True motorcycle lovers live for the rush of the open road, but when the ride is done, they like to kick it with other like-minded two-wheel freaks, express their common passions, check out bike shows, and just shoot the breeze at rallies across the country. Back in the day, a bunch of bikers rolling into town used to mean trouble, but these days it signals potential marketing opportunities for deep-pocketed corporations and, usually, lots of Benjamins for the locals. Oh, yeah, and flat-out fun for the attendees.

But that doesn't mean every random assembly of riders—and dozens of hoedowns have popped up over the last few years—is worth the effort, so we've come up with a few criteria over the years: A) The route to get there has to be scenic. B) There's gotta be good riding once we get to the location. C) We'll need a full slate of activities onsite to entertain our ADD-addled brains. We've narrowed the list down to a few favorites that check most of those boxes, many of which happen to be so-called AMA National Gypsy Tour events usually built around separate AMA-sanctioned races with long histories. This year's first Gypsy Tour event was Daytona Beach Bike Week in March.

Remember to make sure your bike is up for the ride, stock up on sunscreen and water, and check your ego once you get there. Whether you’re a casual rider or a hard-core rally rat, these seven rallies are sure to get your motor running.

Daytona Bike Week • March 8–17 • Daytona Beach, FL
Bikers riding down street at Daytona Bike Week.
Daytona Bike Week traditionally kicks off the start of riding season in the US and is a good excuse for lots of people to crawl out of their garage after a long winter.Andrew Cherney

Yep, you missed it; the first stop on the AMA Gypsy Tour was Daytona Beach Bike Week in March. For more than 70 years, this event has traditionally marked the start of the riding—and rally—season. Sure, it's Florida, but what Daytona lacks in scenery it makes up in activities: There's literally a dozen (if not more) bike shows including the world-famous Rat's Hole Custom Bike Show, demo rides, all kinds of music, and, at last count, five completely different types of (official) racing, including flat track, roadracing, supercross, drag racing, and vintage racing. For people watching (or copious amounts of jello shots, if that's your thing) Main Street is a must, but there's certainly other stuff to see. First held in 1937, the rally attracts 500,000 bikers, all celebrating the sunny climes and, for some, the first ride on their bike since winter ended. With balmy temps and nearby tourist attractions like the Kennedy Space Center, Silver Springs State Park, and all that Disney stuff, Daytona Bike Week draws riders from all over the country—and the world. It started life as a motorcycle beach race, and racing still dominates the calendar for this week, most of it happening at Daytona International Speedway.

Pro Tip: I-95 and I-4 are traffic nightmares. Take SR 46 in Seminole County eastbound to pick up SR 415 and get to roughly the same area as I-4 in Daytona. Don't miss at least one day of coleslaw wrestling at Sopotnick's Cabbage Patch. For a full schedule of events: officialbikeweek.com.

Myrtle Beach Bike Week • May 10–19 • Myrtle Beach, SC

Laid-back Southern scenery, moderate temps, a variety of bike events, and a helluva rocking music scene help explain why there are three separate bike weeks going down in Myrtle Beach every year. The scenery along South Carolina's eastern coastline would be enough to suck in any non-rider for a quick trip, but for the hundreds of thousands of bikers flocking to the Grand Strand, it's V-twin nirvana. The annual Spring Rally draws mostly Harley-Davidson fans, many of them chilling at Murrells Inlet south of Myrtle Beach, but there's also drag racing right on the sand from Wednesday to Saturday with more than 10 different classes going off, as well as custom bike shows, tons of live music, and some of the best biker bars this side of the Mississippi. Myrtle Beach gets props for also being a long-running historical event, and touring the coastline of Grand Strand has been a time-honored tradition for MBBW riders for more than 75 years. You can also check out a slew of other destinations within a few hours' ride, like wildlife reserves, the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, and even a couple of castles for the history buffs in your riding group.

Pro Tip: Looking to get down and dirty? The Rathole Bar turns into a 15-acre field during Bike Week, going off with bike races, hot-dog-eating events, mud wrestling, and wet T-shirt contests. You know, the good stuff. For more info, see: myrtlebeachbikeweek.com/about-mbbw.

Americade Touring Rally • June 4–8 • Lake George, NY
Motorcycles in front of the Adirondack Mountains at the Americade Touring Rally
Set in the pristine Adirondack Mountains, Americade pulls out all the stops when it comes to mapping out awesome rides in the area.Courtesy of Americade/AMA

The name should tell you everything; this is a rally focussed on riding, and that's why we like it. For some reason Americade doesn't make a lot of top-10-type lists but that's what happens when you have non-riders scribbling these so-called best-of articles; they just don't know the good stuff. And trust us when we say Americade is worthy of the accolades, from its scenic view of Lake George to its perfect location as a base for any number of awesome rides (some into Canada) around the Adirondack Mountains that surround it. You can sign up for either guided or unguided rides, poker runs, charity rides, and all kinds of demo rides too. This event bills itself as the "world's largest multi-brand motorcycle touring rally," and you'll definitely spot all kinds of different marques roaming the streets, with more than 50,000 registered riders and as many as 100,000 fellow partygoers packing the place. Another thing we like about Americade (also an AMA Gypsy Tour stop) is that it's not all about posing or loud pipes; to keep the peace between the tour organizers and the locals, all parties have agreed to keep things down by restricting the kinds of exhaust systems allowed. Seems pretty strict, but it hasn't caused us any problems in the past.

Pro Tip: The twisty-fied Vermont High Gaps ride is a good bet; we also like riding up to Burlington, Vermont, hopping a ferry and taking a long cruise around super-scenic Lake Champlain. For details, see: americade.com.

Laconia Motorcycle Week • June 8–16 • Laconia, NH
Bikers in the streets of Laconia New Hampshire for Laconia Motorcycle Week.
Taking the title for the oldest US bike rally is Laconia which debuted back in 1916—though it did cease operations for a few years in the 1960s.Courtesy of Laconia Motorcycle Week/AMA

It may not be as big as Sturgis or Daytona for attendance, but Laconia makes the list partly because it lays claim to being the oldest bike rally in the country, and partly because we just like saying Lake Winnipesaukee (say it!), where it's based. But hold on, don't think of this gig as a quaint, sleepy New England scene; Laconia is no stranger to weird and fun events, and it's famous for its Biggest Beer Belly contest. Lookie-loos should also head to Weirs Beach along Lakeside Avenue, where all the best people watching takes place. Ninety-six years on, Laconia Motorcycle Week still packs in a full slate of activities for thrill-seekers to participate in, with lots of races on the menu, including flat track, SuperMotard, hill climbs, and the 96th running of the Loudon Classic at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, allegedly the longest-running race in America. If that's not your bag, there's plenty of good riding in these parts, including a tree-lined cruise along the state's largest lake. New Hampshire's finest two-wheel get-together dates back to 1916, though it had to take a few years off after riots between motorcycle gangs and police in 1965. But these days, LMCW is the epitome of kinder, gentler family-friendly biker events.

Pro Tip: Don't miss riding the Mount Washington Auto Road, which climbs the highest peak in the Northeast (6,288 feet). For two days during the rally it's open for motorcycles only, but be warned, it can get super chilly up there. For more on the rally, visit laconiamcweek.com.

ROT (Republic of Texas) Biker Rally • June 13–16 • Austin, TX

It may not have the pedigree or the dusty, historical gravitas of some of these other grand ol’ rallies, but with 200K-plus riders in attendance, the Republic of Texas Biker Rally certainly has the popularity thing going on. Another plus in its favor: No kids are allowed. Yep, this biker rally is adults only, just as God intended (though teens 13 ages and up can get limited access). The main event is held at the Travis County Expo Center, with ticket admission through a good old-fashioned turnstile, and it’s billed as being the biggest ticketed bike event.

Texas-style chow, AMA SuperMoto racing, the ROT AMD Qualifier Custom Bike Show, parts vendors, a tattoo expo—there’s a ton of stuff to see and do here, and even non-bikers can get into the top-notch world-class musical entertainment (Willie, Waylon, and Jerry Lee have all played here). The custom bike shows, food courts, and camping are all in one huge fenced-off area so you can’t help but make friends here. Apart from the big racing and music scene, the event is widely known for its downtown Austin bike parade, which shuts off more than 50 city blocks and ends on Congress Avenue in front of the Texas State Capitol, where you can bet a rockin’ biker street party will break out.

Pro Tip: Get your butt in the giant motorcycle parade to the state capital (which was Guinness World Record-setting deal in 2006) especially if you like breathing fumes. Get all the details at: rotrally.com.

Riders in front of mountains at the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway.
The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway outside of Sturgis is one of those bucket-list rides you have to ride to believe.Courtesy of Sturgis Buffalo Chip

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally • August 2–11 • Sturgis, SD

Cliché as it may sound, this is the granddaddy of rallies for a reason. With a stunning setting in South Dakota’s Black Hills, surrounded by miles upon miles of fantastic roads to ride and a mind-blowing slate of activities firing off all week long, the Sturgis Rally truly has something for everyone. Sturgis has been around since 1938, and every August the small town in South Dakota typically swells to around 500,000 people. Even if you’re not into Harleys, there are huge splashes of other colors going on within the sea of orange and black, and if you like music, you’ve come to the right place; an enviable bill of entertainment unfolds all week long at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip Campground (dubbed the Best Party Anywhere). This year even Snoop Dogg will be hitting the stage along with the likes of Styx and Kid Rock.

It’s a bucket-list event—a full-on motorcycle experience in the middle of a world-class riding location. Toss in the various drag racing events, hill climbs, American Flat Track, hooligan contests, bike shows, and art exhibits, and you’ll be struggling to see it all in 10 days.

Pro Tip: In real life, Sturgis is normally a small town (population 7,000) so count on sitting in traffic during your visit to Main Street. The same goes for popular attractions like Mount Rushmore and Devils Tower—go early in the day on weekdays to beat the crowds. For more info, click over to: sturgismotorcyclerally.com.

Bikers riding down road for the Four Corners Rally.
Dramatic landscapes, world-class twisties and cool old mining towns make the Four Corners Rally a top desintation for your Labor Day weekend.Four Corners Rally/Nick Iglesias

Four Corners Motorcycle Rally • Labor Day Weekend (August 30–September 1) • Durango, CO

The Four Corners Rally gets our nod mainly for its location—we just really love riding in this part of the country and we’ll use any excuse to get out there. For hundreds of miles in any direction, you’ll be treated to some of the finest, twistiest blacktop in the land, including the famous, epically kinked Million Dollar Highway with its 284 turns in less than 80 miles. Who’s gonna say no to that? The entire area boasts dozens of old mining towns, dramatic vistas with 10,000-foot passes through the Rockies, and Durango is situated a short hop from the Four Corners Monument—where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado meet. To the west is Mesa Verde National Park and Monument Valley, while to the north is the 2-million-acre San Juan National Forest.

The rally has changed names over the years, but it’s still a doozy of an event with all kinds of other activities to pack the weekend calendar. Durango Harley-Davidson serves as base camp for many of the events, but the Sky Ute Casino Resort, downtown Durango, and the La Plata County Fairgrounds also play host to the poker runs, stunt shows, a Hooligan Dirt Dash, lots of musical acts, custom bike shows, vendors, and more. If you ask us, it all makes for a pretty dang memorable Labor Day weekend.

See all the details at: fourcornersmotorcyclerally.com.

Honorable Mentions

Bikes Blues & BBQ • Fayetteville, AR

The world's largest charity motorcycle rally that benefits women, children, and underserved members of the community, plus there's great riding around the Ozarks. bikesbluesandbbq.org.

Bikes at the AMA Vintage Days in Lexington, Ohio.
AMA Vintage Days has it all—swap meet, racing, entertainment, bike shows—and is also a stop on the Gypsy Tour.Courtesy of AMA

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days • Lexington, OH

The largest swap meet, national championship vintage racing, shows, stunts, and more. amavintagemotorcycledays.com.

Bikes on red carpet at the Roland Sands Moto Classic in Huntington Beach, California.
Roland Sands puts on a great weekend event with the Moto Beach Classic, which features bands, racing, art, and more.Courtesy of RSD

Roland Sands Moto Classic • Huntington Beach, CA

A weekend motorcycle culture mashup and destination festival with racing, bike shows, art shows and a full music lineup. Is this the new rally model? rolandsands.com.

The Handbuilt Show • Austin, TX

Not technically a rally, but the aforementioned show anchors a weekend of MotoGP racing, rides, and contests all set in the wildly entertaining hub of Austin. revivalcycles.com.

Bikers riding down street at the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Rally
Pictured is the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Rally, which along with the Women on Wheels Ride-In serves to unite female riders.Courtesy of the Mid-Atlantic Rally

Mid-Atlantic Women’s Motorcycle Rally (Virginia), Women On Wheels Ride-In (various)

The Women On Wheels Ride-In is now in its second decade; the Mid-Atlantic Women's Motorcycle Rally is also coming up on its 27th year. Both serve to unite female riders. mawmr.org, www.womenonwheels.org.

The remaining 2019 AMA National Gypsy Tour schedule includes:
April 24–28: Laughlin River Run, Laughlin, NV June 4–8: Americade Motorcycle Touring Rally, Lake George, NY June 8–16: Laconia Motorcycle Week, Laconia, NH June 20–23: Thunder in the Valley, Johnstown, PA July 5–7: AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Honda, Lexington, OH August 2–11: Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, SD