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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would love some help figuring out where to move, I am from Miami and live in Orlando now but want to be in a more rural location that has biking and but also can provide a good home for my family. I loved the South Florida bike parks and Orlando has nothing good less then an 45 minutes away, I have been looking at Ocala and northern Georgia but I haven't found anything relatively affordable that fits our needs yet. Priorities are biking, good schools, acreage, and access to city amenities not to far away. We have roughly 30-45k to put down on a property and move which limits us to housing under 250K which is a significant limiting factor. Any suggestions for us to look into would be a huge help.
 

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I'm assuming you're wanting to stay relatively close to Florida for some reason (family?), since you seem to be focusing on areas near there. If not, I'd highly recommend Northwest Arkansas. Plenty of acreage available within driving distance of the cities. Excellent school options (Public, public charter, and private), and... of course.. the biking speaks for itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for the suggestion hogfly and you are correct about why i am looking in the south. I have only ever lived in Florida and want to stay relatively close to the family. I have seen some amazing mountain bike videos from Arkansas and i actually did some very basic research on the state but i wasn't even sure which regions to look at. I will definitely look into the northwest region now, is that where you're located?
 

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Yes. I'm in Fayetteville, but the region is collectively called "Northwest Arkansas" and includes Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale and Bentonville as the "larger" (relatively speaking) cities. More rurally you have: Bella Vista, Centerton, Gravette, Huntsville, West Fork, Farmington, Prairie Grove, and a whole host of small, rural towns that sprawl out across the area.


We have family who snowbird in Palm Beach and we vacationed on 30A for years. The drive definitely isn't close, especially if you're trying to get to more Central and South Florida. We've driven from here to Palm Beach once, so we could take bikes and had a great time riding down there at Dickerson, DelRay and some other trails. Didn't get to Santos, though, unfortunately.

I think Huntsville, Alabama has a pretty good MTB scene and would be closer to Florida.
 

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Auburn, AL is worth a look. Similar trail features at Chewacla to the trails in FL, easy access to more trails in Birmingham (Oak Mtn), Anniston (Coldwater), and the trails you know in FL. Lots of rural acreage available and a good school system. Most people I know that live there love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you everyone for your suggestions, they all seem like really great locations with more access to trails then Ocala would have. I have already been doing research on them and planning a trip to go see AR and AL in person.
 

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This Space For Rent
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We live in Oxford, Alabama and love it. The cost of living is relatively cheap and schools are good. It's a pretty small city, but there's enough restaurants and shopping to keep you satisfied day-to-day, but if you really want more city-life stuff to do, it's only 45-minutes West to Birmingham, an hour and a half East to Atlanta, or two hours North to Chattanooga. If you hear the beach calling, the Gulf is only a 5-hour dive South.

There are many places around this area that are rural enough to find property with a lot of land, without being far from the city amenities.

As far as Mountain Biking trails, I'm less than 15-minutes from the Coldwater Mountain trail system, which is currently over 40-miles of very nice trails.
(COLDWATER MOUNTAIN). There are also many other trails within an hour's drive, including Oak Mountain (just south of B'ham).
 

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Second Recommendation for Auburn, AL. We have two small boys (1 and 4) and the biking scene here is awesome as is family life. Check out this video to get stoked on AL. I'm the one in the teal/yellow helmet in the Chewacla segment. If you make a trip this way, drop me a line and I can show you around or can answer any other questions you may have.

Also, for property, look in Neigboring Opelika. Still good schools, but less expensive than Auburn proper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Looks like Alabama is jumping to the top of the list now. How are the winters Chattanooga and Alabama? I have to admit i am a little worried about the weather since I haven't ever lived where it gets cold. Is riding year round pleasant? Loved the video from coldwater mountain, that was awesome JSU and really appreciate the invite Tim. I am going to see about coming up around the 4th of July as long as i can get the time off.
 

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North GA is great, though the majority of the trails don't seem to harbor progression quite as well as other places. I live in Gainesville, and I can ride after work, my kids go to a good school, and housing is cheap. BUT....Chattanooga sure seems nice when I visit. If I wasn't into ww kayaking I'd probably already be living in Bentonville. AL is good too. It's really hard to go wrong, just get out of FL. Oh....check out Brevard too.
 

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Come to Ocala. You can ride all that Santos has to offer regularly. COL is pretty decent and tons of stuff to do with families.
 

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North GA is great, though the majority of the trails don't seem to harbor progression quite as well as other places. I live in Gainesville, and I can ride after work, my kids go to a good school, and housing is cheap. BUT....Chattanooga sure seems nice when I visit. If I wasn't into ww kayaking I'd probably already be living in Bentonville. AL is good too. It's really hard to go wrong, just get out of FL. Oh....check out Brevard too.
Ever been to Blankets Creek?
 

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Roll Tide
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Looks like Alabama is jumping to the top of the list now. How are the winters Chattanooga and Alabama? I have to admit i am a little worried about the weather since I haven't ever lived where it gets cold. Is riding year round pleasant? Loved the video from coldwater mountain, that was awesome JSU and really appreciate the invite Tim. I am going to see about coming up around the 4th of July as long as i can get the time off.
It'll be a bit colder in the winter than Auburn .
 

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'Lived in the N. Grove for 15 years, now 10 years in Jupiter....have been riding San Felasco a lot, so am considering Gainesville move next. If you want year-around, FL is tough to beat.
As much as I love riding GA-trails, the winter is too cold (for me), and spring weather often too wet, then summer it's as hot or hotter than FL. The good thing about Gainesville, besides the local riding, is the closer-proximity to other good trails, and 3 hours closer to GA for quick trips, when weather is suitable.
 

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If I wasn't into ww kayaking I'd probably already be living in Bentonville.
Have you ever checked out the Northwest Arkansas paddling scene? It's not going to be as regular as the Ocoee or Nantahala, but we have a pretty serious WW kayaking scene up here.

For paddling MTBers, it's a mixed blessing. The paddling is extremely rainstorm dependent, so it's not going to be constant and regular. But, you can't ride the trails after huge storms... but you can go paddling. So MTBing and paddling are great combo hobbies in our area.
 
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