Best Bay Area Motorcycle Routes near San Francisco, CA

May 8, 2024


motorcycle routes near san francisco with a motorcycle rental from Riders Share

The San Francisco Bay Area is a great place for motorcycle rides, with roads that offer stunning views and exciting experiences. From the oceanfront to the mountains, each route delivers its own unique thrill. Below, we’ve listed five of the best San Francisco Bay Area motorcycle rides. Let's check them out!

1. San Francisco to Santa Cruz

san francisco to santa cruz motorcycle route

Starting Point: San Francisco, CA

End Point: Santa Cruz, CA

Approximate Miles: 75 miles

This 75-mile route from San Francisco to Santa Cruz is perfect for experiencing some of California's beautiful redwood forests and coastal views. Start in San Francisco and take Interstate 280 south to Pacifica and then to Half Moon Bay. After Half Moon Bay, continue on Highway 1 south toward San Gregorio State Beach, passing by the turn-off for Pescadero.

Stop at Half Moon Bay for a quick coffee or to browse local shops. San Gregorio State Beach is a great spot to enjoy the surf, although the water can be chilly. In Pescadero, consider grabbing lunch at Duarte’s Tavern, known for its local cuisine. Your journey ends in Santa Cruz, where the famous Boardwalk and Giant Dipper roller coaster await. Along the way, you'll pass several beaches, including the Ano Nuevo State Reserve, making this route a must-try for anyone visiting California.

2. Monterey Bay & Cannery Row Tour

montery bay and cannery row motorcycle route

Starting Point: San Francisco, CA

End Point: Monterey, CA

Approximate Miles: 118 miles

This route takes you from San Francisco through Santa Cruz down to Monterey, famous for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. The area offers a variety of seafood restaurants and souvenir shops, and you might spot seals and sailboats along the coast.

Starting in San Francisco, head south on Interstate 280 and take the Highway 1 exit toward Pacifica. Follow Highway 1 all the way to Monterey. On your way, consider stopping at Half Moon Bay to check out some cafes and shops. Remember, if you plan to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, it’s a good idea to book your tickets in advance to avoid missing out.

3. California North Coast

california north coast motorcycle route

Starting Point: San Francisco, CA

End Point: Eureka, CA

Approximate Miles: 271 miles

Just 68 miles from San Francisco, Bodega Bay marks the start of the California North Coast route, an approximately four-hour journey along the second half of Highway 1 and Highway 101 to Eureka. This route is known for its redwood groves, which extend up the northern coast of California. To really step back in time, take a detour through the Avenue of the Giants to explore forests filled with massive redwoods and ferns.

The route includes many curves with impressive views of the Pacific Ocean, cliffs, and coastline. These turns are tight and can be challenging, so it’s important to drive carefully.

You’ll pass through many small towns on the way from Leggett to Eureka, where you can find cozy restaurants and plenty of places to stop and enjoy the redwoods. Important stops include historic Fort Ross, about 20 miles from the Russian River, and the coastal town of Mendocino. This route offers a great opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the California coast.

4. The Santa Cruz Mountain Tour Loop

Starting Point: Santa Cruz, CA

End Point: Santa Cruz, CA (loop)

Approximate Miles: Varies

After arriving in Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Mountain Tour Loop offers excellent riding through the redwoods. This loop features a winding path that takes you through mountains and across five state and county parks. You'll visit Ana Jean Cummings Park, Forest of Nisene Marks State Park, Lexington Reservoir County Park, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, and Wilder Ranch State Park. We recommend an additional stop at Bear Creek, which offers a beautiful view of the surrounding valleys.

Be mindful of traffic, especially on weekends, and keep an eye out for the California Highway Patrol, who frequently monitor these roads. It’s wise to keep your speed down on these twisty roads for safety.

5. Alice’s Restaurant Loop Tour

alice's restaurant loop motorcycle route

Starting Point: San Francisco, CA

End Point: Alice's Restaurant, Woodside, CA

Approximate Miles: Varies based on return route

Alice’s Restaurant, a favorite spot among bikers and car enthusiasts, is located in the redwoods south of San Francisco. To reach Alice's Restaurant, start from San Francisco and travel south on I-280 for 15 miles, then take Highway 92 West toward Half Moon Bay. At the top of the hill on Highway 92, turn left onto Highway 35 South (Skyline Boulevard) toward Santa Cruz and continue for 10 miles. You’ll find Alice’s Restaurant on your left at 17288 Skyline Blvd, at the intersection with Highway 84, in Woodside, California. The journey takes about an hour.

For your return to San Francisco, you have three options:

  • North via Highway 35 to Highway 92, then I-280, taking about an hour.
  • West via Highway 84 to Highway 1 North, taking about 1.5 hours.
  • South via Santa Cruz on Highway 35 and 9 South to Highway 1 North, taking about three hours.

Each route offers different views and experiences, so choose based on your preference for time and scenery.

Start Your Adventure With a Motorcycle Rental from Riders Share

Ready to explore the best SF motorcycle routes? Whether you’re looking to ride along the coast or through the forests, start your journey with a San Francisco motorcycle rental from Riders Share. We have a large selection of bikes to fit any riding style. Don’t just dream about your next adventure—make it happen by booking your motorcycle today!

End of the Line

As you plan your next motorcycle adventure, remember that the curvy roads around San Francisco offer some of the most diverse and enjoyable riding experiences. Choose your route, grab a rental from Riders Share, and set out to explore all the natural beauty and thrilling rides these paths have to offer.