Planning a trip right now can be confusing and frustrating. We get it. You’re probably wondering where you can go that won’t be too crowded and where you can stay that will be cleanest and safest.
Well, then, allow us to introduce you to the wonderful world of RV vacations. What better way to explore the majestic natural beauty of Northern California than by renting your own mobile accommodations? You’ll get all the open space you desire and rest easy knowing that you and your fellow travelers are following cleanliness guidelines to the letter.
Here’s how to take a terrific RV vacation from San Francisco to some of Northern California’s most breathtaking locations.
Renting An RV
The narrow, hilly streets of San Francisco aren’t the most RV-friendly, but you can find reliable rentals both within city limits and just beyond. CruiseAmerica has four locations in the Bay Area, the nearest to San Francisco is just 20 miles away in San Mateo. You can find additional options through websites like RVshare and Outdoorsy. They’re essentially the Airbnb of RVs!
If you wanted to rough it on your road trip and go for more of a camping experience, consider Lost Campers or Pacific Overlander. These rental companies provide you with a Jeep or camper van outfitted with all the campsite essentials.
Where to Take Your RV
The Bay Area has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the nation. Whether you travel north, south, or east in your RV, you’re going to find yourself in some truly outrageous surroundings.
North (Wine Country and Beyond)
In Sonoma County, you can choose between camping on the coast or near the rolling vineyards. The Bodega Bay RV Park offers plenty of amenities and is just a short walk from parks and beaches. The Cloverdale Wine Country KOA Camping Resort is high in the hills overlooking Alexander Valley, making it a perfect home base for all your wine tasting excursions. There’s also the Liberty Glen Campground at Lake Sonoma, a perfect spot for boating, swimming, hiking, and fishing.
In neighboring Napa Valley, the Napa Valley RV Expo Park puts you mere minutes away from the terrific shopping and dining of downtown Napa. The Steele Canyon Campground might take you farther from the tasting rooms, but it puts you right on the shores of scenic Lake Berryessa.
Further up the Pacific coast in Mendocino County, you’ll find the Caspar Beach RV Park and Campground, with its on-site general store; Pomo RV Park and Campground, close to the conveniences of nearby Fort Bragg; and Westport Beach RV Park and Campground, with its sweeping ocean views and secluded spots.
East (Stanislaus, Yosemite, and Tahoe)
Within the nearly 900,000 acres of the Stanislaus National Forest, you’ll find multiple RV camping sites that vary in cost and amenities. A three-and-a-half-hour drive from San Francisco, Stanislaus was a hotbed of activity during the California Gold Rush. Miners, lumberjacks, and ranchers were all staking their claim on the frontier. Today, it’s a protected wilderness full of invigorating hikes and gorgeous vistas.
North of Stanislaus National Forest is Lake Tahoe and its alpine surroundings. The Tahoe Valley Campground is almost like a drive-in resort. It features tennis courts, a heated pool, and even a concierge service. For something more spartan, try the Campground by the Lake. This smaller campground is nestled among massive pine trees and right across the road from the famous lake. Other options include the Camp Richardson Historic Resort & Marina and the Zephyr Cove RV Park & Campground.
South of Stanislaus is the famous Yosemite National Park. Known for its tremendous waterfalls, the imposing Half Dome, towering El Capitan, and the giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove, Yosemite is one of our country’s greatest natural treasures. Within the park, there are 10 campgrounds that can accommodate RVs. Reservations are required for most sites.
South (The Peninsula, Monterey Bay, and Big Sur)
Headed south in your RV offers you plenty of seaside options for camping. Just south of San Francisco in Pacifica, you’ll find the San Francisco RV Resort. A little further along famous Highway 1 and you’ll arrive at Half Moon Bay State Beach, which features room for 50 RVs.
Looking for a place to park your RV near Monterey Bay? Mari Dunes RV Park is a secluded option, as is the Carmel by the River RV Park. The Monterey County Fairgrounds RV Park will have you much closer to the action, and it offers daily weekly, and monthly rates.
Further south, you’ll find Big Sur Campground & Cabins and Riverside Campground & Cabins. Both welcome RVs, both offer spectacular views, and both are perfect for anyone looking to get off the grid for a few days.
Costs, reservation policies, and amenities vary widely among these RV campgrounds. Capacity may be limited, as well, in response to COVID-19. That’s why it’s best for you to call ahead to the campground of your choosing and make sure they’re ready to welcome you.