It’s time for a cycling vacation, we both know it. It’s cold. Maybe it’s snowing. Those bike rides might be fewer and farther in between, or at least take on a bit of a different look with layers and studded tyres. For most of us, the idea of an afternoon ride exploring new neighborhoods and parks in a pair of shorts and a Tee sounds pretty darn good right about now. Luckily, there are many destinations in America that offer great opportunities for cycling and a vibrant city life, with warm weather and lots of parks, cool restaurants, and the arts. Here are five top destinations for cycling vacations with warm weather and cool vibes:
Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin offers great cycling opportunities with its many parks and bike trails, as well as a vibrant food and arts scene. The city is home to the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, which offers stunning views of the city and the river. Don’t forget to check out some live music on 6th Street, visit the Museum of the Weird, and try some of the city’s famous barbecue. Franklin is considered one of the best in the country. Austin has many remarkable moves when it comes to the city’s cycling network. A winter getaway offers a chance to witness the progress first-hand, and maybe get inspired to advocate for similar changes back at home.
Okay, not really known for its sun, but Portland is a great cycling vacation for those looking for warm weather and a cool city. The city has one of the most complete networks of bike lanes and paths in the country and a thriving bike share program, as well as a vibrant food and arts scene. Don’t leave without hiking in Forest Park — one of the largest urban forests in the United States. And, of course, the Zoobomb moment should be on every bicycle tourist’s list. Explore the trendy neighborhoods of Hawthorne and the Alberta Arts District. stop by Tandem Coffee and Bakery in the Woodlawn neighborhood for some delicious coffee and pastries, and bike parking!
Santa Barbara, Calif.
This coastal city offers great cycling vacation opportunities with its many parks and bike trails, as well as a vibrant food and arts scene. The city is home to the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail, which offers a chance to sample some of the region’s best wines. Check out the Cabrillo Bike Path that runs along the coast from the Santa Barbara Harbor to East Beach and provides stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains or the Mission Canyon Loop. This scenic bike ride takes you through the beautiful Mission Canyon, past the Santa Barbara Mission, and through the lush botanical gardens. The Handlebar Coffee Roasters is known for its delicious coffee and pastries, and great atmosphere.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
This city offers a unique blend of culture, history, and outdoor activities. Santa Fe has a mild winter climate with average temperatures in the 50s and 60s Fahrenheit. The city has a large network of bike lanes and paths and offers great cycling opportunities in the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Try the Sante Fe River Trail, a paved multi-use path that runs through the city along the mostly dried-up but still nice Santa Fe River, passing through several parks. Make sure to explore Canyon Road, a street known for its art galleries and studios, featuring works by local and regional artists as well as the Santa Fe Railyard Park. This park is a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors, and features walking paths, gardens, and a playground. For a bicycle-forward snack and hang, head to Tune-Up Cafe, a cafe and bike shop that offers coffee, sandwiches, and pastries, as well as bike rental and repair services. They also have bike racks outside and a casual atmosphere inside. If the Indian Arts Market is on, don’t miss it.
San Diego, California
Another grown bicycle-friendly city, we know and love San Diego for its incredibly reliable warm weather and sunshine. But this coastal city also offers great cycling opportunities with its many parks and bike trails, as well as a vibrant food and arts scene. Cruise down the Silver Strand, a scenic bike path that runs along the coast from Coronado to Imperial Beach. hits Caffè Calabria a Little Italy known for its espresso and Italian pastries. The café has a bike rack out front, and it’s a great spot to stop for a quick break while exploring the neighborhood. Don’t miss the Mission Beach Boardwalk for a scenic tour and some serious sun worshiping followed by lunch or dinner at bike-friendly restaurant The Mission.
It’s worth noting that depending on the time of year and the weather, warm weather may not be guaranteed in some of these cities. However, they are known for having milder climates and a good number of sunny days. These destinations offer great opportunities for a cycling vacation right now, and let’s face it, you deserve it.
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