When it’s time to sample some southern hospitality, one way to do it is to visit the towns and out-of-the-way places found along the highways and byways when taking South Carolina motorcycle trips. From mountain vistas and bubbling streams to orchards, sand dunes, and seagulls, Palmetto State offers a menu of exciting treats to please your desire for adventure on the open road.
1. Myrtle Beach/Southport Ferry/Wilmington
Distance: 260 miles
Time to Ride: Full day
This one-day trip takes you near the coast and is one of the best motorcycle rides in Myrtle Beach. From Myrtle Beach, make your first stop in Southport, North Carolina. From there, buy a ticket and take the ferry ride, along with your bike, to the island. Southport, named “America’s Happiest Seaside Town” by Coastal Living Magazine, is steeped in history and postcard-perfect beauty. Things to do include a visit to the North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport, the Oak Island Lighthouse, which was constructed in 1957, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, the Fort Johnston-Southport Museum & Visitor’s Center, and Waterfront Park. Once you return, you can continue to Wilmington or return to Myrtle Beach.
2. Myrtle Beach to Georgetown, SC
Distance: 38 miles
Time to Ride: 1 hour
Myrtle Beach motorcycle trips have a lot to offer history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and those who appreciate natural beauty. For a scenic ride along the coast, taking US Highway 17 Bypass S and US-17 S, the trip from Myrtle Beach to Georgetown offers beautiful scenery, which includes historic homes, stately southern plantations, and museums. The area is steeped in history and the road trip to the third oldest city in South Carolina offers plenty of lessons. Georgetown was founded in 1729 and resides on the Sampit River. While visiting the city, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the Gullah culture, tour Hopsewee Plantation, a National Historic Landmark, and visit the Kaminski House Museum, housed in a vintage colonial home from the 1760s.
3. Myrtle Beach to Conway, SC via US-501 N
Distance: 14 miles
Time to Ride: 30 minutes
For those who want to take a quick ride to a lovely and relaxing destination, Conway offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city. The paved two-lane highway offers open road driving with a 50-mph speed limit and minimal traffic lights. Situated along the Waccamaw River, park your bike, and enjoy an afternoon walk or a riverboat tour on the Conway Riverwalk. Before heading back to Myrtle Beach, enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants.
4. Myrtle Beach to Pawleys Island
Distance: 27 miles
Time to Ride: 1 hour
Myrtle Beach is close to many nearby destinations with fun things to do, making it the perfect spot to start short, or long, Myrtle Beach motorcycle trips. This short ride to the barrier island known as Pawleys Island taking US Hwy 17 Bypass S and US-17 S is yet another way to experience the east coast and its interesting destinations. This route leads to the sugar sand beaches and sand dunes of the island. Once you arrive, take a spin through Pawleys Island Historic District, or find a parking spot and go for a swim or rent a kayak. Back on the mainland, continue your trip with a visit to the zoo and gardens at Brookgreen Gardens and the Moorish-style mansion at Huntington Beach State Park, both located in Murrells Inlet.
5. Highway 28: Tri-State Tour
Distance: 29 miles
Time to Ride: 1 hour
Combine the experience of riding in three states – South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina – on this relatively short 29-mile Tri-State Tour. This route is a motorcyclist’s dream come true to ride and relax amid the natural beauty of lush forests, cool waterfalls, and meandering rivers while covering terrain in multiple states. You’ll experience the wildlife and landscape of Sumter National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest. The highway offers some long sweeping turns along with tight curves to keep you focused on the road ahead.
6. Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway
Distance: 194 miles
Time to Ride: Half to full day
For an abundance of scenery everywhere you look, the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway is filled with things to see along the entire route. You will be traveling through the northwest portion of the state’s high-country region, which features views of forests, lakes, mountains, waterfalls, and resident wildlife. From Table Rock State Park, enjoy the views of the thick forest and undulating mountains within the Blue Ridge Escarpment area. The road is primarily a straight ride with minimal twists and turns. If you want to expand the ride, Route 11 connects to other routes, including US-276 and Highway 28.
7. Savannah River Scenery
Distance: 84 miles
Time to Ride: 1-2 hours
A nice, quiet, and peaceful ride awaits along Hwy 28 and SC-81. The ride takes you through part of the Sumter National Forest and near the Savannah River. It is a fun, yet isolated drive with minimal traffic that gives the impression, at times, that you are the only person on the road. Gentle sweepers add to the relaxed atmosphere as you make your way towards Anderson.
8. Route 61
Distance: 51 miles
Time to Ride: 1 hour
Route 61, also known as the Ashley River Road National Scenic Byway, is a jewel in the crown of rides, considered one of the best motorcycle rides in South Carolina. The ride touches on South Carolina’s culture and history. You will travel through a tree-lined and canopied National Register Historic District, past state parks and villages, and you’ll cross Lake Keowee Middleton. Stop for a break and a tour of Middleton Place Plantation and Magnolia Plantation and Gardens.
Traveling South Carolina’s network of scenic highways allows cyclists ample opportunities to experience and explore popular routes as well as hidden gems. While highways and back roads are accessible year-round, the state’s diverse landscape highlights spring for new foliage and blooms, and autumn for the colorful changing of the leaves. Whenever you plan South Carolina motorcycle trips, you are sure to find destinations you won’t forget.