Take a Weekend Motorcycle Trip Along California’s Central Coast

Jump start the riding season with a California motorcycle trip along the Pacific Coast Highway 101.

This scenic stretch of road travels from southern California all the way up to Washington. And we may be biased, but we think the California section is extra beautiful! Many people travel the highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco or vice versa, taking in the beautiful California Central Coast along the way.

No weekend motorcycle trip through Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast is complete without a stopover in Santa Maria Valley – consider it the perfect home base. Our region is home to more than 30 wineries, 24 hiking trails, 15 beaches and more – all within a 30-minute ride. On your next west coast motorcycle trip, don’t miss these must-sees in and around Santa Maria Valley.

Taste your way through the local breweries

The Central Coast also has a hopping beer scene – pun intended. Whether you’re in the mood for an IPA, a stout, a lager or anything else, there’s a brew for every taste at Santa Maria’s local breweries. Some breweries also have pre-bottled options to take home or enjoy back at the hotel. Treat yourself to a pint and a plate with special beer and food pairings, too.

Take a ride along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail

This gorgeous, 30-mile stretch of vineyard-lined road between Santa Maria and Los Olivos is home to 13 winery tasting rooms. The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail is the perfect place to go for a relaxed afternoon ride. You can stop at tasting rooms along the way to learn more about the local wine country, sample a glass or pick up a bottle of wine to take home.

Don’t skip iconic Santa Maria Style barbecue

Fondly known as “California’s cut,” our valley’s distinct barbecue style is a must-stop on your California motorcycle trip. Santa Maria Style barbecue includes meat – usually tri-tip or top block sirloin – seasoned with a simple mix and grilled over red oak coals, giving it a hearty, smoky flavor. The meat is then paired with flavorful sides, including natively grown pinquito beans, buttery garlic bread and fresh green salad. Check out the full list of barbecue restaurants here. No matter which you pick, you won’t be disappointed!

Pro-tip #1: The Hitching Post in Casmalia is a favorite of locals and visitors alike, and is located a bit farther outside of town and away from main roads, with plenty of parking!

Get a taste of the outdoors

The Central Coast’s temperate climate makes it possible to ride around and enjoy the outdoors year-round. Take the bikes to one of the local beaches, or hike at Los Flores Ranch Park, which provides panoramic valley views; Oso Flaco Lake, which takes hikers across a boardwalk and straight to the ocean; or the Pismo Preserve, which provides scenic views of the coastline. The region also offers excellent fishing and birdwatching opportunities.

Pro-tip #2: The road up to Oso Flaco Lake does have a small stretch of gravel – please take a bit extra caution on your way in!

Pro-tip #3: As with anywhere you leave your bike, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to secure/lock up your helmet and gear while you’re enjoying the great outdoors!

To help inspire your next Pacific Coast Highway motorcycle trip, be sure to check out our trip itineraries and our visitor guide. When it comes to choosing lodging, there are several hotels to choose from in the region. Read our roundup of best wine country hotels in and around Santa Maria Valley or browse the full list of properties in the region.

In Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore it all with our 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, seven unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. There is no need to venture far if you are looking for sand dunes, cycling and authentic Santa Maria Style dining. You’ll find it’s the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less.