Your road trip from San Francisco to San Jose might be short, but you can pack in a lot of fun for this adventure. San Francisco is home to many exciting attractions. While you are there, you may want to visit the legendary Golden Gate Bridge or dine at a restaurant at Fisherman's Wharf. San Jose is also filled with plenty of interesting places, including the Winchester Mystery House. With this road trip itinerary from San Francisco to San Jose, you will enjoy exploring this part of the Golden State.
When you visit a national park, you can see the beauty of nature and marvel at the breathtaking landscapes. California is home to nine national parks, and while none are on your direct route, they are certainly worth a detour!
Redwood National Park
If you want to see the tallest trees in the world, visit Redwood National Park. Along with the trees, this national park is home to other landscape features, including riverways, coastlines, and forests. Redwood National Park covers over 193,000 acres of land. Within those acres, the park contains 45% of the world's coastal redwoods. If you want to check out the local wildlife, this is a great spot if you're a nature lover. You might even get a glimpse of the endangered Steller sea lion or northern spotted owl. Redwood National Park provides plenty of chances to hike, camp, or kayak. Note that this park is nearly six hours north of your road trip route.
Kings Canyon National Park
Kings Canyon National Park is another place to view historic trees. This national park is home to a large grove of sequoias. Within the park, you can find the General Grant Tree in the Grant Grove section of the park. This tree is the largest in the grove, and it can be reached by walking on a paved loop. Kings Canyon is one of the best places to view the Sierra Nevadas. You can also horseback ride, hike, or backpack throughout the park. During certain parts of the day, rangers will lead a guided hike for visitors. Kings Canyon is about 3.5 hours east of this road trip route.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is located next to Kings Canyon. This national park also contains a large grove of giant sequoias. If you love those mountain views, make sure to visit this park to see the snowcapped Sierra Nevadas. Many people head to this park to hit the hiking trails. Like Kings Canyon, the rangers often take visitors on guided hikes throughout the park. When the weather turns colder, this park is a winter wonderland. There are plenty of cold-weather activities to enjoy, such as skiing and snowshoeing.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is filled with wilderness areas, waterfalls, and ancient sequoias. Many of the trees in the park are over 1,000 years old. This national park is known for its natural landmarks, such as Half Dome and El Capitan. Yosemite is a popular park as it welcomes over a million visitors per year. With its in-park transit system, it is easy to get around the area. Backcountry camping, hiking, and horseback riding are popular activities. Winter visitors can cross-country ski, snowboard, or ice skate in this national park. Yosemite is just over three hours from your route.
During your San Francisco to San Jose RV road trip, you can stop by a few of California's state parks. Like the national parks, these spots allow you to pull off the road and relax for a few hours.
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
In this part of the state, there are many ancient redwoods and sequoias. If you want to see more trees, California is home to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. These redwood trees soar over the forests, and you will feel like an ant compared to these natural wonders. Some of the trees are even taller than the Statue of Liberty. If you want a closer look, the 80 miles of trails at this park in Boulder Creek are open to hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers.
Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area
The Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area is located in the Sacramento area. While you are there, you can explore over 63 acres of protected land. For many people, they come to hit the water. Boating and fishing are the most popular activities. If you want to stay on the land, wildlife viewing and hiking are great ways to enjoy the park.
Portola Redwoods State Park
This state park is just a short distance from Big Basin, but it is the perfect spot for those who want some solitude. Portola Redwoods State Park covers over 2,800 acres. When you travel to this location, the park slopes down from a ridgetop into the shaded redwood forest. If you love to hike, the park contains 18 miles of trails that wind through the forest. While you are there, make sure to be on the lookout for the waterfalls that tumble over the mossy rocks and fallen trees.
Your San Francisco to San Jose road trip might not take a full day, but you can still round out your vacation with these fun attractions and locations.
The Golden Gate Bridge
If you want to visit one of the most iconic spots in San Francisco, head over to the Golden Gate Bridge. This suspension bridge spans over the strait that separates the city from the Pacific Ocean. In 1937, the bridge was declared one of the "Wonders of the Modern World." At the time, it was the longest and tallest suspension bridge in the world.
History buffs will want to visit Alcatraz Island. You need to take a ferry to reach this historic spot. The small island was used as a military fortification, military prison, and federal prison. Today, you can take a tour of the island and learn about its notorious past.
Winchester Mystery House
This quirky residence in San Jose was once the home of Sarah Winchester. The Victorian mansion is known for its architectural curiosities. It is a designated California historical landmark, and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, this home is a popular tourist attraction. The house is rumored to be haunted by ghosts. During some parts of the year, you can take a special ghost tour of the building.
On this San Francisco to San Jose road trip itinerary, you will pass through several interesting cities. If you are looking for clean and comfortable campgrounds, there are plenty of places to accommodate your rig. For those who need to keep their vehicles sanitary, you can find a few dump stations on this route.
Santa Clara is located in California's Silicon Valley. Along with the tech companies, this city is home to the Great America theme park. You can also visit the Intel Museum to learn about the silicon chip or view pieces by local artists at the Triton Museum of Art. When you are ready to settle down for the evening, there are several campground options for your rig.
Oakland is located on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay. If you want to learn about the city's history, then stop by Old Oakland. There are several Victorian buildings and shops in this area. The Oakland Museum features exhibits on the history and art of California. The Uptown area is the perfect spot to visit the local restaurants, bars, and theaters. It may take more than a day to explore the attractions in Oakland. You can find a couple of campgrounds and dump stations to keep you happy and healthy on the road.
Palo Alto is home to Stanford University and is also part of Silicon Valley. The Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve offers 15 miles of trails giving you access to the marshland. You can find a place to camp for the night in nearby San Mateo and surrounding cities, such as Coyote Point Recreation Area and Trailer Villa RV Park.
When you follow this road trip itinerary from San Francisco to San Jose, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in San Francisco or San Jose.