There’s no doubt about it, a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is the stuff of legend. This designated “All-American Road,” also known as Highway 1, hugs the coast of California for 655 miles. Along the way, you’ll see some of the most spectacular scenery in all of the United States.

It’s a route that appeals to motorcycle enthusiasts. Here are seven of the best stops along the PCH you won’t want to miss. We’ve listed them in order when traveling from north to south.


The Pacific Coast Highway has breathtaking scenery and memorable stops along the way.

1. San Francisco

The iconic Golden Gate Bridge is the first landmark you think of when you picture this city. The 1.7-mile bridge is considered a wonder of the modern world.

The city’s Golden Gate Park is one of the biggest city parks in the world with two museums: the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young Museum, which features contemporary art exhibits, costume exhibits and art from Central and South America.

The infamous Alcatraz Island is open for tours. Visit the cells where unwilling residents like Al Capone and “Machine Gun” Kelly served their sentences.

2. San Jose

Do you know the way to the city made famous by the Bacharach song and Silicon Valley? It’s home to the Winchester Mystery House. This curiosity was built by Sarah Winchester (of Winchester rifle fame) on the advice of a medium to appease the ghosts of those who were killed with a Winchester rifle.

3. Monterey

Located on the bay, the city hosts the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which features interactive exhibits. Cannery Row, once a center of the sardine-packing industry and made famous by novelist John Steinbeck, is now populated with some great wine bars, microbreweries, restaurants, and boutiques. Don’t miss Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small town in Monterey County that hosts a historic Spanish mission and offers opportunities for whale watching and sailing.

There's nothing quite like riding over the Golden Gate Bridge on a clear, sunny day.

There’s nothing quite like riding over the Golden Gate Bridge on a clear, sunny day.

4. Big Sur

One of the most photographed bridges on the west coast, the Bixby Bridge is 280 feet high and 714 feet long with lookout points that are out of this world including Point Sur State Historic Park. Big Sur itself still carries a hippy vibe, evident at the Esalen Institute with its natural hot springs, meditation classes, and yoga.

5. San Simeon

See the inspiration for Citizen Kane’s Xanadu with a visit to Hearst Castle, a residence of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The centerpiece of the estate known as “The Enchanted Hill.” The castle is big – over 60,000 square feet, so plan to devote a day to the tour.

6. Solvang

Located in Santa Barbara County, you must visit the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum. The collection includes Japanese, European, American and British motorbikes with an emphasis on racing bikes. It’s a must-see for motorcycle lovers.

7. Ventura Beach

What’s a trip along the California coast without a stop at Ventura Beach, home of serious surfing? Not a surfer? Enjoy the ocean views and explore its downtown area if you have a taste for antique merchandise.

As one of the most diverse states in the Union, Oregon has some great scenic drives for any motorcycle enthusiast. In fact, the natural features of the state have made tourism a leading industry. Few other states have as many beaches, mountains, waterfalls, forests, rivers, lakes, volcanoes, caves, canyons, and high deserts.


Oregon Coast Scenic Byway

From Portland take I-5 North and US-30 West to Astoria where the coastal trip begins. Conveniently, US-30 becomes US-101 which is known as the Oregon Coast Highway in Oregon. Most of the US-101 offers breath-taking views of the ocean and surrounding areas. There are many sites worth exploring along the route. Every school kid learned that Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805 in this region. The Lewis & Clark National Historical Park makes for an interesting stop along the way. Fort Stevens State Park and Ecola State Park are other historic sites of interest. Ecola State Park has a segment of the Oregon Coast Trail known for whale watching. There are also stops known for sea lions and other sea creatures. The total length of this trip is 338 miles and takes about 6 to 8 hours to drive straight through. But you ought to take several days to enjoy everything the Oregon Coast Highway has to offer.

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway

How would you like to explore the deepest canyon on the North American continent? You can start by driving through Hells Canyon Scenic Byway. From Portland, take I-84 East to La Grande Oregon where the drive begins. This Interstate Drive is about 261 miles and takes 4 to 5 hours to complete. Exit 261 will take you to La Grande. Stopping at the Ranger Station for more information would be wise. While there you can see the Eastern Oregon Fire Museum and vintage fire trucks. Take OR-82 East and be on the lookout for mountain sheep, elk, deer, and bald eagles. There are alternately farmlands and wild areas along the route. Traveling east on OR-350 will take you to Wallowa Mountain Loop Road which rises almost 9,400 feet and offers stunning panoramic views. Eventually, you reach Hells Canyon Overlook with interpretive signs to explain the geology. Baker City is regarded as the end of the trip Here you can connect with I-84 to return home to Portland. Mileage for the Byway is estimated as just under 200 miles and takes about 5 hours to drive straight through. Snow in the winter may cause the road to be closed. In July there is a Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally where thousands of bikers gather for a tour of the Hells Canyon area.

Journey Through Time

From Portland take I-84 East for about 96 miles. Take exit 104 to get to US-97 South to Biggs Junction where the Journey Through Time begins. This Scenic Byway extends 286 miles from Biggs Junction to the end at Baker City where you can catch I-84 to return to Portland. The main attraction is the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. This monument has three sections or units that cover a total area of 14,062 acres. These units are the Sheep Rock Unit, the Painted Hills Unit, and the Clarno Unit. Parts of the drive make you think you are on another planet with unusual rock formations, unique landscapes, and 45 million-year-old craggy pinnacles that stand 150 feet tall. Just make sure you allow plenty of time to explore everything.

Mount Hood

Highway 26 runs through Portland, so you can take this East to Gresham where the drive begins. In this area, US-26 is known as the Mount Hood Highway. The trip is 80 miles long and can be easily done in a day. At 11,240 feet, Mount Hood ranks as Oregon’s highest point. Mount Hood is one of the several volcanoes in Oregon. However, it is regarded as a potentially active volcano and probably the next one in Oregon to erupt. As you enter the Mount Hood National Forest, you will see wildflowers, waterfalls, alpine lakes, and a lot of wildlife that includes birds, black bears, and mountain lions. The end of the trek is in the Town of Hood River. From here, you can drive back to Portland on I-84. Mount Hood is one of three Oregon volcanoes that is on the list of the ten most dangerous volcanoes in the US. The other two are Crater Lake and South Sister Volcano.

The Oregon Bigfoot Highway

The Oregon Bigfoot Highway is taken from the title of a book about Bigfoot sightings and related incidents. Start on Oregon Route 224 and go East until you reach the town of Estacada. Route 224 continues into Mount Hood National Forest. This route is essentially another way to explore the Mount Hood National Forest. However, this area boasts many reports of Bigfoot sightings, so you just never know!


While there’s plenty to see in beautiful Oregon, there are also a lot of other highways and byways to explore. Be sure to check out our post on the Pacific Coast Highway for more of our favorites!