Improving your fitness doesn’t have to mean paying memberships for gyms or recreation centers. Simply head outside and get moving – for free! Plenty of outdoor workouts help keep you in shape, and many consider biking to be their favorite.
Low impact, eco-friendly and lots of fun, biking is a great activity for all ages. Bikers can gaze at beautiful views as they glide over pavement (or dirt, if off-road is more your speed) and get in some great cardio.
If you’re up for the challenge, find bike trails in your state, below. And, as always, remember to stay safe!
Note: Due to the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, please see official websites before visiting to check for restrictions or closures.
AAA members can rest assured knowing AAA Northeast offers 24-hour roadside assistance for your bike, too! The free service is available to all members.
The Erie Canalway Trail, N.Y.
Trail Activities: Biking, mountain biking, inline skating, walking, horseback riding, fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing. Wheelchair-accessible.
Lined with towering ivy-covered trees, this bike trail runs from Albany to Buffalo, traversing winding backroads that lead to charming rural villages. Cyclists can stop and marvel at the brilliantly engineered locks and canals, and visit museums, historical sites or the lively streets in town. And while you probably won’t bike the 500 miles of trail stretching across upstate New York all at once, you can still find a section to bike in your neck of the woods. Those looking to take a break from pedaling, can ditch the wheels for a boat and hit the water.
Cotton Valley Rail Trail, N.H.
Trail Activities: Biking, walking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing
Explore the beauty of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Located in Wolfeboro, this trail heads into Cotton Valley and wanders past Lake Winnipesaukee, Crescent Lake and Lake Wentworth. While the Cotton Valley Rail Trail is 12-miles round trip, bikers can opt for a shorter stint (3.8 miles) that highlights a narrow causeway over Lake Wentworth. During warmer weather, don’t forget to take a dip at Allan H. Albee Beach. A restored turntable from the Boston & Maine Railroad, located farther east on the trail, is another cool stopping point. And all along the way, stunning lakeside views and uninterrupted wilderness make this a rewarding path to travel.
Cape Cod Rail Trail, Mass.
Trail Activities: Biking, walking, inline skating, horseback riding. Wheelchair-accessible.
With marshes, cranberry bogs, pine-filled woods and beautiful coastal towns, the Cape Cod Rail Trail is the perfect place to get away from the bustle of Boston. Visitors can enjoy the ocean and bay side views, explore some of the area’s famous beaches or wander off on foot into some of the nearby walking paths. At the Salt Pond Visitors Center, follow the bike trail to Coast Guard Beach, where for a small fee ($3) you can park your ride and go for a swim in the Atlantic. No matter how you look at it, this entire trail is a little slice of peace and serenity. But if you’re looking for a more isolated experience, the remote Lower Cape often offers a quieter journey. Running 22-miles (one way) from Orleans to Wellfleet, this is one coastal journey with lots to explore.
Trail Activities: Biking, mountain biking, walking, ATV riding, fishing, horseback riding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing.
Located in a rich historical area, this bike trail is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast with a soft spot for history. Visitors can stop and explore the Fort Kent Historical Society and The Fort Kent Blockhouse, the site of a nonviolent border dispute between Maine and New Brunswick in the Aroostook War (1838). The 16-mile crushed-stone path runs along the former Fish River Railroad corridor, parallel to the Canadian border near New Brunswick, where views of forests, farmlands and wetlands add to the beautiful scenery. Be sure to look out for pedestrians, horseback riders and ATV riders along the journey.
East Bay Bicycle Path, R.I.
Trail Activities: Biking, walking, inline skating, fishing, cross-country skiing. Wheelchair-accessible.
Ditch the bustling and crowded Providence streets and head for the Narragansett Bay coastline. Heading southeast from Providence toward Bristol, this 14.5-mile path (which was originally part of the Providence-Worcester line) travels along the scenic shores of the bay. Less than 2 miles in, visitors can see fishing trawlers and sails begin to appear on the right and on the left, small inlets and wetlands. Sometimes, during warmer weather, locals can even be seen clamming in shallow waters along the trail. The path ends in Independence Park in Bristol, where bikers can reward themselves at one of the handful of seafood restaurants with a fresh catch.
Learn about different types of bikes and how to choose the one that’s right for you.
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.