California offers many gorgeous drives, but riding a bike can be the best way to see some areas that you might miss in a car. These five scenic bike rides are for cyclists of all levels and will take you along beautiful coastlines and gorgeous landscapes.
If you've always wanted to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, now's your chance. What better way to enjoy the ocean breeze than from your bike? With views of the Bay and Alcatraz Island, enjoy the ride from San Francisco into Marin County's Sausalito, a quaint seaside town at the north end of the bridge. Once there, park your bike and dine at any of the shore's many seafood restaurants or wander down the main street full of shops. If you decide you're not up for the ride back over the bridge, hop on the ferry and cruise back to San Francisco instead. Bike rentals are available near Fisherman's Wharf.
There are plenty of options for biking near and around Lake Tahoe, but the bike path on the northwest side of the lake from Tahoe City down to Meeks Bay will keep you at the water's edge. Start at the Truckee River Dam and head south, where you'll find picnic spots on the lake, campgrounds and beaches. (And if you're in the mood for a little gambling, head across the state line to the other side of Lake Tahoe and you're in Nevada!) Bike rentals are available at several locations around the lake.
A huge bicycle community, Santa Barbara has no shortage of rides to choose from. But to get a real feel for this city's laid-back, coastal vibe, take advantage of Cabrillo Beachway, the pedestrian and bike path along the shore. This route also takes you through historic downtown Santa Barbara and onto Stearn's Wharf, the oldest operating wharf on the west coast. At just under five miles, this easy ride is perfect for the whole family. Bike rentals are available.
At 30 miles the American River Parkway Trail from Old Sacramento to Folsom is longer than others, but it's an easy ride on a paved surface, perfect for kids and adults. The trail, which is shared with hikers and horseback riders, takes you through several parks as you bike along the American River. To finish the route at Folsom Lake, you will face a few hills, but the ride back is downhill!
Combine two fun activities: cycling and wine tasting! Avoid the crowded highway and all the cars by riding on Silverado Trail, which takes you through countless vineyards in the beautiful Napa Valley. Pack a picnic lunch and stop for some wining and dining along the way at one of the several wineries. For bike rentals and route information, head to Calistoga to start your day.
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