Seeking an adventure on two wheels? In California, you’re sure to find one that fulfills your biggest cycling dreams! With the Golden State’s incredible diversity, bike routes range from easy cruises to challenging century rides (100 miles), all paired with stunning scenery. Come discover bucket-list rides where beaches, mountains, deserts and urban cityscapes are your playground. It’s an almost impossible task to choose just 10, but we’ve selected our shortlist of must-do rides that are representative of the many pedal-perfect opportunities here in California. Whichever you choose, your experience will leave you convinced you haven’t really experienced the Golden State until you’ve seen it by bike.
Mission Bay Trail & Bayshore Bikeway: San Diego
Sunny San Diego is rightly famous for its miles of glistening beaches and other high-profile attractions, but it’s also a pedaler’s paradise thanks to the city’s extensive networks of bike routes. Top rides include exploring the 27 car-free miles of winding paths that circle tranquil Mission Bay. Rides here can easily be customized to various lengths and points of interest, including stops at coastal communities like Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach. Another popular option is the Bayshore Bikeway that takes cyclists along San Diego Bay. The 24-mile route starts at the Coronado Ferry Landing and takes you past iconic sites including the city’s vibrant downtown and beaches like Silver Strand State Beach.
Mountains to Sea Trail: Orange County In the heart of bustling Orange County you can experience the Mountains to Seas Trail, which is located in the designated open space of The Irvine Ranch. This hidden biking gem starts in Weir Canyon and ends 22 miles later in Upper Newport Bay, connecting one of the nation’s most spectacular networks of urban parks, trails and preserved lands. Along the way, you can discover rugged oak-filled canyons, single tracks and dirt access roads for all skill levels while enjoying unforgettable mountain and ocean views.
“The Strand”: Venice and Santa Monica
If the famed SoCal beaches stretching from Venice Beach north to Santa Monica look familiar (even though you’ve never visited), just chalk it up to a case of Hollywood déjà vu. Meaning you’ve undoubtedly seen The Strand and iconic sights like the Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach and the Venice Boardwalk in countless movies and TV shows. Now is your chance to experience them firsthand from your bike as you cruise like a local up “The Strand.” Don’t expect a physically challenging ride, but do anticipate being endlessly entertained by the “Only in LA” beachside spectacle on display every day.
State Street Bike Path & Coast Route: Santa Barbara
Bike-friendly Santa Barbara makes it easy to go car-free and enjoy the multiple attractions of the American Riviera. Two rides that make a perfect pairing include the State Street bike path and the Coast Route. Cruising towards the beach along State Street puts you practically on the doorsteps of inviting cafes and boutiques. When you reach Stearns Wharf, turn onto the Coast Route (alongside Cabrillo Boulevard) to enjoy a dazzling stretch of beach and beachfront park leading to the Andree Clark Bird Refuge. If you’re up for a longer ride, continue on to scenic beach towns like Summerland and Carpinteria.
By California Travel & Tourism Commission
The California Travel & Tourism Commission is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. Learn more here: www.visitcalifornia.com
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