Cycling The Pacific Coast


Jake Morr


June 1, 2024

The Pacific Coast bike tour starts in Vancouver, Canada and ends at the Mexican border or the bottom of Baja. In The route will take you through coastal views of the Pacific Northwest, old growth redwood forests of Northern California, and the scenic beaches of Southern California and Mexico. For some, this is the first leg of a longer tour from Alaska to Argentina.

Most people ride north to south for more favorable weather and winds; ending around the southern border in the late fall and early winter. Timing wise, this allows cyclist to continue east along the Southern Tier bike route without the worry of extreme heat.

Why The Pacific Coast Is Great For Beginners

This is a very common route with maps for sale and lots of accommodations. Hiker/Biker (“Hike or Bike” in California) campsites offer affordable stays in state parks, Warmshowers hosts provide free accommodations and friendly conversations, hotels and motels are abundant, food readily available, great views, and great people. What's not to like?

If you are looking to do your first tour, whether you are from the United States or abroad, the greatest benefit of this route is the number of fellow cyclists on the road. In addition to learning-by-doing, you will undoubtedly download a wealth of knowledge from other beginners and veteran cyclists along the way.

You Don’t Have To Do The Whole Thing

Some cyclists start in Alaska and end in Argentina. Some ride to the end of Baja; or stop at Mexico. Some cyclist start in San Francisco and end in San Diego; or any other combination of cities. The point is that you can make this trip your own. Access to Amtrak allows you to travel north, south, or east; LAX and SAN airports offer international and domestic flights to wherever you need to go.

If you are looking for variety, the Pacific Coast bicycle tour is for you.

What You Need

What you need depends on how you want to tour and for how long. If you’re doing a 3 day trip down the coast, you can pack pretty light. But for longer tours, most travel “self-contained”; carrying everything you need (tent, cookware, etc).

Where To Stay

Hiker/Biker campsites offer affordable stays around $5-$10 per night, and if you find a buddy or group of cyclist to ride with, splitting a regular campground becomes an affordable option as well (also opening up more locations).

Warmshowers is a global network of hosts that offer free lodging to touring cyclists . This is invaluable for those awkward spots without hiker/biker camping and around cities (where campgrounds can get a little more sketchy. If you are willing to incur the cost, hotels and motels are plentiful (although maybe with limited availability during peak travel season).

Can You Do It?

Yes. Absolutely.

Is It Worth It?

Yes. Absolutely.

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