300 plus days of sunshine, comfortable temperatures all year long, and thousands of miles of the most scenic open road in The United States—it’s no wonder why motorcyclists love California so much. But with so many great places to choose from it can be hard to pick just one, especially if you’ve not been there before. Below are some of the best California travel destinations for motorcyclists as decided by riders themselves.
Just remember to ride safely and if you do find yourself in need of a motorcycle accident attorney in San Francisco, I’m here to help.
Located along the Pacific Coastline (1/6 of which is state parkland), Big Sur offers a variety of terrain and scenery to choose from. Close to the coast you get the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Climb a little higher and you’re rolling over hills and past rugged cliff faces.
Scattered throughout Big Sur you’ll find hiking trails, scenic vistas, waterfalls, lighthouses, whales, seals, and the California condor. And that’s just a few of the reasons why this California travel destination brings in over three million people per year. Motorcyclists will enjoy a challenging but rewarding ride along long straights, sweeping corners, and tight curves (with a few hills thrown in for fun).
A few cautions though: some of The Pacific Coast Highway has a tendency to wash out in heavy rains so beware of rough patches and work crews—they can both sneak up on you fast. Also, fog is very common throughout Big Sur—even in the middle of the day. So be prepared to slow down for safety.
While Monterey is a fun place to visit anytime, the summer months see the action kick up a notch with professional motorsports of all stripes (including bike races) at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. This California travel destination is great for motorcyclists because there’s a biker-friendly campground nearby. In fact, if you book your site far enough in advance you can bed down as little as 1,000 feet away from the action. This makes getting to and from the races a whole lot easier (and quicker). Pick a race week and make a vacation of it, rolling around the California coast before the show begins, watching the racing action as it goes down, and unwinding in you campsite with a cool beverage and some good company at night.
Trabuca Canyon, California—it’s in the middle of the boondocks but there’s a historic biker bar here that draws thousands of hogs every year. Cooks Corner is located at the intersection of Santiago Canyon and Live Oak Canyon Roads. The roadside establishment dates back to 1926 when one entrepreneurial young man turned the family cabin into a restaurant for miners. Later, after prohibition was lifted, the joint turned into a proper bar with good grub to boot (including $1.50 tacos every Tuesday afternoon). Cooks Corner has been going strong ever since. It’s a little bit of hog history that every California biker owes it to themselves to see. From there you can cut up through Silverado, down to Dana Point or head back toward the big city and hit anywhere in Orange or Anaheim within 40 minutes.
Sequoia National Forest
Sure, people come to California for the redwoods but Sequoia National Forest is just as beautiful (and a little less crowded). Here’s you’ll find over 2,500 miles of road that wind through over a million acres of woodland featuring some of the largest sequoia trees in the world. Riding various routes through the park you can climb from 1,000 feet above sea level to 12,000 in a matter of minutes. Use any of the 14 national campgrounds as your base of operations and explore the thousands of scenic vistas, hidden natural wonders, and majestic forest until your heart is content.
Lake Tahoe has earned a bit of a reputation and is no doubt one of the most memorable California travel destinations for motorcyclists in the state. But the south shore can get a bit crowded during busy times of the year. Instead, head west and hit up Tahoma. The town is home to multiple “biker-friendly” campgrounds and within minutes of all the action. You can rent water sports equipment at Meeks Bay Beach or make the short trip down to Lake Tahoe proper.
Though not technically a destination, Highway 36 has long called to motorcyclists. In fact, it was voted Best Motorcycle Road in the State of California by Friction Zone Magazine. What makes this fairly deserted stretch of highway so popular? It’s a gorgeous yet challenging ride for bikers. The route climbs up from The Pacific through redwood forests and over several low mountain ranges. The road twists and turns and hairpins back on itself several times making it a great exercise in bike control. Depending on how far you follow it, Highway 36 will take you through Fortuna and Red Bluff, old mining towns where’s there’s nothing much to do or see but the awe-inspiring beauty of California’s mountain country.
Share the Roads Safely
Whether your idea of fun is playing in the sun and surf, climbing through the rugged grandeur of the mountains, or racing across the flat planes of the desert, California offers something for everyone. But we all know how dangerous riding a motorcycle can be when there are cars around. As a San Francisco motorcycle accident attorney I see the devastation that a split second of indecision or a moment of divided attention can cause. So enjoy the natural beauty California has to offer but ride defensively and always wear a helmet.