A California road trip is like none other. From the beaches of Malibu to the redwood forests to the Mojave Desert, the California landscape seems to change with each turn of the road. And if you’re looking to RV California, you’ll get to experience all of it as close to the sights as possible.
Unlike staying in a hotel, camping in an RV lets you get up close and personal to the Golden State’s many local attractions and national parks. Ready for a relaxing weekend on Lake Tahoe? There’s a campground that will put you right on the basin. Interested in checking out Yosemite National Park? The park service has 10 different campsites for you to choose from.
Whether you’ve got a week or the whole summer to explore California, there’s no shortage of beautiful stops along the way. Read on to learn more about how to RV California in style.
California RV Rentals
No matter which part of the state you’ll be visiting, there are plenty of places to find RV trailers in California. If you’re planning on driving along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, experienced RVers say it’s best to start in Northern California and travel south so you get to drive as close to the coastline as possible. In that case, you’ll want to start looking at rental companies in the NorCal area.
But regardless of where you plan to start your trip, there are basically two options for snagging an RV rental. RV dealerships usually have large fleets, so you can easily find a camper that’s big enough (or small enough!) to fit your purposes. Some require a minimum rental period, though, so depending on how long you’ll be on the road, it’s something you’ll want to ask about before making a reservation.
If you’ve been an Airbnb user, you’ll be happy to know that the peer-to-peer model is now being used for RV rentals, too. Because travelers rent campers directly from RV owners, it tends to be a good way to save a few bucks and search for a wide variety of models. Always wanted to travel in an Airstream? Dying to get inside a VW Westfalia camper? No matter which type of RV you’re envisioning, it can almost always be found on a peer-to-peer rental site.
Once you get your camper, it’s time to start planning your trip!
RV Trips in California – How to RV California in Style
Chances are that since you’re doing a California RV rental, you’re excited about checking out each of the state’s unique landscapes. But because California is such a big state, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to catch them all on one trip. To help you get a taste of everything, we’ve sorted out different camping destinations by category to give you a variety of RV trips in California.
- If you’re ready to feel the sand beneath your toes, check out the many RV campgrounds in Malibu. In addition to state campgrounds, there are also a number of private campgrounds where you can find a campsite directly on the beach. And when you’re ready to head to your next destination, just hop in your RV up California Highway 1, the gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway.
- More interested in the NorCal beach scene? Check out the private campgrounds around Bodega Bay near Sonoma Coast State Park, one of California’s most scenic and rugged beaches.
- Came to California to admire the majestic redwood forests? There are plenty of RV campgrounds around Sequoia National Park, which is home to the largest living tree on Earth.
- Breathtaking views of redwoods can also be had at Big Basin Redwoods State Park, which happens to be California’s oldest state park. The park itself doesn’t have RV hookups, so your best bet is to search for a private campground in the area.
- Serene and clean, you’ll love camping at June Lake in Central California. Plenty of full-service campgrounds surround the lake, so there’s no shortage of a great campsite.
- Beautiful Lake Tahoe was made for RV camping. Again, you’ll have plenty of choices, so assess your RV needs and see which campground best suits your needs.
- Interested in checking out some desert views? You’ll find a smattering of campgrounds and SoCal RV rentals near Joshua Tree National Park, where you can see the famed Joshua trees and gorgeous rock formations.
- A bit closer to the Mexican border you’ll find the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, which is California’s largest state park. The park’s hiking trails are known for their lush wildflowers that peak in mid-March.
- Winos will surely want to check out Napa Valley, home to some of the best vineyards in the world. There are plenty of private campgrounds to act as your home base, and some of them even offer shuttle service to act as your a designated driver.
- More wine tours await you in Sonoma County, which has been producing wine since the 1800s. The area is home to several RV-friendly campgrounds with full hookups and other amenities.
- Bringing kids with you? There’s no chance they’ll let you pass Disneyland without stopping, but lucky for you, there are a handful of RV parks in Anaheim that can accommodate Mickey Mouse fans.
- Interested in California’s film industry? Universal Studios Hollywood offers behind-the-scenes tours of the world’s largest movie studio — and about a dozen RV campgrounds are situated right around the area, so you won’t have to look far for a place to stay after a long day at the park.
No matter where you’re going, remember that because California is such a hot spot for RV trips, it’s important to start planning early. Months before you leave, you’ll want to map out your route and make reservations at campgrounds along the way. In most places, summer is peak RV season, but since California enjoys beautiful weather year round, advance planning is necessary no matter what time of year you’ll be traveling.