Scenic byways typically offer the perfect riding conditions for motorcyclists: panoramic views, enjoyable lookouts and attractions, and minimal traffic. If you’re looking for a scenic byway to ride in northern Florida, the Big Bend Scenic Byway is a great choice.
This byway runs along Florida’s coastline on the eastern portion of the Panhandle. It’s one of Florida’s six federally designated scenic byways for a reason: it provides spectacular ocean views and an enjoyable riding experience all around. You can also turn it into a loop starting in Tallahassee.
Read on for everything you need to know about riding the Florida Big Bend Scenic Byway.
Big Bend Scenic Byway
The Big Bend Scenic Byway is a federally designated route in northern Florida. This route runs along the Panhandle and spans approximately 220 miles in total. It’s separated into two unique sections:
- Forest Trail: A portion of the byway that runs through Apalachicola National Forest, providing scenic forest views and remote riding conditions
- Coastal Trail: A portion of the byway that follows Florida’s panhandle coast, providing excellent views of the sparkling Gulf of Mexico
Many riders split the Big Bend Scenic Byway into these two sections, taking one each day. But you can ride the entire 220 miles of the byway in a single day.
Alternatively, you can choose a shorter section of the byway to ride during your Florida vacation or as part of a longer road trip. Most motorcyclists say that the best portion of this route spans along U.S. 98 between Apalachicola and Bald Point State Park.
This portion hugs the coastline closely for 40 miles, offering the perfect views for a short motorcycle trip. You’ll also see remote forestry and beautiful wildflowers if they’re in bloom during your trip.
Making Florida Big Bend Scenic Byway into a Loop
Depending on your schedule and your purpose for the trip, it may make more sense to turn the Big Bend Scenic Byway into a loop rather than travel it there and back. Dairyland Insurance describes an alteration to the byway that turns it into a loop through part of the Forest Trail and a section of the Coastal Trail.
Follow these steps to take an easy loop from Tallahassee through part of the byway and back:
- Begin in Tallahassee.
- Head west on State Road 20.
- Head south on State Road 375 toward Sopchoppy.
- Hop on U.S. Route 319 until it connects with Route 98.
- Head east on U.S. Route 98 — the Coastal Trail Byway section of Big Bend Scenic Byway.
- Once you reach Newport, head north on State Road 467.
- Turn right on County Road 2203.
- Head north on State Road 263.
- State Road 263 connects to State Road 20, taking you back toward Tallahassee.
Things to Do and See Along Florida Big Bend Scenic Byway
While riding the byway from beginning to end can make for an enjoyable day, you may also want to stop at a few attractions along the way. We recommend stopping at one or all of the following attractions as you ride the Florida Big Bend Scenic Byway:
- St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
- Ed Ball Wakulla Springs State Park
- Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail
- Harvey’s Historic Truck Display
- Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory
- Bald Point State Park
- Ochlockonee River State Park
- High Bluff Coastal Trail
- St. George Island State Park
Whether you choose to travel the entire Florida Big Bend Scenic Byway or ride along a few miles as part of a larger journey, you won’t regret making time for this beautiful route. And while an accident may not be on your Florida road trip agenda, motorcycle crashes are often outside your control. If you ever become a motorcycle accident victim, contact Law Tigers, attorneys who ride, at 1-888-863-7216 for assistance.