- Sturgis — The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an annual event not to be missed, one that every bike should make at least once in his or her lifetime. This small town in Meade County, South Dakota, receives hundreds of thousands of visitors during the first or second week of August, a community 28 miles from Rapid City.
Split South Dakota in half along the Missouri River and you have two distinctly different areas for traveling. To the east, roads are dominated by low hills and farm country. To the west, your trip will take you across rolling plains and through the Black Hills and Badlands, with deep canyons and lush scenery for your enjoyment.
- Coastal Highway 1 — Maine gets a mention here for a trip worth taking from late April to early November. That trip is on Coastal Highway 1, what provides a scenic alternative to Interstate 95. This road begins at the New Hampshire border and ends at New Brunswick Route 161 in Canada.
Old towns, lighthouses and interesting shops dot the road with numerous peninsulas to visit for side trips. Take in a lobster shack for a meal that defines the Pine Tree State. While July and August are warm and not too hot, the shoulder months of June and Sept. mean that crowds are not a factor as you make your way along coastal spots.
- Overseas Highway — Why wait for warmer weather to head out? Head down to the Sunshine State and continue to the Florida Keys. Your trip will take you on the Overseas Highway, a 127.5-mile long thoroughfare that connects the mainline with the keys, the lone escape route when a hurricane evacuation has been ordered.
Hopefully, your trip on this gulf-lapped road won’t take place when bad weather is bearing down on the region. When you do go, you will want to enjoy the clean sea air, the sea food and enjoy the turquoise waters of this sun-dappled area. On the keys, life goes at a very slow pace, so make plenty of stops to sample and enjoy the local color.
- Beartooth Highway — Considered by many to be the “most beautiful drive in America,” the Beartooth Highway spanning Montana and Wyoming certainly has much to offer as it takes you through Yellowstone National Park. It is the highest highway in the Northern Rockies and is not for the faint of heart nor is it for people prone to altitude sickness.
Beartooth is a section of Route 212 that begins and ends in Montana with a dip through Wyoming. The pass opens around the middle of May and typically closes back up by mid-October. During the months that it is open, surprise snow storms and high winds may suddenly appear. That’s the trade off you make when taking in lush forests, majestic waterfalls and spectacular glaciers along this winding route.
- Great River Road — If you want to take in America’s heartland, then the Great River Road should be traversed at least once in your life. This road spans 10 states from Wisconsin at the Canadian border to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. The Great River Road speaks of the Mississippi River, of course, the mightiest of all rivers in North America.
The siren call of the open road beckons you, with millions of miles of paved routes to choose from. Some you have traversed previously, others you may have heard about and wondered which would make for a great road trip. Every state, territory and district has its great rides, so we have selected five that are certain to make you want to fire up your Harley or jump on the back of your Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki or Kawasaki and take off.
Some have argued that the Great River Road is not an official highway and in some ways that is true. What it represents is a series of state and local roads that follow along the mighty Mississippi with distinctive green and white route markers pointing the way. Its historical importance should not be overlooked, as it is an area that was settled by Native Americans, traversed by French Voyagers and provided an escape route for African slaves. What Mark Twain wrote about and what millions of Americans live each day.
As with any road trip, you want to set out on your motorcycle with the right protective apparel and a helmet. If your trip will be taking you hundreds of miles each day for days at a time, consider stepping up your exercise regimen before you leave. Plan your route out, bring along a GPS and keep your smart phone fully charged. Lastly, tell someone where you plan to go just in case you are gone so long that they grow concerned about your safety.
The siren is calling you to take the ride of your lifetime this year. How will you answer it?
Keith Winters is a professional blogger that enjoys providing consumers with automotive advice. He writes for Butty Buddy, a leading manufacturer of motorcycle seats.