The time has finally come to feel the freedom of the open road. With the last winter snow melted, you’ve managed to finish installing all those new motorcycle parts you bought online over the winter and have shined that bike until it looks almost new again. Now you’re ready to rev up and get out there, and these 10 great East Coast rides are great routes to explore:
Outer Banks on the NC 12
If you’re looking for spectacular water views, there are few better rides than North Carolina’s Highway 12, with the Atlantic on one side and the Intercoastal Waterway on the other. The 113-mile trek through the Outer Banks begins in Corolla and travels south to Ocracoke. The route passes through Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, in addition to a number of historical lighthouses. Use our helpful Carolina Coast Itinerary to explore the Outer Banks.
Photo of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse by Henryhartley via Wikimedia Commons
Skyline Drive, Virginia
Virginia’s Skyline Drive begins in Front Royal and heads south through Shenandoah National Park, culminating in Waynesboro. The 105-mile journey follows winding mountain roads for lots of fun yet smooth riding. With so many twists and turns, you never know what you’ll see around the next corner, from gorgeous mountain vistas to deer and even the occasional black bear.
Photo by forestfufighting via Wikimedia Commons
State Route 5, Virginia
History buffs won’t want to miss this 46-mile route that follows the James River through a lush, green valley and numerous historical highlights, including several plantations. Be sure to stop in at Colonial Williamsburg, the largest living museum in the country, to take a journey back through time to the 18th century Virginia capital.
Photo by Harvey Barrison via Wikimedia Commons
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina
If you’re up for a long, 469-mile trek, the Blue Ridge Parkway is hard to beat. The route stretches through the Virginia countryside passing a number of interesting Civil War battle sites before traversing through North Carolina and some of the most beautiful mountain views in the eastern U.S.
Photo by Fran Trudeau via Wikimedia Commons
Highway 17: Darien to Cumberland Island, Georgia
This 68-mile ride begins in Darien, Georgia and passes through scenic marshes and rivers along the highway, ending at Cumberland Island, the largest barrier island in the state. Here you’ll discover pristine beaches and wide marshes, along with four major historic districts.
Photo of Cumberland Island-Dungeness Mansion by Kristine via Wikimedia Commons
Central Adirondack Byway, New York
This 153-mile ride winds through the Adirondacks of New York from Glen Falls to Rome, wandering along the shores of Lake George as well as the Hudson River, Indian Lake and Blue Mountain Lake. This is a beautiful trek in the fall, with fiery reds, golden yellows and even purples dotting the landscape.
Florida Keys Overseas Highway
For a more tropical adventure, slather on the sunscreen and head out onto the narrow stretch of road made of bridges known as the Overseas Highway in Florida, stretching 110 miles from Key Largo to Key West. You’ll drive atop a living reef through azure-colored waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, with margaritas awaiting in your final destination.
Photo by Shanbin Zhao via Wikimedia Commons
Tennessee’s Tail of the Dragon
The Tail of the Dragon at Deal’s Gap follows Route 129 near the southwest border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s an absolute must for any motorcycle enthusiast, despite the fact that it’s just 11 miles long. This winding road has 318 corners, working out to one every 182 feet, or about 29 turn per mile.
Photo by llahbocaj via Wikimedia Commons
Vermont’s Molly Stark Scenic Byway
This short but very sweet 40-mile ride from Brattleboro to Bennington offers plenty of history, incredible views and lots of fun, twisty, riding, particularly if you head out early in the morning before traffic hits. At the Hogback Mountain overlook, a three-state view awaits, including the rolling hills of Vermont, northern Massachusetts and western New Hampshire.
Route 201: Northern Maine
Route 201 journeys through the remote wilderness region of northern Maine, 101 miles from Skowhegan to the U.S./Canada border. The highway winds through a magnificently scenic area along the river, with breathtaking mountains views as well as a chance to spot plenty of wildlife, including moose.