Riding on a motorcycle just isn’t the same as riding in the back of a car. These scenic coastal motorcycle routes give you a front-row seat to the majestic beauty of the natural world. You’ll get to see astonishing sights that most commuters would otherwise miss. Scenic routes continue to be a major draw for avid motorists where the journey matters more than the destination. Add these road trips to your summer to-do list to make the most of your time on the road.
Pacific Coast Highway 1
Nothing beats the signature beauty of California’s Pacific Coast Highway. This is about as close to the ocean as you can get without running off the road. The 1, as many locals call it, runs all the way from Southern California to the Northern part of the state, giving you a chance to see nearly everything the state has to offer.
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The road is extremely motorcycle-friendly, as many motorists depend on it for more than just tourism. However, be prepared for a series of tight turns as the road weaves around the mountainous coast. The road is also notoriously expensive to maintain and repair, so don’t be surprised if some sections are starting to cave into the shore. While most of the road is open, refresh the latest closure information before heading out.
You can finish the entire trip in about five hours, depending on traffic. Experts recommend filling up on gas before you start your trip, as some sections do not have stations. There also aren’t a lot of places to go to the bathroom, so don’t pass up the opportunity. You’ll have to rely on turnouts when pulling over to the side of the road.
Coastal Route 1
No shade to California, but the east coast has its fair share of coastal routes as well. The most famous of which would be Coastal Route 1, which runs from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Fort Kent, Maine, giving you a chance to see the best of New England. You’ll get plenty of ocean time as the road dips and curves along the low-lying coast.
Maine has become a bit of a tourist hub over the last few years, and this route remains a major selling point. Unlike the rural northern region, the coastal part of the state is alive with possibilities. Art galleries, hotels, restaurants, and other attractions balance the state’s enduring sense of history. Be sure to check out the Portland Head Lighthouse on Cape Elizabeth, Oyster Trail of Maine, and the Annual Blueberry Festival for more excitement.
No need to stray from the beach when you need a break from the road. At Sandy Pines Campground, you can pitch a tent right in the sand just a short drive from the highway.
Scenic Highway M-25
If you don’t have access to the ocean, you can always head north to see Michigan’s legendary “Ride Round the Thumb,” a stretch of road that runs along Lake Huron and the thumb-shaped part of the shape. M-25 takes you through a number of scenic lake towns, including Point Huron, Sebewaing, Bay City, and Port Austin. Every area gives you something new to explore with its small-town beach vibe.
The terrain isn’t nearly as dangerous or hilly as some of the other routes on this list. We are talking about the Midwest here after all. The roads also tend to be in better condition. They don’t get as much traffic as the Pacific Coast Highway. The lack of saltwater also reduces wear and tear on your bike, making this one of the great coastal motorcycle routes.
The entire trip only takes about three hours. If you like something you see, you can always pull over and spend the night in one of the area’s quaint inns.
The Coastal North Carolina 12
This notorious stretch of the road puts you right on top of the ocean for an unbelievable 114 miles. It runs just a short distance from the coast of North Carolina as it strings together the Outer Banks and other island formations off the coast of the U.S.
There are plenty of places to stop and stretch your legs along the way, including campgrounds. Relax on one of the area’s many beaches, catch a glimpse of wild horses, and enjoy all the seafood you can eat. Hatteras and Ocracoke are known for their leisure and shopping.
However, starting your journey can be a bit of a pain. You can get on and off the road by connecting in the middle. Otherwise, you’ll have to catch a ride on a ferry. Riders also complain of strong winds, which might be a challenge when riding on a motorcycle. Take it slow and avoid traveling at high speeds on windy days.
What to Pack for Your Coastal Motorcycle Route
As magical as taking a long road trip on your motorcycle can be, you don’t have a lot of room for storage, so you’ll need to be strategic in terms of what you bring. Nothing could be more important than your health and safety when traveling long distances on a motorcycle.
You should always wear the proper riding gear when traveling on the highway, including a full-face helmet, gloves, and jacket. Bring along a first aid kit for treating minor wounds and motion sickness.
These routes tend to be fairly straightforward, but there’s always a chance you could get lost. Bring along paper maps, GPS, and a Bluetooth communication system for calling for help. Use a Bluetooth motorcycle helmet that won’t distract you from the road when listening for directions. Today’s Bluetooth motorcycle helmet speakers feature crystal-clear audio without impairing your ability to drive. It’s all about helping you stay in control when you’re on your bike.
The world is your oyster when you own a motorcycle. No pun intended. Discover what’s waiting around the bend with these unforgettable coastal motorcycle routes. Be sure to check out Wander for more great road trips.