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LA to San Francisco in an RV

Travel Forums North America LA to San Francisco in an RV

1. Posted by -David- (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

-David- has indicated that this thread is about USA

Hi - great site you guys have here! I'm taking my family (2 adults + 4 kids) to California for a month in July/August this year. I'm looking for itineraries if there are any available on the internet, or from people here. Failing that I'll have to do my own, but any help would be greatly appreciated!!

We're looking to spend most of the time around the western coastal resorts and also see some national parks/forests (Yosemite, anyway). We pick the RV up in LA and have to drop it off in San Francisco.

Obviously our tour is going to be based to a large degree on where we can stay in the RV - I know there are hundreds of campgrounds in California. We're looking to keep road miles relatively low if we can and maybe stay 3 or 4 days in a particular place.

If you can help or advise it would great. Thanks,


2. Posted by stevieh (Respected Member 613 posts) 11y

Hi David,
Sounds very similar to what we did in Feb 2003, only we had 4 adults and 3 kids, in a 32 foot, 8-ton RV! Superb.
Who are you using for hire?
I can give you one very very good piece of advice. DO NOT put anything in the outside locker underneath the cooker.
When four of us arrived and picked up our RV in LA, we unpacked and stuffed 4 empty rucksacks inside one locker, not to be needed again for 2 weeks. When we opened it up again, 3 were burned beyond use and it took 3 months to get compensation! I say 'burned', but they were more 'melted'. There were holes in the fabric and the nylon stiching had melted. My biggest scare was that we could all have been in the van when it went up in flames. Just be very careful.
The hire company denied all responsibility, Winnebago said that all motorhomes sold to hire companies are sold with NO Warranty! Eventually the hire company gave us $300, provided we understood it didn't mean an admission of responsibility.

Anyway, you will get loads of books about RV sites. Just pick up as many as you can and pick. They vary greatly, as anywhere, but are quite different sometimes, from what you would expect in Europe. As RVs are very well-equipped, sites can sometimes be little more than car parks.
Having said that, they still have good facilities.
We stayed at the Anaheim RV Park near Disney for 3 nights. Handy for the buses to the theme park.
Then we went up to Malibu, to a site overlooking the 'Baywatch' beaches, where we watched dolphins frolicking in the surf.
The Pacific Coast Highway is the best route north. We did it far too quickly, but you have much more time. Stop regularly and enjoy. It will be very hot when you go!
San Jose has a very good (car park type) site. Then there is a San Francisco site next to the 49ers stadium which was good, and had a courtesy bus to take people into town.
You can get to SF from LA in 2 or 3 days! So you've plenty of time for stops and side-trips.
Yosemite is a couple of days East of SF. Tip: You camp around the edge of the park and get shuttled in on buses. But the last bus leaves around 12pm. Miss it and you're stuffed!
Los Vegas if fantastic, but a bit out on a limb for you. We dropped our van off there.

I wrote a book about or 9-month adventure (also at, and I can email you the chapter on California if you want to give me your address.

Steve Holcroft

3. Posted by -David- (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

Hi Steve - thanks very mmuch for the helpful response. We've hired the RV from who seem to be reasonably price - we booked a C-Class RV and they upgraded us to an A-Class for free as we booked well in advance.

I'd love to see the chapter from your book.

Many thanks.


[ Edit: Edited: Sorry, no personal e-mail addresses allowed ]

4. Posted by UK (Budding Member 33 posts) 11y


For route ideas checkout
this page
For beginners advice on RVs checkout

this page


5. Posted by -David- (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

Quoting -David-

Hi Steve - thanks very mmuch for the helpful response. We've hired the RV from who seem to be reasonably price - we booked a C-Class RV and they upgraded us to an A-Class for free as we booked well in advance.

I'd love to see the chapter from your book.

Many thanks.


OK - my email address and contact details can be found on the contact page of this site:


6. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1992 posts) 11y

Well, my seven pieces of advice would probably be as follows:

(1) Book your campground early--the summer months (July and August) are the high season in California and many of the prime campground spots get booked months in advance--particularly campsites along the coast or in the national parks.

(2) Go north from LA through Yosemite and then up to SF and then back the coast route, or do this trip in the opposite direction (north along the coast, then south through Yosemite).

(3) Allow a lot of time to navigate the road between Monterey and San Luis Obispo along the coast--it's only a few miles long, so it looks like it would take just an hour or so--but in reality this stretch is very winding--though very scenic--and takes about 4 to 5 hours to drive (and obviously much long if you stop at Hearst Castle and Cambria to sightsee). If you prefer, take the coast route from SF to Santa Cruz instead, and skip the Monterey to San Luis Obispo portion of the route (some people will kill me for saying this, though, since most people consider this one of the three top scenic roads in the US).

(4) Make time to visit the 17-mile drive in Monterey/Pebble Beach--at least the coast portion of the road (about 9 miles long). (Extremely scenic road). I think the cost is around $7.50.

(5) If you plan to see Hearst Castle, buy your tickets early through Ticketmaster or Ticketron. All the tours always sell out during the summer months--and you would hate to get there and then not be able to visit the Castle.

(6) If you have the time, visit a winery or two along the way--you can take turns driving with the person not drinking doing the driving one day, then switch off the next day. Since you have kids you may just want to visit one or two--but you should try to do that if possible. There are excellent wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley (north of SF), near Santa Cruz and Monterey, in Paso Robles (inland just north of San Luis Obispo), and in Santa Barbara. In fact a recent movie (Sideways) covers a guy who went for the Santa Barbara winery tour.

(7) Since you stopped at the wineries, make it up to your kids by taking them to an amusement park. Seven Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia is a great choice, as is Disneyland in Anaheim (both near LA). If they are into animals, the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Wild Animal Park, and Sea World are all 2 hours south in San Diego. And there's also the Santa Cruz Boardwalk in the northern part of the state, along with Paramount's Great America in Santa Clara.


7. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1992 posts) 11y

A useful website for finding out about all the California state parks (locations, hours, sites to see) and making camping reservations is

This website also has short videos on almost all the parks to help you decide which ones you might want to visit.


8. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

Quoting -David-

OK - my email address and contact details can be found on the contact page of this site:


Hello David and WELCOME to Travellerspoint...the reason your email address was snipped is because spambots and various other programs search sites like this for exactly that type of information. That is why when you join you get this wonderful 'Message Center' that is to the left of your screen. That way people on the site can contact eachother without giving out personal information (or making spambots happy)
I hope you and your family have a wonderful journey!! Let us know how it goes! :)