5 US Destinations for an Early-Season Spring Motorcycle Ride

5 US Destinations for an Early-Season Spring Motorcycle Ride

The winter puts an end to the riding season in many places across the U.S. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since the cold months are a great chance to maintain your motorcycle or perhaps read that motorcycling book that’s been sitting on your coffee table.

Eventually, though, you get restless, have trouble concentrating, and your right wrist begins to twist on its own—the telltale symptoms of motorcycle withdrawal. Once the shakes begin, a springtime bike ride is just what the doctor ordered.

Here are five great destinations where you can hit the road as soon as the spring has sprung.

Southern California

It might get too hot for some in summer, but spring in Southern California is motorcycling heaven. The temperatures are balmy and rain is virtually non-existent coming out of winter.

When it does rain, though, it pours with a chance of flash flooding, so pull over if you get caught in a deluge.

To keep your ride interesting, SoCal boasts a veritable smorgasbord of scenery and terrain. Whether you’re a city slicker or country bumpkin at heart, you’ll find sights to wow yourself with.

You could also go for the whole shebang and take in all the sights SoCal has to offer. Start from the craggy rocks and sandy beaches of the coast, navigate the urban jungle of the Greater Los Angeles area, rise toward the snow-capped mountains, and finally descend to the deserts of eastern California.

When you want to hop off the saddle, you can take your pick of activities. There’s LA for that big-city buzz, charming smaller places like Santa Maria or Carmel, or you can hike in the mountains, fish in the sea… The list goes on.

Of course, you’re also spoiled for great motorcycling roads. Just to name a few, you can hit the Pacific Coast Highway/SR 1, US 101, Angeles Crest Highway, or Sunset Blvd.

Just be aware that many of these roads are currently experiencing closures. Fortunately, there are ways to get around many of them.

Northern Georgia

Got Georgia on your mind? You should, since the Peach State’s northern parts make for a wonderfully majestic spring riding location.

The Blue Ridge Mountains terminate in northern Georgia, with the elevations rising higher and higher the closer to the North Carolina border you get. As a result, you get to enjoy riding on undulating roller coaster roads among mountains, forested, and scenic views.

With the varying elevations also come varying temperatures, though. Venturing up into the mountains, you may still find chilly weather and snow even in the spring.

That said, the (relatively) flatter regions toward Atlanta see daytime temperatures between 65 and 75 in spring. You’ll also avoid the worst of Georgia’s summer humidity, so the state is still a great spring getaway.

But where do you get away to in northern Georgia? Well, history buffs can thrill themselves by touring the various Civil War battlegrounds of the Atlanta Campaign, fought in the summer of 1864.

Outdoor enthusiasts can ride to explore the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest with beautiful waterfalls and wildlife. For urban explorers, there’s Atlanta, while Ellijay provides a smaller settlement to take in.

The mountains of northern Georgia bristle with fun, meandering two-laners that you can ride all day without a bigger plan. If you prefer defined routes, consider hitting the Suches Loop (aka. Georgia’s Dragon) or make a tri-state jaunt along SR 28.

Louisiana Bayou

Being cooped up indoors for the winter may have put you in the mood to escape from anything resembling four walls. In such as case, the Louisiana Bayou can bring you what you seek.

Bristling with incredible biodiversity and covering areas with relatively little development, the Bayou is just the thing to put in a primordial state of mind. Riding the narrow roads under towering cypress trees is a great way to clear your mind of the winter funk.

Daytime temperatures in the Bayou hover around the 60-70-degree mark during daytime, which is plenty warm for springtime riding. As a fair warning, though, the wet season in the area starts around April, so rain gear is probably a good idea.

Speaking of rain, springtime floods are a thing in the Bayou. Don’t let that deter you from riding—just be prepared for a few potential detours.

If you need a break from the endless pools of water and thick greenery, New Orleans has entertainment, food, and culture for all tastes. Lafayette is another bigger city in the area, while Thibodaux lets you explore the region’s French and Cajun influences (check out the largest surviving 19th-century sugar plantation at Laurel Valley Village).

Granted, the Louisiana Bayou isn’t known for major riding roads, but that doesn’t mean there are no entertaining pieces of pavement. As some choice examples, try hitting SR 22 from Sorrent to Ponchatoula or SR 77 from Livonia to Plaquemine.

San Antonio, TX

Some areas in Texas just refuse to get cold, and the region surrounding the city of San Antonio is one of them. This is an excellent location to motor to if you want to warm your winter-weary bones in the saddle.

And when I say it’s warm, I mean it. Springtime temperatures can reach up to the 80s and snow is (or at least used to be) rare. In fact, spring is a great time to visit the area before the heat gets more oppressive.

The lands around San Antonio are a riding treat. You’ll find gently rolling hills through the desert and small woods, the roadsides dotted with oak, mesquite, and cacti.

San Antonio itself has plenty to offer when you’re not out on the road. Primarily, check out the food. San Antonio is one of only two UNESCO Creative Cities of Gastronomy in the U.S. (the other one being Tucson, AZ).

You may want to time your spring ride for April, as that’s when Fiesta San Antonio takes over the city. Started in 1891 as a memorial celebration for the Battle of the Alamo, this 11-day festival of culture, music, food, and everything fun is worth experiencing.

When it comes to riding around San Antonio, one destination is above all others—or three destinations, since we’re talking about the famous Twisted Sisters. The Texas Hill Country is also right there to the northwest of the city, offering undulating roads for your enjoyment.

Carlsbad, NM

When you think about Carlsbad, NM, your thoughts probably fly first to the famous caverns. That’s fine, but the city’s surroundings have plenty of excitement above the ground as well.

Carlsbad is located in the Chihuahuan Desert so springs in the area are warm—possibly even hot. The average daytime temperatures sit roughly in the 60-65 region, but it can get significantly warmer. In other words, great weather for riding since rain is a non-issue.

The landscape immediately around Carlsbad is admittedly flat, yet the desert roads with little traffic make for a fantastically relaxing laidback springtime cruise.

If you want more from your surroundings, Lincoln National Forest and the White Sands National Park are reasonably close to the northwest. The former offers many twisty roads and trails.

Should you head up to the mountains, though, be aware that the temperatures are much lower than in the desert and you may encounter wind and snow.

While you are in Carlsbad, you should of course go check out the caverns. Movie buffs will have a field day around the city as well since the surrounding area has served as a filming location for many famous films. As one more ride idea, you can make a day trip north from Carlsbad to Roswell. Just watch out for flying saucers looking for hapless abductees on two wheels.