Sure we all know that Utah has Moab and the Arches, Colorado has Sante Fe Trail, Independence Pass and Mount Evans; California has a little for everyone with with Coastal Highway 1, Mountain Loop Pass or breathtaking Dante’s View.
K. Fine. We get it, the West Coast has epic rides, but not exclusively. Read on for 5 motorcycle rides that east coast riders should not miss.
Top 5 East Coast Rides
#5 - New Hampshire - Kancamagus Highway - < 100 Miles
A taste of the New England essentials.
The vistas - I’ve lived all around the northeast since birth, and know distain “Leaf Peepers” bring to local life everywhere. But outside of my own beloved Adirondacks, there is no better site than the White Mountains in fall.
The work - This highway weaves and winds, climbs and dips for almost 100 miles through the mountain pass. It’s an active ride that is a lot of fun.
The nature - Along and just around this beloved highway are a ton of great day hikes and some roadside attractions like a 200 foot waterfall that’s maybe 5 minute walk from the road.
#4 - Florida - Naples to Key West - Everglade National Park - 200+Miles
Despite the mention of “everglades” and “park” this is not a technical route. It’s mostly highway and by-way, but an incredible view all along with plenty of tourist destinations.
The scenery - oceans forever, once-in-a-lifetime wild life, and beautiful tropic vistas both on land and across amazing bridges.
The weather - I’d keep a rain suit handy and know your evacuation routes, but more days than not you’re likely to have a blazing sun with perfect ocean breeze to keep you comfortable on a long haul.
The gators - Route 41 is a cornucopia of gators and local life amped up to 11 for the sake of tourists. Plenty of spots to hop of your motorcycle and snap a photo, real close…just don’t be a fool
I showed this list to some folks i ride with and one was very upset I put the everglades at #4, but I was on a rented bike, so maybe that’s why I was not head-over-heals? Great ride, top 5 for sure.
#3 - Pennsylvania - RT 6 - Grand Army of the Republic Highway
East “coast” is being stretched a bit here, but it starts pretty close to the coast at least. And this drive is so good in terms of scenery and fun we had to include it.
Fun - This is a fun ride, it’s a riders route and and motorcycling state. You’ll find plenty of companions and attractions.
The Scenery - wind your way through hardwood forests, past small lakes, and mountains crushed by glaciers.
The history - unique to number 3, this road has a TON of historic sites. ghost towns and coal ,mines, and things to do along the way. So much history, including the name!
Seasons: Summer, Fall (Spring can be messy still)
Time: Several Days. Expect to spend 4+ days on this route.
#2 - North Carolina - Blue Ridge Parkway - 100+ Miles
Of course we’d including the Blue Ridge Mountains and this epic 2-lane country ride. A hard contender nearly claiming the top position.
- Smoky - Mountains and food. The view here is incredible, and those from the north will immediately appreciate a unique charm to this southern mountain range. Beyond that this ride scrapes a territory where smoked meats is not a hobby, but a rite.
- The (lack of) Traffic. Well, no, I mean there is plenty of traffic. But no trucks. 45 mph most of the way. Pick your season carefully because it can be beautiful to ride, but frustrating to slog.
- The Stops. Don’t worry your pretty little head about whether this is the right spot to stop. This highway is littered with pre-determined “scenic overlooks” with a place for your ride and walks and decks to capture some of these views to take home.
Season: 3 season ride, winter is doable depending on year and rider
Time: Couple Days
Bonus Adventure (courtesy @trailryder42):
At the north end of it, continue on the Skyline Drive for the same kind of riding and scenery.
#1 - Maine - US Route 1 - 200+ Miles
Hey Cali, we got a coastal highway too, but our’s is literally #1 for the whole US 😉.
This US interstate runs the length of the coast, but I’m highlighting Maine’s run for a few reasons.
Though it’s a “coastal highway” some parts more so than others. Maine’s rocky cliff lines, high mountains and numerous bays make this ride a breathtaking experience.
Being so close to the coast here has another perk. So many options for fresh seafood. You can find fried-bellies at a beat up clam shack on the beach, or 5-star stuffed-lobster-tails high on the decks, and everything in between. Pace yourself, you will see so many along this route. I advise a bit of googling, or connect with a local. Many are touristy and overpriced.
I guess this is a lot of places, but pick any 60 mile stretch of US1 and you will find a great mix of valley twisties, mountain climbs, and ocean vistas.
Season: Summer or Early Fall (gets cold “downeast” !)
Time: Several. The full route takes a couple days, and you’ll want at least 2 days for eating.
For bonus points hit the short but beautiful Kancamagus Highway in NH.