Planning a motorcycle road trip? Feeling the full freedom of the open road is only possible from the seat of a motorcycle. There are hundreds of treks across the U.S. that give motorcyclist a unique look at the country, but few can compare to the Pacific Coast Highway.
This long stretch of road running down the coast of California can be enjoyed any time of year. The mild climate and amazing views make it a must-see for all cyclists. With over 550 miles to explore on California State Route 1, this quick guide provides advice on how to prepare and sights worth seeing as you cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway.
Essentials for the Ultimate Motorcycle Road Trip
Part of the fun that comes with a motorcycle road trip is traveling light. While you may not need much for a weekend or weeklong cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway, there are a few essentials that will make travel quicker, safer and more enjoyable.
Motorcycle Insurance – One of the few must have on any road trip is a motorcycle insurance policy. Check with your provider to make sure you’re fully covered in California with comprehensive and collision insurance.
Toolkit – Every time you leave home a basic tool kit should be stored somewhere on your bike.
First Aid Kit – Right along side the toolkit add a basic first aid kit as well.
Safety Gear – Helmets, jackets, gloves, pants, riding boots and a reflective vest should all be on the packing list. If you don’t have a full face helmet, shatter-proof sunglasses are also essential in sunny California.
Smart Phone and Charger – It’s tempting to completely disconnect during a motorcycle road trip, but a smart phone is an essential piece of equipment. You can use it as a GPS, take pictures and utilize apps to track your trip or follow an itinerary. This one device can replace all your maps and guide books so you can travel a little lighter. A mobile phone is also an important piece of safety equipment that can prove vital if you break down or have an accident.
Sights Worth Seeing Along the Pacific Coast Highway
The advantage of taking a motorcycle road trip is you get to see parts of the country like never before. The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most popular road trips in America because of its breathtaking views and interesting stops along the way.
San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge
Few structures are as famous as the Golden Gate Bridge. If you want to test your riding chops, take a cruise across the bridge and through the hilly Haight-Ashbury neighborhood where you can see the “Painted Ladies.”
Big Sur at Bixby Bridge
It’s one of the most photographed scenes in the world for good reason – the views from Bixby Bridge are simply stunning. The bridge is located between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Big Sur. Make a pit stop just before the bridge to capture an iconic image of your own.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
After taking in miles of coastline along the edge of the vast Pacific Ocean, you can learn more about the creatures below the surface at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey is a popular resting spot because it embodies Northern California living better than any other city. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is considered to be one of the best aquariums in the world and gives travelers a better appreciation of California’s natural surroundings.
Old World Architecture in Santa Barbara
You can experience a foreign flare in Santa Barbara. The city is an interesting mix of Mediterranean and European, which has earned it the nickname “the American Riviera.” If you’re an architecture enthusiast, you’ll enjoy exploring all of the Spanish colonial-style buildings. While you’re there, visit the El Cuartel, which is the second oldest building in the state.
See the Sea Lions at San Piedras Beach
Few people from out of state realize that sea lions are the unofficial mascot of California. You can catch them sunbathing on rocky beaches along the coast, most notably San Piedras Beach in San Simeon. Hundreds of elephant sea lions gather here to relax when they aren’t migrating.
Stretch Your Legs at Hearst Castle
While you’re in San Simeon, you can also see the Hearst Castle. It’s one of the biggest man-made tourist attractions in California. Tycoon William Randolph Hearst began building his castle in 1919. It took 30 years to complete this 161-room estate, and it will easily take half a day to tour it all.
See a One of a Kind Waterfall in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
McWay Falls is a gorgeous site to behold, but what makes it truly unique is the waterfall cascades down onto the beach. The 80-foot waterfall is located in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park roughly 37 miles south of Carmel, CA.