golf carts. Many driven by teenagers–scary.
- Callaway Gardens Discovery trail– visiting the Gardens is an all-day family event in itself. You can bike the beautiful trails and explore the park at the same time. Must sees: The Butterfly Center, Sibley Horticultural Center and the Birds of Prey show.
- Columbus Riverwalk – a well designed trail which runs along the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, Georgia. The trail extends from Lake Oliver on the North side to Fort Benning on the South. Along the trail, you’ll visit some key historic sites and points of interest.
- Arabia Mountain Trails – this is not a rail-trail path, so it does have a few challenging sections along its twenty mile stretch. But what a beautiful place to bike and explore.
What if you don’t live in the Southeast? The Rails-To-Trails Conservancy has produced an additional series of books for other parts of the United States. You can find more information on their website.
How about you? Do you have some favorite bike paths or hiking trails you’d like to share?