Plan Your RV Rental San Francisco Roadtrip
San Francisco - it’s one of those names that either makes everyone say that they’ve already been there (and loved it), or can’t wait to go. Simply not going to San Francisco at some point in life just doesn’t seem to be an option. It’s a city of endless entertainment, whether that’s through music, sporting, cultural and foodie events or year-round attractions such as the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars. Whether you’re passing through on an epic American road trip or starting out with an RV rental in San Francisco and driving out from there, you’ll need plenty of time to see what needs to be seen in this city. Read on for all the useful information and links you need to plan your trip, and take a look at the On The Road tab on the right for info on local rest areas, campervan campsites and dumpstations.
Itineraries From San Francisco
Could there be anything more exciting than a massive itinerary at your fingertips, laying out the massive number of world-renowned attractions, cities and events you’re about to experience? We doubt it. Just picture that feeling of getting in the driver’s seat ready to make a start on your tour - now start planning. Here are a few of the best itinerary ideas for San Francisco and its surrounding areas that you can use as a little inspiration to get you started.
Mixed bag doesn’t even begin to cover the multitude of spaces you’ll cover on a road trip from Salt Lake City in Utah to San Francisco on the Californian coast. The views out your window will change from sparse alien-like landscapes and bizarre salt flats to the majesty of the Grand Canyon then the busy art hubs of San Francisco. Or, you could always pick up a San Francisco RV rental and do it the other way around!
Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, San Francisco - these are some of the biggest names in US travel, and you’ll see them all (and more) on this roundabout road trip that takes you the awesome way rather than the quick way. The contrasting sights of the wild open spaces and the always-on cities will keep you on your toes and your finger on the shutter button of your camera.
The Main Street of any town tends to be the place with the best sights, tastes and attractions of the city. So when you drive down the Main Street of America on Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, you’ll get a hearty filling of all things USA. While the route doesn’t technically take you all the way to San Francisco, you could easily add on the final few hours in your RV rental up the Californian coast to add this dynamic city to your itinerary.
Salt Lake City is an ideal place to start your Burning Man road trip, as you can begin your adventure long before you cross Nevada to become a temporary resident of Black Rock City. Experience the madness and excitement that typify this annual celebration of humanity, then finish your holiday with a drive over to San Francisco with your campervan.
The Burning Man Festival is, without doubt, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Nowhere and nothing else on the planet offers such a party with the festive vibe, community spirit and eco-friendly goals as Burning Man. That’s why it’s made it onto our Bucket List of road trips, and why you should definitely book a camper rental in San Francisco to get yourself there.
There’s nothing that says ‘holiday’ like time spent on a coastline, and - you guessed it - San Francisco and the Californian Coast are right up there are one of the best coastline road trips on the planet. You can start or finish your itinerary in your San Francisco Motorhome Hire in this town, but where you go from there is completely up to you.
San Francisco & Surrounds Events
There are more events and things to experience in San Francisco than there are in some entire states. This city offers an endless array of experiences, from some of the biggest sporting matches in the country, to incredible cultural festivals that reflect the town’s diversity and acceptance. Of course, this Californian city also knows how to put on a feast, which is why there are so many food and wine events in and around San Fran. And finally, the music scene adds another reason to book RV rentals in San Francisco throughout the year, as there is an endless string of concerts and performances featuring some of the most well-known names in music throughout the year.
A temporary city, a community without financial transactions, a party in the desert - the Burning Man is many things, but most of all, it’s a Bucket List experience not to be missed. This epic festival attracts thousands of free spirited people with minds as open as they are curious, where they get together and spend one week dressing up, partying and sharing resources before burning a giant effigy at the end of the festival. Many people use RV rentals in San Francisco, so be sure to book early to lock in your set of wheels that will get you there. Refer to the guides by our expert writers below to learn more about this fantastic event:
Held once every two years, the Ryder Cup is an ongoing golfing battle between Europe and the United States. Minnesota’s Hazeltine National Golf Club will host the event in 2016, after which it will travel back to Europe in 2018 and so on. It’s a great excuse to grab a motorhome and take a road trip to see this epic competition for the Cup - and more importantly, for the glory. Take a look at a piece on the Ryder Cup put together by the Motorhome Republic team - RVs and Golf, a Match Made in Holiday Heaven: Ryder Cup and Beyond.
The championship NFL game in American football has become such an event that many Americans consider it an unofficial holiday, and it’s regularly the most watched television event in the country. For those who can make it to the game in person, everything from the atmosphere to the legendary half-time show and the actual game itself make this a once-in-a-lifetime event. The 2017 match will be held in the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, which also happens to be a great city to add to any road trip itinerary. Follow the link here to find out more on the Superbowl 50 and how you can make it an RV rental adventure!
While you’re in town, you can also check out Levi’s Stadium, which is the home of the local football team - the San Francisco 49ers. It’s one of the most high-tech sporting facilities on the planet, and recently hosted the Superbowl 50 match. There are massive sporting events and concerts held here throughout the year, so be sure to check if anything’s on when you visit with your RV hire in San Francisco.
San Fran’s other major sports stadium is AT&T Park, home to the local baseball team, the San Francisco Giants. Located right on the waterfront, this venue offers awesome views at any game, and even if there’s nothing happening here while you’re visiting, you can take a guided tour for back-stage access to players areas and other places you would not usually see.
Arts & Culture
The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco proves that you don’t have to be in Japan to enjoy this celebration of springtime’s prettiest pink blooms. Usually held over two weekends every April, the event brings together Japanese and American culture, with performances, music, food and more.
What attracts more than 400,000 people, covers 13 of San Francisco’s city blocks, lasts just one day in September and can call itself the biggest fetish and leather celebration in the world? The Folsom Street Fair, held in the only place where such an event should be held. There are more than 200 exhibitors each year, each bringing a variety of products such as sex toys, clothing, accessories and more. This is an extremely welcoming community, so don’t let your nerves get the better of your curiosity and head along!
Yes, Santacon is exactly what it sounds like it is - only better. This annual event is an excuse for thousands of people to dress up in Santa Claus outfits (or other festive characters) and go on a city-wide pub crawl. It’s also known as Santapalooza, the Santa Rampage, and Santarchy, and while it’s now in more than 50 countries around the world, it all started right here in San Francisco in 1994.
Food & Wine
There are few regions as well known and respected in wines as Napa Valley. Only 1.5 hours north of San Francisco, this valley is home to no less than 400 wineries, plus a multitude of restaurants, spas and attractions to complete your trip. You could get lost amongst the vineyards and drive around in your San Francisco campervan hire for weeks simply tasting your way from one cellar door to the next, so give yourselves plenty of time for exploring if you love a good vino.
San Francisco Food Tours
One of the most fun parts of exploring a new city is discovering its foodie scene, but it can also be one of the hardest, too. When you’re short on time, and you want a quick way to find the best restaurants, bars and cafes, get yourselves onto one of the city’s food tours. There are several great options that will provide you with all of this info, as well as history on the area, and a few great tastings along the way.
Late in August every year, San Francisco delivers its best in food, wine, beer, and spirits in a world-class event that will get yours mouth watering and your eyes picking out your next treat. Take classes, watch demonstrations, visit restaurants, and eat, drink and be merry to your heart’s content.
Treasure Island is a piece of artificial land sitting in the San Francisco bay, and it’s the site of an annual music festival that runs for two days in October. Day one is all about hip hop, rap and electronica, while day two is dedicated to indie rock and rock. Many of the headlining acts are world-famous, such as Gorgon City and Deadmau5.
If you love music and being eco-friendly, the Outside Lands music festival could be the perfect event. Initiatives such as a refillable water program (to reduce bottle use), a farmer’s market and gardening workshops all run alongside a list of some of the biggest names in music. In 2015, headlining acts included Elton John, Sam Smith, and the Black Keys.
The Lost Highway Motorcycle Show and Concert is a massive festival for bikers, bike lovers, and rock fans. There’s plenty of live music, with charity rides, art exhibits, and a motorcycle show across two days in July each year in San Bernardino. As a bonus, there’s a massive campground on site, making it a perfect place to visit with your San Francisco RV rental.
Take a short 2-hour drive from San Fran to Napa Valley for this five-day music festival in May. It’s still in its infancy, with the inaugural year only in 2013, but this event is already attracting crowds of more than 100,000 people, and world-class acts such as Ben Harper and Joan Jett.
One of the biggest music festivals on the planet is Coachella, and it’s held down in Indio, California, roughly a full-day’s drive from San Francisco. The event covers a number of genres from hip hop to electronica, and includes art sculptures, and is rare in that it offers the same lineups two weekends in a row so that even more people can make the trip.
Activities in San Francisco & Local Cali Area
In between all the itineraries and the events, don’t forget that San Francisco and the surrounding Californian landscape has activities and attractions that could take weeks to explore just by themselves. There are iconic monuments known all over the world, as well as epic natural scenery and everything in between. Make a list of all the things you want to see then set about ticking them off for a memorable and incredibly busy San Francisco tour!
The Golden Gate Bridge is not just San Francisco’s main icon, but it’s also a universally recognised structure around the world. This suspension bridge attracts roughly 10 million visitors every year, and you can see it by taking a bike across, walking, or driving over it.
It’s a name that inspired fear into the hearts of many as a federal prison for the worst criminals in the country from 1934 to 1963. Nicknamed ‘The Rock’, no prisoner ever managed to escape this island fortress, and you’ll be able to see why when you take a boat ride out and tour the structure during your visit to San Francisco.
If you’ve ever wondered where the largest Chinatown outside of China is, this is your answer. San Fran’s Chinatown is also the oldest in the US, and is packed with stores, restaurants, parks and squares across 24 blocks in the downtown city area. The two main roads, Grant Avenue and Stockton Street, are two of the best places to simply stroll and explore.
There are more than 26 million species housed in the natural museum at California Academy of Sciences. Covering 400,000 square feet, it’s both one of the newest and largest in the country. This isn’t your fussy, boring museum either, it houses an aquarium, a planetarium and a rainforest as just a few of the fantastic exhibits.
There are many places in the world that use cable cars, but none so recognisable as those in San Francisco. This is largely because this city is where innovator Andrew Smith Hallidae first thought up the idea and tested the very first system back in 1873. You can ride the cars and enjoy the views (in far more modern versions) in San Fran today.
San Francisco is found right in the middle of a smattering of unbelievable National Parks. To the northeast, the Rockies (the Rocky Mountains) stretch from British Columbia in Canada right down through the states, and you can visit them at countless points with a San Francisco motorhome hire. The Yosemite National Park is a little closer, just three hours east by campervan, and is known for its beautiful waterfalls. Finally, Yellowstone National Park is a long drive away in Wyoming (mostly), but makes for an incredible road trip from San Francisco. Check out this piece by the Motorhome Republic team on experiencing Yellowstone in an RV Rental
The Muir Woods are the world’s most visited redwood park, and are a gorgeous place for an afternoon or day spent exploring these massive, beautiful trees just a little out of Sausalito. Sausalito is the small, arty community on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco city. It’s ideal for a bite to eat, a spot of shopping or a vino as you watch the sun go down in the bay.
Drive two hours north of San Francisco and indulge in the bountiful Sonoma County Wine Region. Known for its divine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the area has more than 500 wineries just waiting for you to drop by and taste their finest products.
Day trips don’t get much better than this - Half Moon Bay is just 45 minutes in a RV rental from the city and offers a world away from the bustle of San Fran. Between the beach (that you can ride horses on), the golf course, and the shops and restaurants in the small township, you can easily while away a day or two in bliss.
Lake Tahoe is roughly 3.5 hours northeast of San Francisco, and is the largest alpine lake in North America. It crosses the border between California and Nevada and is popular throughout summer for hikers, bikers, and kayakers, then throughout winter as well when the ski season sets in and it becomes a leading snowsports destination.
Follow the coastline roughly three hours south of San Francisco and you’ll reach Big Sur, a popular attraction for its rugged coastline and rich history. The Bixby Creek Bridge is one of the iconic structures in this area, as it traverses a canyon right in front of the crashing waves of the coast. Head on down from San Fran in your campervan rental from Motorhome Republic.
Other Helpful San Francisco Links
You could be a family of five on a luxury holiday or a couple of mates just looking for adventure at an affordable price - there’s a perfect motorhome ready and waiting for you to hit the road.
America’s a pretty big place, which can make it tough to know where to begin your USA road trip. Here are our top five spots to pick up a campervan and get going.
Taking a romantic trip away with your better half? Here are a few of the best resorts to park your motorhome for the night - including a couple not far from San Francisco!
Tailgating in the US doesn’t mean what it does everywhere else. Here, a tailgate is an opportunity to get together with friends and enjoy food and drink - all while parked up together somewhere. You can rent an RV in San Francisco to do it at this awesome spot at AT&T Park.
Want to head off on a road trip without spending a fortune? Check out how to get a good deal on campervan hire in San Francisco.
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No matter where you go or what kind of motorhome you’re driving, you’ll need this guide to find quality camping sites all over the world.
From the inside, they look like an elegant and welcoming - if a little compact - five-star hotel room. From the outside, they’re grand motorhome that will take you anywhere you want to go in style.
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Some people simply never grow tired of travel, so they simply never stop. They’re Grey Nomads, and they zoom about the globe in motorhomes having a lot more fun than most of us!