The start of Daytona Bike Week got those of us up north us thinking that this event is the start of event season! It also made us think about all the other motorcycle events/rallies across the country and we’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Rally Destinations for 2014. While you wait to thaw out this might be a great list to get your vacation juices flowing. Enjoy!
1. Sturgis, Aug. 4-10, Sturgis, South Dakota
The granddaddy of all the destinations you should have on your calendar is the Sturgis Rally. The Black Hills provide a perfect backdrop for day rides, from Mt. Rushmore to Spearfish Canyon. Lazelle and Main Streets are the epicenter of all things motorcycle, while the party goes 24/7 in surrounding campgrounds like the Legendary Buffalo Chip and Broken Spoke Saloon. If you just go to party then the legendary musical festival at the Buffalo Chip alone justifies the ride: Motley Crue, Alice Cooper, John Mayall and Lynard Skynard are all set to appear plus every other bar has some belting out live tunes. Tack-on the bikes, babes and beer and you have even more reason to get off your butt and join the party. Is that’s not enough to get your motor running? How about the fact that this is the 74th annual Sturgis Rally and you’re not getting any younger.
2. Daytona Bike Week, March 7-16, Daytona Beach, FL
The first big rally of the season. Fun in the sun, partying on Main Street, riding your motorcycle on the beach, from Destination Daytona to Sopotnick’s Cabbage Patch, Bike Week provides a break from the winter-time blues. The 73rd annual Bike Week at Daytona Beach will kick off the year in style. Bike Week represents the start of the riding season with its unique combination of American Iron culture and the sporting side of motorcycles. The opening rounds of AMA Pro Racing Flat Track and Superbike (which features the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XR1200 Racing Series) championships as well as a round of Supercross take place at the fabled Daytona International Speedway. If racing isn’t your thing then spend the afternoon cruising the beach before heading to Main Street and all the debauchery you can wrap your head around.
3. Laughlin River Run, April 23-27, Laughlin, NV
The 32nd Annual Laughlin River Run is a great way to start the rally season out west. The epicenter of the weekend is the main drag along casino row but live music and plenty of bike shows combined with the small-town scene that gives Laughlin a more-mellow vibe than some of the larger rallies. Attendance was up again in 2013 so the vibe around town is that the River Run is gaining momentum again. If you do make it out there, be sure to drop by the town of Oatman for a blast from the past and then scurry back to town to jam out with Great White, Los Lobos, Lynyrd Skynyrd or Jason Aldean.
4. Panama City Beach, April 30-May 4, Panama City Beach, FL
PCB is another one of the more popular rallies in Florida that features some pretty sweet ride routes along the Gulf Coast and a hell of a kick-off party held on the beach at each event. Live music from Big Engine & Mustang Sally headline a number of great bands at venues throughout town. Bikini Bike Washes are in abundance where a bevy of beauties scrubbing-off the bugs in the interest of charity on every corner. The annual Rat’s Hole bike show is a popular afternoon event held every year at the Rat’s Hole Bar.
5. Americade, June 2-7, Lake George, NY
The self-proclaimed “Best Riding Event in the U.S.” reveals that Americade draws a different crowd than a typical rally. This event caters to touring riders and a more family-friendly atmosphere centered more on the pleasure of riding than tipping a few back and talking about it. You will see more Goldwings and Touring machines than you will choppers and G-strings and that is the foundation of Americade. Don’t get us wrong, we like a good thong as much as the next guy but we also like to ride and that’s where the thousands of miles of roads twisting through the Adirondacks ensures this rally has everyone covered. It also features a huge motorcycle touring trade show expo with over 200 vendors on scene.
6. Republic of Texas Rally, June 12-15, Austin, TX
Everything is bigger in Texas. The Republic of Texas Rally features the “Longest Parade of Motorcycles Known to Mankind.” Make no mistake about it ladies and gentlemen, the ROT is a rowdy, old school biker fun fest held in Texas’ state capitol that you don’t want to miss. You can get your kicks however you darn well please thanks to a range of fun things to do including rides around the Texas Hill Country to partying on 6th Street or the craziness happening at the Travis County Expo Center: They do know a thing or to about throwing a party in Texas which is why they have Sammy Hagar playing live on Saturday night.
7. Laconia Bike Week, June 14-22, Laconia, New Hampshire
The oldest motorcycle rally around celebrates its 91st anniversary this year. Laconia hosts one of the biggest biker gatherings in the Northeast with attractions that extend beyond the leather clad biker scene. It features AMA Hillclimb Championship events, live concerts at Broken Spoke Saloon and Vintage Racing that is sure to fill your soul with the sweet smell of burnt oil and race gas. Weirs Beach and the Lobster Pound are epicenters of the action downtown and the riding in the surrounding area is not to be missed. Take the time to ride up Mt. Washington because that view is a must see.
8. J&P Open House, June 27-29, Anamosa, IA
The J&P Cycles Open House Rally continues to grow every year so 2014 should be the biggest one yet. The name of the game at J&P is the camaraderie of the ride so this event provides a family friendly atmosphere. Bike Shows, stunt shows and tons of displays from the hottest manufacturers, bike builders and OEMs take center stage as over 30-thousand attendees participate in the biggest rally in Iowa.
9. Arizona Bike Week, April 2-6, Scottsdale, AZ
This week-long has quickly grown in popularity. The Arizona biker scene is rider friendly and the surrounding desert offers up spectacular riding opportunities no matter which direction you go. Arizona Bike Week signed big name entertainers like ZZ Top, Big & Rich, Lynyrd Skynyrd along with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts to play this year. If you are looking for some serious fun in the sun out west then Arizona is a fail-safe destination for 2014.
10. Lone Star Rally, Nov. 6-9, Galveston, TX
The last big biker blowout of the season is the Lone Star Rally. It has a Mardi Gras-style feel thanks to the balcony-laden entertainment district known as The Strand. Since Galveston restored the Seawall, the Lone Star Rally has really been growing in popularity with two primary locations for events and an infusion of star power. Jesse James and the Sons of Anarchy cast make appearances all weekend while live music from Jasmine Cain, Jared Blake and the Nirvana Experience will keep the party going until the wee hours of the morning.