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Roadtrip with RVshare San Francisco to Santa Barbara

A road trip from San Francisco to Santa Barbara will bring you to a wide array of fun places and present you with a number of entertaining activities. You can visit the Silicon Valley or enjoy the local museums and art galleries on your way. Don't skip a visit to the top of Mount Diablo's peak where you can take in the breathtaking view, and you'd be remiss to travel down California's coast without stopping to walk on at least one of the plethora of beaches you'll pass.

San Francisco to Santa Barbara Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: Your San Francisco to Santa Barbara road trip should take you about 5 hours and 7 minutes.
  • Mileage: The distance between San Francisco to Santa Barbara is 325 miles.
  • Fun Fact: The Mount Diablo Mountain Peak will let you see across 8,500 square miles on a clear day. You can easily see the Central Valley, San Francisco, and the Sierra Nevada mountains from this peak.

Nearby National Parks

If your family wants to enjoy national parks along the way, the road trip from San Francisco to Santa Barbara will offer you amazing options. Your family can enjoy biking, trekking, hiking, fishing, horse-riding, and boating in these parks while learning about local history. Moreover, these national parks will also offer kid-friendly activities so that parents can rest and refuel the RV as kids enjoy themselves.

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park is among the most beautiful national parks on your San Francisco to Santa Barbara road trip itinerary. This park is spread on 250,000 acres and is comprised of five of the eight Channel Islands in the area. You can easily find this a few miles from the coast of Santa Barbara during your road trip. You can take a guided tour to explore the signs of human habitation dating back 37,000 years. The kids can enjoy an excellent biking experience, and the entire family can go hiking, backpacking, and witness a wide variety of animals in their natural habitat.

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood. This national historical park is home to a fleet of historic vessels of the U.S. Navy, and you can spend your day learning more about the victorious wars and battles of these vessels. You can also step inside one of them, such as the Hercules Tugboat, and enjoy a guided tour that will take you back in time. This is a unique stop on your road trip itinerary from San Francisco to Santa Barbara that your family won't want to miss.

Nearby State Parks

If your family wants to take a detour and enjoy amazing state parks during your San Francisco to Santa Barbara road trip, there are plenty of options. 

Sonoma Coast State Park

Sonoma Coast State Park offers you the opportunity to enjoy an amazing walk on the beautiful dark-sand beaches. You can also go boating along the rugged and rocky coastline and take guided scuba diving lessons to explore the nearby marine life in its natural habitat. The weather can be quite unpredictable, and it is often windy and cold in this park. This further adds to the mystical feel of the park. You can find it between San Francisco and Fort Bragg during your San Francisco to Santa Barbara road trip.

Mount Diablo State Park

Mount Diablo State Park may not be one of the highest mountains in the area, but the views from this state park are incredible and breathtaking. On a clear day, your family can easily see up to 8,500 square miles and enjoy the natural beauty in the surrounding regions. This park is spread across 20,000 acres, and you can easily see the Central Valley, San Francisco, and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The peak of this mountain reaches as high as 3,849 feet. Your family can enjoy wildlife, flowers, and roaring waterfalls during your San Francisco to Santa Barbara RV road trip with a stop at Mount Diablo State Park.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park is located in Northern California, and you will find it on your road trip from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. This park offers you the opportunity to go on guided hiking tours on winding mountain trails. If you do not want to enjoy guided tours, you can also take a walk in the thick, lush green forests and enjoy local vegetation in its prime. If your family wants to go backpacking, you will find several camping spots inside this forest. This state park is also home to the endangered marbled murrelet chicks. You can enjoy a starry night on the beach as well.

Along the Way

Golden Gate Bridge

You have likely seen this amazing marvel of architecture in movies or on TV shows. Well, you will get to enjoy its true form on your San Francisco to Santa Barbara road trip itinerary. This is basically a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, which is the name of the strait that connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. This 1-mile-long bridge joins San Francisco and Marin County. It was designed by engineer Joseph Strauss in 1917 and has come to be seen as a marvelous wonder of architecture and a symbol of California all over the world. It is also referred to as the most photographed bridge in the world because of its beauty and design.

The Palace of Fine Arts

This is another point of interest that you do not want to miss in San Francisco. You can find this amazing beauty in the Marina District. It was originally designed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition, but it has come to be seen as a powerful symbol of beauty and grace. It is also among the few surviving exhibitions from the original collection, and it was redesigned between 1964 and 1974. If you decide to visit this site, you will be able to enjoy the original 162-feet-high open rotunda that stands tall among other exhibitions in the area.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

If your family wants to visit a modern-era art gallery during your San Francisco to Santa Barbara road trip, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will be ideal for you. It is filled with contemporary and beautiful 20th-century art pieces that will liven up your trip. You can find over 33,000 different masterpieces in the art gallery. These pieces are spread over an exhibition space of 170,000 square feet.

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

A trip through California is an RVer's dream as there are tons of campgrounds, the dump stations are plentiful, and each city has its own unique character. Here are a few that you will definitely want to stop in on your journey. 

San Jose

This city is perceived to be the financial hub of Silicon Valley and is the largest city in Northern California. You can find everything here from modern technological conglomerates to 1883 Italianate-style Oddfellows buildings. You can also visit the Tech Museum of Innovation and get in sync with the modern developments in the field of science and technology.

Coyote Valley RV Resort will let you hook up your RV to an electricity hookup and refuel your RV. Moreover, this RV resort also offers a dumping station and all the modern amenities you could want. The staff is known to be quite accommodating, and the entire RV resort is kept clean throughout the year.

Monterey Bay

You will find this city on California’s rugged Central Coast. It is basically a large body of water surrounded by some of the best sightseeing places in the region. You will find a wide array of amazing gift shops, seafood restaurants, and bars in this city.

Mari Dunes RV Park will be an ideal place for you during your road trip from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. You can hook up your RV here and connect it to the nearby dumping station. There is also a beach in this RV park where the kids can play safely as you rest under the shade and enjoy a cold beverage while you refuel your RV.

San Luis Obispo

You will find this city in California’s Central Coast region during your San Francisco to Santa Barbara RV road trip. You can enjoy the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, which showcases the local talent. You can also visit the Higuera Street for the Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market and taste amazing local cuisines with your family.

Find Adventure from San Francisco to Santa Barbara

Rent an RV

If you are taking a road trip from San Francisco to Santa Barbara, you should definitely plan your trip in advance. This way, your family will be able to relish all the spots along the way. You can rent an RV from RVshare.com and have a memorable and luxurious road trip that will stay in your memories for years to come.

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