Say hello to San Francisco and start your motorhome tour of America’s western states.
Hiring a motorhome from San Francisco
San Francisco is one of the most iconic cities in the USA with its Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and Alcatraz Prison. Just over a million people live in San Fran, making it a thriving city, but not an overcrowded one. San Francisco is also a fantastic place to begin a Californian motorhome vacation, where you have 19 fleets to choose from with Motorhome Republic. There are RVs for families, campervans for those looking for a simple bed-on-wheels without the extras, and luxury motorhomes for couples and groups who want a comfortable experience.
Places to visit in your San Francisco motorhome rental
As one of two famous cities in California, a big drawcard of heading further south in the state is Los Angeles. The city is home to the Hollywood Hills, the original Disneyland in Anaheim, and the unmatchable Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It will take you a little over 6 hours in total to drive between these cities, a trip of just under 400 miles.
America’s west is known for its towering sequoia trees, so a trip to these forest giants while you’re in the area is a must. Make your way just over 5 hours southeast to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, which are right next to each other in the Sierra Nevada. You can hike, bike, horseback ride and more amongst sequoias that can grow up to 280 feet tall.
Napa Valley is only two hours north of San Francisco, and is one of the best spots in the country for wine growing – and therefore wine tasting. This beautiful spot also offers spas, wine tours by bike, and luxurious hot air balloon rides over the landscape.
Four hours directly east (roughly 160 miles) of San Francisco is the Yosemite National Park, the third most visited in the country with almost 4 million people coming to view this natural paradise every year. It’s full of waterfalls, granite cliffs, sequoia trees, hiking tracks, and animal life.
California’s capital city Sacramento is just 2.5 hours from San Francisco and is a beautiful spot built around the Sacramento River with pockets of history throughout the city. It’s known for its museums, food, parklands, and historic locations.
An 8.5 hour drive to the east is the city of casinos and shotgun weddings. The Nevada city of Las Vegas is a great spot to start or finish an RV Rental roadtrip.
Best seasons to visit San Francisco
The weather in San Francisco is notoriously difficult to predict, and the seasons don’t tend to correspond with the normal expectations.
Spring, from March to May, is a great time to visit, as the city tends to be both warm and dry, without the usual springtime rain showers.
Fall is arguably the best time to stay in San Francisco. From September to November, there is less fog, plenty of warmth, and not much rain.
San Fran summers tend to be cooler than expected, with fog rolling in from the sea. Similarly, winters are unlike normal winters, as in it practically never snows and the temperatures remain quite mild, although rain is common.
RV's vary widely, and in a big city like San Francisco there can be so many options it is overwhelming. Search and compare motorhomes from companies including Apollo RV, Road Bear, Cruise America, El Monte RV, Jucy Rentals, Expedition Motorhomes, Lost Campers and many more.
Top Tips for San Francisco RV Trips
These few pointers will help you keep on track and get the most out of your road trip.
San Francisco has so many great possible destinations, but the Napa and Sonoma countryside should definitely be top of the list.
You need to be 21 or older to rent an RV.
A credit card is often required to guarantee your rental.
Give yourself time! California is full of small towns, National Parks and hidden gems – be flexible, your itinerary might change.
If you are arriving from an international flight it is always wise (and often compulsory) to leave your pick up until the following day. That way you will start your journey well rested and ready for the adventure ahead.
RV rental depots in San Francisco
Compass & El Monte
Compass RV Rentals and El Monte RV are situated at 6301 Scarlett Court, Dublin in San Francisco. This makes them 40 miles from the San Francisco International Airport, but much closer to the Oakland International Airport (about 20 miles). It also is very near to the premium designer outlet store in Livermore. Transfers are not available from the airports, but can be organized for $15 per person each way from a number of hotels around the airport and central downtown area, provided you call to arrange the service before 9.30am on the day. Motorhomes available for rent in San Francisco run the gamut from two berth RVs to eight berth class A vehicles. Collection times begin at 1pm, and be sure to arrive with plenty of time to spare as orientation and contract processing can take 1-2 hours.
Lost Campers offer budget rental vans for affordable touring and a smaller carbon footprint. For those who want to stay anonymous on the roads, Lost Campers don’t have branding on their vans. These rentals do not have toilet and shower facilities on board, so you will need to stay in campgrounds or RV sites during your stay. You do get linen provided, 24hour roadside assistance and 100 miles of free driving per day. The rental office in San Francisco is located at 2955 3rd Street between 25th and 26th streets, and is open seven days a week 9am to 6pm, and is only closed on major holidays. Drop off and pick up times run throughout the day. The San Francisco International Airport is just 15 minutes away by taxi, or you can take the BART to downtown. Alternatively, Lost Campers offers a $40 oneway transfer for up to four people from the airport or city center.
Escape Campervans and Wild Campers
Located at 427 Beach Street, Fishermans Wharf, this San Francisco depot stands out from the pack with a fleet of artfully designed van conversions from Escape Campervans and Wild Campers. They offer vans with up to three sleeping spots, and they don’t charge extra for drivers aged 21 to 25. You will need to organize a campsite or RV park, as these vans do not come with bathroom facilities. The depot is open every day 8.30am until 5pm and does not offer transfer services. That said, public transport in San Francisco is quick and easy from city areas or either airport, and a taxi from SFO will cost approximately $2535, or a little more from Oakland Airport. Drop offs need to be made before 10am and collections are scheduled for 11am to 4pm. If you return the van more than an hour later than the agreed time, you will be penalized with an extra full day rental charge.
Best Time RV
Best Time RV runs a fleet of E23 Winnebago motor homes from its depot at 847 Industrial Parkway West in Hayward, about 25 miles or 40 minutes from San Francisco International Airport, or just a 20 minute drive from Oakland Airport. Taxi from either airport or the city are affordable, and there are transfers available for designated hotels. The depot is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, as well as 9am until noon on Saturdays. All RV's are less than a year old, have an on board toilet and shower, and a fridge and microwave oven. Return times run 9am to 11am every day, and Best Time RV will charge $30 per hour for late drop offs.
Apollo Rentals and Star RV
Star RV is a premium dealer of motor homes, offering RVs that are less than a year old. It is run by Apollo Rentals, the largest privately owned leisure vehicle operator in the world. They are both located at 14273 Washington Ave in San Leandro, and with Apollo’s variety of mid-range vehicles for hire in San Francisco and Star RV’s premium offerings, there is a motor home suited to any budget or traveling style. The branch here is closed on Sundays and public holidays, but is open Monday to Friday 9am to 4.30pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to noon. Drop offs must be made by 11am, and pick up times are between noon and 4pm, or between 9am and 11am on Saturdays. At just 6 miles away, this is one of the closest rental companies to Oakland Airport, and is just a 30 minute drive from San Francisco Airport. A taxi fare from the city or San Francisco Airport will cost approximately $140.
Jucy Rentals offer modern vans with custom fit outs for comfortable travels. They hire to anyone with a license over the age of 21 and the campers come with a fridge, gas cooker, sink, DVD player, and sleeping space for up to four people. Without a bathroom on board, you’ll need to take this van to a campsite or RV park for accommodation. Jucy’s San Francisco office is located at 1620 Doolittle Drive in San Leandro about 30 miles from the International Airport, and just 3 miles from Oakland Airport, which will cost around $125 and $15 respectively. They are closed on Sundays and do pick ups 1pm to 3pm on weekdays and 9am to 11am on Saturdays.
Star Drive Rentals, Road Bear RV and Britz Campervans
All three are located at 420 San Leandro Boulevard, San Leandro, which is just 10 minutes by taxi to Oakland Airport and approximately 40 minutes to San Francisco Airport. Star Drive, Road Bear and Britz do not allow you to pick up your vehicle hire on the day you arrive overseas, so it is suggested you book a hotel or motel for your first night in the city. If you are flying in from a domestic US location, you can pick up on the same day. A complimentary shuttle service runs to various hotels around the city between 11am and 1pm, provided you give them a 72 hour minimum warning. Road Bear RV offers rentals from modern suppliers such as Coachman and Thor with Class C and Class A RVs, while Star Drive offers luxury models and Britz covers the basic family model. This depot is also less than 10 minutes from the nearest Walmart, so you can stock up before you hit the road.
San Francisco RV Rental Vacations
Get on the road in San Francisco and enjoy the fabulous Bay area and state of California with a rental RV. Having your own wheels will allow you to explore the Bay and head south to more fabulous coastal cities, or north into the Napa Valley wine country.