Things to Do in Florida During the Motorcycle RalliesPosted On: Aug 15, 2019
The Sunshine State boasts such world-known motorcycle events as the Daytona Beach Bike Week and Biketoberfest among many others.
Although Florida is the flattest state in the US, its sunny weather and incredibly diverse and robust motorcycle culture make it one of the prime motorcycling destinations in America.
The Sunshine State boasts such world-known motorcycle events as the Daytona Beach Bike Week and Biketoberfest among many others. These rallies have elevated Daytona Beach to the status of one of America’s motorcycling capitals, and rightfully so.
Aside from the motorcycle events across the state, Miami and Orlando, the two most prominent cities in Florida, both have a laidback, motorcycle-friendly vibe. Additionally, the Florida Keys and the Everglades National Park in Southern Florida offer their own unique riding experiences.
Florida isn’t just about large and loud motorcycle rallies and the see-and-be-seen culture.
Home to paradise-like nature reserves and National Parks, as well as a vibrant arts and cuisine scene, Florida is an ideal destination for both leisure and adventure seekers.
To get the best out of your Florida trip, pair one or two motorcycle events you want to attend with some scenic rides, beach holidays, and local entertainment.
Even though most riders find other regions of the US more exciting for motorcycle rides, here are some fun facts about Florida to help you feel more connected to this sunshine state:
- Florida means “flowery” in Spanish
- The highest point in Florida, the Britton Hill, is only 345 feet above sea level
- Florida has more golf courses than any other state in America. It is also home to the World Golf Hall of Fame
- Jacksonville is the largest city in the US in terms of physical size
- The Everglades National Park is the only place on Earth where alligators and crocodiles live alongside one another
- Saint Augustine is the oldest European settlement in North America
- Orlando attracts more visitors than any other theme park destination in the US
- Mechanical refrigeration was invented in Apalachicola, Florida, in 1851
- Florida Gatorade and sunscreen were invented in Florida
- One of the Florida Keys, Key Largo, is known as the Dive Capital of the World
- Florida produces 75% of all oranges in the US and accounts for 40% of the world’s orange juice supply
To help you plan your motorcycle tour in Florida, we've put together a list of the most noteworthy Florida motorcycle rallies and things to see and do between the events. Keep in mind that while the weather in Florida stays warm all year round, some rain can be always be expected and it gets sweltering and humid during the summer months.
Pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and light summer wear before you go.
Note on helmet laws: In Florida, anyone over 21 years of age is allowed to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, although anyone on EagleRider rentals is required to have their helmets on any time the bike is in motion.
Here are some of our favorite Florida motorcycle rallies, routes, and things to experience.
Daytona Beach Bike Week -- Daytona Beach, March
Daytona Beach Bike Week is one of the largest and most popular motorcycle rallies in America. Taking place every year during the first or second week of March, Daytona Bike Week attracts over half a million motorcyclists each year.
The ten-day rally is filled with motorcycle rides and shows, motorcycle racing, live music concerts, street events, and parties.
Much like the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Daytona Bike Week has a long history and was originally founded around motorcycle racing.
In 1937 the first motorcycle race called the Daytona 200 took place on a paved and beach course in Daytona Beach. Ever since, with only a brief interruption during World War II, the annual event has been going strong.
Daytona International Speedway is still one of the main attractions of Bike Week to this day, offering spectacular races, shows, and stunts.
During Daytona Bike Week one of the most popular motorcycle rides is the Ormond Scenic Loop. It begins in Ormond Beach and loops around the Halifax River, crossing Tomoka State Park and Bulow Creek State Park along the Old Dixie Highway and John Anderson Drive. Ormond Scenic Loop is a thirty-mile ride offering diverse natural scenery of coastal Florida, making for a perfect afternoon trip.
For a longer ride out of Daytona Beach, head towards Miami on Highway 1 to enjoy the sunny ocean views and come back via Naples and Route 75 to experience the Everglades National Park, a stunning natural paradise of lush green wetlands and exotic local fauna.
While staying in Daytona Beach, visit the Destination Daytona pavilion boasting an impressive 109,000-square feet Harley-Davidson showroom and the World Center of Racing, and enjoy the atmosphere walking down the Daytona Beach boardwalk and pier.
Biketoberfest -- Daytona Beach, October
If you want to close the motorcycling season with a bang, Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach is the event to attend.
Started in 1991 as an offspring event of the Daytona Beach Bike Week, Biketoberfest is all about custom bike builds, demo rides, motorcycle shows, and of course some serious partying. Attracting over 125,000 motorcyclists each year, Biketoberfest has grown into a large and diverse motorcycle rally that welcomes anyone on two wheels.
In addition to the World Center of Racing, the famous Daytona International Speedway, Destination Daytona, as well as the scenic riding, the town also offers plenty of outdoor activities. Whether it’s golfing, paddle boarding in the Halifax River, or zip-lining in the Tuscawilla Park, Daytona Beach has something for everyone.
Leesburg Bikefest -- Leesburg, April
Claiming to be the world’s largest three-day motorcycle and music event, Leesburg Bikefest takes place in the historic Downtown Leesburg in Central Florida.
The rally attracts over 200,000 motorcyclists every year and is one-part music festival, one part biker gathering. Custom motorcycle shows, stunts, and a large vendor area are all part of the Leesburg Bikefest as well as Hot Body and tattoo contests, street food, and bar fun. Rally organizers promise over 60 live music performances throughout the event.
One of the most scenic rides around Leesburg is the Ocala Loop. Starting in Leesburg on Route 441 towards Mt. Dora and looping North via Routes 19 and 40 to Ocala, this eighty-mile loop takes you across the enchanting Ocala National Forest. The Forest is famous for its bright turquoise and aquamarine pools inviting you for a cool dip on a hot summer’s day. Hiking, boating, and snorkeling are also available in the Ocala National Forest.
If outdoor recreation isn’t your idea of fun, then head south and enjoy the big city attractions in nearby Orlando. Theme parks, vibrant nightlife, and diverse cuisine scene make Orlando a perfect introduction into the best that Florida has to offer. If you arrive late to the Leesburg Bikefest and don’t have accommodations, staying in Orlando is a great option.
Thunder Beach Rally -- Panama City Beach, Spring and Fall
Held twice a year in Panama Beach, Thunder Beach Rally is a free event welcoming riders from all over the US. Live entertainment, factory bike demo rides, a Miss Thunder contest, motorcycle stunts, and local street food are all part of the rally fun.
Attracting some 50-60,000 riders in the Spring and Fall, Thunder Beach Rally is considered to be the friendliest and most inclusive motorcycle gatherings in Florida. According to some, this is a smaller, friendlier version of Daytona Beach Bike Week.
Panama City Beach is a popular holiday destination famous for its miles of pristine white sand beaches along the turquoise blue water, so pack your swimsuit and sunscreen. If you aren’t sure whether to attend Thunder Beach Rally in the Spring or the Fall, ride there in October to avoid the Spring Break crowds and choose to attend the Leesburg Bikefest in spring instead.
If you are coming in from the north, ride Route 98 from Pensacola to Panama City Beach. Dubbed the Emerald Coast for its dazzling blue-green water, this is the quintessential riding experience in Florida. As you ride along, make sure to stop in Destin and try the delicious local seafood.
Take a break from Rallies
If you are looking to explore more of the Sunshine State than just the motorcycle rally destinations, include Miami, the Florida Keys, and Orlando as destinations. Miami is a city that never sleeps, and it’s spacious, pastel-colored boulevards and the world-famous Ocean Drive are a must-visit when in Florida.
The Florida Keys offer the ultimate Sunshine State experience of island-hopping, lazing around on the beach, and sampling fresh seafood. Orlando, situated right in the middle of the state, is another excellent destination where you can relax, unwind, and plan your next motorcycle adventure. EagleRider has motorcycle rental locations in both Miami and Orlando.
Miami and the Florida Keys
Miami and Miami Beach are two prime motorcycling destinations in Florida if you love exploring the local four wheel and motorcycle scene, trying out some heavenly Cuban food, and soaking up the sun. Miami is a fantastic place to experience the melting pot of American, Cuban, and Haitian cultures, admire local art, shop, and relax on the beach.
After exploring Miami, head South and ride the Florida Keys. The Florida Keys are a stunning coral reef archipelago of small islands connected by the Florida Keys Scenic Highway. The Highway begins in Miami and ends in Key West, the last island in the archipelago located just 90 miles off the coast of Cuba.
The Florida Keys Scenic Highway takes you along multiple islands and the breath-taking Seven Mile Bridge, the longest bridge on the way. You can either ride to Key West in one day or stop at one of the islands, have a relaxing tropical beach day, stay the night, and continue the journey in the morning.
It’s worth staying overnight to catch the colorful sunset paired with pristine white sand and heading to local bars and pubs for some evening fun with the locals. Morning on Key West will greet you with roosters and hot humid air. Key West is unlike any other place in America and is worth exploring for longer than a few hours.
An impressive motorcycle destination near Miami is the Everglades National Park. Located south of Miami City, the Everglades is the third largest National Park in America encompassing over 2,300 square miles of wetlands and mangrove forests.
Home to alligators, panthers, American crocodiles, and other exotic fauna, the Everglades is an incredible green expanse of wilderness at the southern tip of Florida. If you have the time, be sure to book an air boat tour across the Everglades to truly experience all that this unique Park has to offer.
To see the Everglades from the saddle of your bike, take Route 41 from Miami to Naples. This two-lane backcountry road takes you through the core of the Everglades, offering panoramic views of the pristine natural wonderland. Be careful of alligators, flamingos, and other wildlife on the road, and make sure your tank is full as there are no gas stations until Naples.
Another great route out of Miami is Route 27 towards Moore Haven. It clips the eastern side of the Everglades and meanders across mellow southern Florida scenery of sugarcane fields and cattle ranches with little towns dotted along the way. Some of the mom and pop restaurants and diners on Route 27 are worth a stop if you’re looking to grab a bite for lunch.
If you want to see the city and visit the famous Ocean Drive, Miami South Beach, and iconic hotels and restaurants on the beach walk, this 60-mile loop will cover you for a great day ride.
Known as the “theme park capital of the world”, Orlando is a city of leisure, fun, and entertainment. As the tourist hub of Florida, some of Orlando’s main attractions are Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Legoland, and Orlando Eye, a giant observation wheel offering breath-taking views of the city.
Orlando isn’t just about Disney and Universal, however. Home to the state-of-the-art Kennedy Space Center (only a short ride from Daytona Beach), several wildlife reserves, and a vibrant arts and performance community, Orlando is as dynamic as it is entertaining. It’s also one of EagleRider’s largest hubs for thousands of riders who want to ride in Florida.
Located in Central Florida, Orlando is within convenient distance to all the major motorcycle events in the state from Daytona Beach (1 hour) to Panama Beach (5.5 hours) as well as Miami (4 hours).
Some of the best rides around Orlando include Routes 441 and 19 leading across the fairytale-like Ocala Forest and Routes 528 and 1 along the coast. For our favorite Orlando rides, see our detailed Orlando rides page.
With several large international motorcycle rallies taking place in Florida each year, the Sunshine State is easily one of the best motorcycling destinations in America. Best of all, you can ride in Florida all year round as the weather stays pleasant even during the winter months. Whether you are headed for the Daytona Beach Bike Week or simply want to enjoy the best that Florida has to offer on two wheels, the Sunshine State will not disappoint.
See where else you can head in winter months – view our guide to Winter Rides and Getaways on a Motorcycle.
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