Top Winter Motorcycle Riding Destinations

Best rides and locations to ride to during the winter months.

Riding your motorcycle this winter?

If the answer is no, then maybe you should consider a riding vacation.

Short days and chilly temperatures of the winter months can limit the amount of riding time, however, there are rides across the world that will cure the case of the winter blues. Plenty of options span across the United States, Baja, and even locations abroad like Australia, Africa, and South America.

Motorcycle Destinations In Western US/Baja

Pacific Coast Highway along the California coast

Bixby Creek Bridge
Beautiful sights along the California coast include the Bixby Creek Bridge. You won’t be disappointed with this California cruise.Unsplash

California is a popular destination for those looking to catch the rays of the sun during the colder months. The limited-snow climates of the coastal region make it particularly attractive. For a short beach stint, riding down PCH from Sunset Beach south to Dana Point provides beautiful riding on Highway 1, running alongside the beach much of the way. If you prefer to take a tour along the central coast, head north to Monterey and see the jaw-dropping coastline where mountains meet the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Just a skip away from Monterey is Laguna Seca Raceway. Although round 6 of the MotoAmerica races won’t be at the WeatherTech Raceway until July, a look at the track’s calendar page can inform you of upcoming classes or events. Another point of interest on your ride would be the Bixby Creek Bridge, which is about half an hour south from Monterey.

Baja California, Mexico

Take in the versatile terrain of the Baja Peninsula whether on the road or playing in the dirt.

Cross the US/Mexico border to experience all of the beauty Baja California has to offer. Whether you want to plan your own trip to play in the dirt, like Adam Waheed and Cycle World Senior Editor Justin Dawes did in an episode of On Two Wheels, or have it all planned for you through EagleRider's group-ride tours, the routes down to Cabo San Lucas and every spot in between provide a perfect combination of twisty mountain roads and desert rides for an excellent winter ride. Baja is also easy on the budget with inexpensive food and lodging.

Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite
Perhaps one of the most famous natural landmarks in the US, Half Dome stands tall and proud in Yosemite.Andrew Cherney

Yosemite is not short on visitors year after year (4 million according to the webpage). With massive natural monuments like Half Dome and El Capitan, as well as gargantuan giant sequoia trees, this national park is one for the bucket list. The winter months could bring snowstorms so you need to plan your trip accordingly. Regardless, you will be in awe at the wonderful Land of Giants.

Zion National Park, Utah

Canyon Overlook Trail
If weather permits, get off your bike and take a stroll on one of the many scenic trails. Canyon Overlook Trail will provide a great view of not only the winding road below, but the spectacular rock faces all around.Motorcycle Cruiser

Zion National Park has a special place in my heart. My brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, and I have made Zion our annual family reunion destination many times over the years because we love the breathtaking scenery and ability to get out and hike the multitude of trails. I will never get tired of the route through the park either. The twisty road through the park rewards travelers with fantastic views of the rock faces high overhead or the river running below. If you have time and the trail is open, get off your bike and go for a short hike to the Canyon Overlook. You won’t be disappointed!

Motorcycle Destinations In Eastern US

Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville
Nashville, the capital of country music, offers plenty of entertainment for country fans including the Grand Ole Opry or the Johnny Cash Museum. Not only that, there are plentiful riding roads surrounding the city for motorcyclists.Unsplash

If you are a fan of country music, you are sure to get your fill in Music City as you traverse downtown to the various eateries/bars, some of which feature live entertainment seven nights a week. Need to avoid any rain or snowfall on your ride? Step into the Johnny Cash Museum, the Frist Art Museum, or the Parthenon for some music history or art. Not only can you find your share of shows, art exhibits, and museums in Nashville, you can also meander out of the bustle of downtown for a ride on some gorgeous surrounding roads. The Great Smoky Mountains are a bit of a trek from town, but are famous for their motorcycle riding roads such as the Tail of the Dragon and Deals Gap.

Highway 28 and Deals Gap, North Carolina/Tennessee

Highway 28
Highway 28 showcases great winding roads. Get technical by riding the 318 curves that The Dragon has in store.Motorcycle Cruiser

Highway 28 attracts motorcyclists with its switchbacks and S-turns that snake through the pine forests of North Carolina where you can catch views of the Appalachian Mountains near Fontana and Cheoah lakes. Highway 28 runs across three states, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and ends near Tennessee where the famous Tail of the Dragon and Deals Gap reside. The reason for the Tail of the Dragon’s and Deals Gap’s popularity among motorists? Three hundred eighteen curves in 11 miles.

Motorcycle Rides In Southern US

Hill Country, Texas

Texas Hill Country
Take to the hills of Texas Hill Country for an enjoyable ride.Cycle World Archives

Near San Antonio/Austin dwell the twisties of Texas Hill Country. In the past, we claimed this region’s roads as a “Must Ride” with its turns through the hills—yes, hills—of Texas. Ranch Roads 335, 336, and 337 (known as the “Twisted Sisters”) are ones to take particular note of. While you are in the area stop by the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum in Vanderpool, or Frio Canyon Motorcycle Stop in Leakey. Lost Maples State Natural Area and Garner State Park are also points of interest in the area. San Antonio, home of the famous Alamo, is a prime destination for American history buffs and is only a little over 100 miles east from Leakey.

Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona 200
Both the high-speed action of the Daytona 200 or the dirt-track thrills of the Daytona TT cannot be missed while in Daytona Beach.Brian J. Nelson/American Flat Track

Florida is an excellent choice for those who want to travel to the southeast and take in the beautiful Atlantic Ocean coastline. Daytona Beach is one highlight for motorcyclists during winter because just at the tail end of the season (which ends March 19), the Daytona 200 and Daytona TT take over the Daytona International Speedway Saturday, March 14, 2020. This year the 200 and TT serve as double-header racing entertainment on Saturday at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. respectively. Make it a vacation and stay the week by attending the 79th Daytona Bike Week March 6–15.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Mardi Gras
Anyone looking to party? New Orleans during the February Mardi Gras season is bound to provide for some entertainment.Motorcycle Cruiser

Mardi Gras, anyone? In February the streets come alive with Mardi Gras festivities. If you are looking for a big town party, New Orleans is the place to go. Even if you want to beat the crowds and visit the city a few weeks before or after the craziness begins, you can still experience the culture, history, and food this Southern city offers. Another destination 53 miles away from the Crescent City is the Oak Alley Plantation as well as other plantations that offer tours detailing the rich history of the South.

Wolf Pen Gap, Georgia

Wolf Pen Gap
As you can see, some of the finest twisty roads will welcome you at Wolf Pen Gap. Motorcycle Cruiser

Wolf Pen Gap Road (or GA Route 180) is a curvy 12-mile-long two-lane road in the Chattahoochee National Forest of northern Georgia. If you want to take a nice, winding 40-mile route around the area, start your ride in Suches, Georgia, take Wolf Pen Gap Road to US 19, and back north up the 60 to Suches. If you need a place to rest your head, the motorcycle-friendly camping/cabins of Two Wheels of Suches on GA 60 is the place to go. Nearby you can visit the tallest mountain in Georgia, Brasstown Bald.

Go Abroad

While the northern hemisphere is experiencing winter, the southern hemisphere is faced with the sun and summer season, making the below-the-equator locations great for more fair-weather riding. Locations like South America, Africa, and Australia are ripe for the picking. Take a plane flight and rent a bike or plan a tour of any of these locations.

Great Ocean Road, Australia

Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean RoadMotorcyclist Magazine

As you may have seen on Motorcyclist’s website, past On Two Wheels hosts rode the ocean-abutted Phillip Island racetrack aboard the 2017 GSX-R1000 and then a coastal ride aboard a 1985 GSX-R750 on Australia’s Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road is equivalent to California’s Pacific Coast Highway in terms of beautiful scenery. Take in 151 miles of coastline riding and admire beaches, villages, eucalyptus forests, and cliffs. The twisty road is truly one of the world’s best, according to past OTW host Ari Henning. Rent a bike or take a tour, EagleRider has a four-day Great Ocean Road tour available.

Africa

Africa
Africa would be the ADV rider’s choice.Cycle World Archives

“Africa has to be the ultimate adventure-bike destination.” The first sentence from Mark Lindemann’s “Cross Africa On Your Motorcycle” article sums up the motorcyclist’s appeal to riding in Africa, and here is why. North Africa, for example, has the vast Sahara Desert and the expanse of land rich with Dakar Rally history—although this region is arguably for the survivalist/experienced rider due to its deadly wildlife and political instability. Lindemann recommends South Africa since it is in close proximity to major towns, which makes it more beginner friendly. The two routes that are recommended include the “traditional trans-African routes that run from the Mediterranean south to Cape Town, generally along the west coast. The second route runs from Cairo through Sudan and Ethiopia, into Kenya, and south from there.”

South America

Dakar Rally
South America hosted the Dakar Rally from 2009–2019. Perhaps you will want to experience similar exciting racing of your own.Dakar.com/Husqvarna

Like Africa, South America was home to the Dakar Rally, making it an attractive choice for the adventurist. Of course key destinations include Patagonia in Chile and Argentina, the Amazon rainforest, and/or the breathtaking cities like Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Compass Expeditions has trips available that tour throughout some of the most epic areas of the continent.

Whatever destination(s) end up on your road trip itinerary this winter, make sure you prepare yourself with suitable gear and pack appropriately. Safe travels!