Last Updated on January 30, 2023 by Rose Morah
There’s something uniquely special and satisfying about embarking on a motorcycle road trip across different states in the United States.
First of all, you don’t come back the same person.
Secondly, the experience will totally blow your mind. No doubt about that.
I mean, think about this for a moment:
The heightened adventure of riding across different terrains, through the intense heat, bitter cold, and rain.
Getting an opportunity to experience the best, most beautiful places, then downright to the ugliest.
This is an experience that every motorcycle enthusiast would die for.
But the truth is when taking a motorcycle road tour across America, there’s a lot to consider, such as:
- How to choose your route when touring across the US
- Laws and rules of riding a motorcycle across America
- The best states for a motorcycle road tour in North America
- The best routes to take on a motorcycle road tour across the US
- The best routes for die-hard sportbike riders in the US
The good news is that we have covered all that in this article.
- What to consider when planning a motorcycle road trip across America
- Tips when taking a motorcycle road tour in the US
- Choosing your route
- Laws and rules of riding a motorcycle across the United States
- Best States for motorcycle road tour in North America
- Best routes to take on a motorcycle road tour across the US
- The best route for die-hard sport-bike riders in the US
What to consider when planning a motorcycle road trip across America
- Is your motorcycle reliable?
- What time of the year is best to take the trip?
- Do you want to take a solo ride or go as a group?
- What type of accommodations do you prefer? (hotels, camping, motels e.t.c)
- Which sceneries are a must-see?
- Which type of roads do you ride on? (long straight open roads, thrilling and challenging roads, scenic roads and e.t.c)
- Are you physically and mentally prepared for a motorcycle road trip across different states in the US?
Tips when taking a motorcycle road tour in the US
- Always ensure that you have great quality tires that have at least 3-4 miles of life left in them.
- Download apps that will help you find free or cheap campgrounds.
- Most gas stations and truck rest stops will allow you to camp overnight for free.
- Take your time – do not be in a hurry to reach your final destination. The journey is also equally as important
- If you are on a tight budget, try to avoid gas stations that are located at the National parks and entrances of cities.
- You can opt to carry a portable kitchen on your bike to help save up some cash while maintaining a healthy diet.
- Pack as light as possible.
- Some places will have poor cell reception. Install offline apps that will not require any connection to function, such as weather apps and maps.
- The best month to go on a road trip on a motorcycle across the USA is from May to October.
- Carry all-weather clothes when traveling to different states because of the different altitudes. At higher altitudes such as the Grand Canyon or the Appalachian Mountains, it can be quite chilly, even in the summer. Then further to the south can be extremely hot, especially in or around August.
Choosing your route
Whether you want to start East going West or vice versa, mark the routes that you plan on taking on your road trip.
And to a great extent, altitude is also a significant factor to consider while planning your routes.
In other words, would you prefer starting at lower altitudes and going towards a higher altitude or vice versa?
Laws and rules of riding a motorcycle across the United States
When taking your road trip across the United States on your motorbike, it is important to be aware of each state’s laws for riders.
For instance, take a look at these general rules:
- Don’t cross the white line even when you are turning on the other side of the road.
- Never pack your motorcycle against the flow of traffic.
- Only motorcycles that are over 50cc are permitted to use the interstate highways.
- Riding between lanes of traffic is prohibited in all states.
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Motorcycle Helmet Laws across different states in the US
As required by law
Only 19 states in the U.S require a certified helmet for any motorcycle.
The helmet should be D.O.T certified with the manufacturer’s name, the text FMVSS218, the model, and DOT on it.
The mandates apply to both the passengers and the operators.
Here is a list of states that require the use of a helmet when riding your motorcycle:
|District of Columbia
Age restrictions as Required by law
Some states in the United States require the use of a helmet up to a certain age.
|17 and younger
|18 and younger.
|20 and younger.
|Not required by law.
Motorcycle Eye Protection Laws in the United States
Only 12 states require both the passenger and operator to wear approved eye protection when riding a motorcycle.
Some states will require you to wear eyewear unless you have a windscreen, while others have no requirements at all.
Only three states require riders to wear eye protection based on criteria. South Carolina requires riders to use eye protection if they are under 21 years and don’t have a windscreen. Indiana requires eye protection for those riders who are under 18.
Massachusetts requires instructional permit holders to use eye protection, but there is no need if you have a windshield.
Motorcycle Daytime Headlight Laws in the United States
Only 18 states in the United States require riders to have headlights when riding. Most states allow modulation as the headlights are a must. Modulation means that riders are allowed to change between dimming, low beam, and full power.
Very few states in the United States will not require headlights during the day, while only seven states will require headlights to be used during certain times of the year.
Motorcycle Lane Splitting Laws in the US
Lane splitting is riding a motorbike between vehicles. It helps save time, especially in congested traffic, but can also be dangerous.
California is the only state that allows lane splitting.
See the Best Motorcycle Trip Planner.
Best States for motorcycle road tour in North America
Different factors affect the choice of states that you would consider great for a motorcycle road trip.
These includes :
- Personal experience
- America West (the Far West)
These are the westernmost states in the United States. Most riders enjoy traveling through these states because of the long stretches of the open road and many natural wonders.
This state is surrounded by breathtaking scenery you will love when riding. Most of the cities in Colorado are not congested. It also has some of the lowest gas taxes in the United States.
Idaho boasts of being one of the country’s most beautiful and majestic scenic landscapes. You can begin your day riding through the desert landscapes with surreal volcano lava fields and rocky formations.
You’ll pass through the fertile valleys and hot springs further east as you approach Wyoming. And on the northern section, you enjoy the thick forest and the cobalt blue beautiful lakes.
- South California
This state has the best motorcycling weather for anyone planning to go on a road trip. Most cities in this state have warm and dry year-all around.
Best routes to take on a motorcycle road tour across the US
The USA has many roads with breathtaking scenic views for riders going on road trips across different states.
The following are some of the best scenic routes for motorcycle rides across America:
1. The Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway is undoubtedly one of the most famous and scenic roadways in the world.
Riding along this highway comes with a remarkably stunning experience, worth being on every rider’s bucket list.
You get stunning coastal views, untouched forests, seaside villages, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, and the Big Sur.
A motorcycle trip on this road is not only an ambitious road trip but also an exciting one. It has something for everyone – animal lovers, riders who love the nightlife, and food lovers, to name a few.
Where is the Pacific Coast Highway?
This highway is located in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
It runs along two major highways in California Highway 1 and Washington, Oregon, and some parts of California.
The road has different starting and ending points:
- From San Francisco to San Diego (Or vice versa)
- From Crescent City to San Diego (Or vice versa)
- From Seattle to San Diego
Pacific Coast Highway’s best direction
South or northbound?
I would recommend riding the Pacific Coast Highway southbound. When riding your motorcycle from north to south, you will be on the coastal side of the road. You will thus enjoy a wonderful view of the coastline.
Make sure you stop to see elephant seals in San Simeon.
What is the best time of the year to ride the Pacific Coast Highway?
September is the best recommended time to ride on this route.
Because the best weather in North Carolina is usually between September and October, Oregon and Washington have the best weather between June and September.
South Carolina usually has great weather throughout the year.
2. U.S. Route 50 (From Coast to Coast)
U.S Route 50 passes across 12 states.
It begins in San Francisco, California, passing through Nevada, and ends at the Chesapeake Bay in Ocean City, Maryland. Most riders popularly know it as “The Loneliest Road in America.”
Riders riding on this route get to enjoy different fascinating sceneries and major tourist destinations that include:
- The St.Louis Gateway Arch
- Royal Gorge
- The Colorado National Monument
- Lake Tahoe
- Nevada’s Great Basin National Park
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
- Historic Dodge City
The route also immerses riders in the beautiful, fascinating urban Midwest to the east coast.
The best route for die-hard sport-bike riders in the US
1. The tail of the Dragon
Embarking on this route would be considered by many motorcycle riders as the ride of your life.
Where is Tail of the Dragon located?
It is located in North Carolina and Tennessee.
The road requires full attention because of its many twists and turns. It skirts the mountains at Tennessee’s western border with North Carolina.
The road may entice you to ride fast! However, it is very, very important to take extra caution by first familiarizing yourself with it.
Tips for Riding the Dragon’s Tail
- When riding always be on the lookout for wandering deer, turkeys, and bears
- If you want the road all by yourself, ride mid-week when there are fewer riders on the road
- If you want a more challenging ride, then try the Devil’s Triangle
- Stay in your lane
- Ride at your skill level
Why accidents occur on the tail of the dragon:
- Too much braking
- Excessive speed
When is the best time of the year to ride the Tail of the Dragon?
The best time to go on a motorcycle road trip to the Tail of Dragon route is April to October.
This is because the mountain temperatures are mild compared to March and November, which can be snowy.
Going on a motorcycle road trip across different states in the US can be extremely gratifying. You just need to plan wisely, set realistic goals, and don’t let anything stop you.