San Francisco 21 Days Itinerary (1540 Miles)
An RV holiday is a fantastic way to explore the West Coast of the US. Starting your adventure in the vibrant city of San Francisco places you within a comfortable distance to some of California's best cities, scenic attractions and National Parks.
Whether you are after a short getaway or an extended vacation, the San Francisco and surrounding area is sure to offer something for everyone. From the stunning waterfalls of Yosemite Valley, to the giants of the Sequoia State Forest, this is one RV vacation in which you will see it all.
So take the plunge and start planning your RV adventure around the San Francisco area today. These itineraries will guide you on the best things to see and do and will give you an idea of how long your adventure will take.
Days 1 - 4
Yosemite National Park (189 miles, 3 hours, 45 miles)
Begin your RV adventure by picking up your vehicle in San Francisco and then head north-east towards the CA-24. Most of your journey will consist of freeway but the last few miles will begin to introduce you to some of the stunning scenery here.
Yosemite is internationally recognized for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant Sequoia groves and remarkable biological diversity.
Yosemite is situated in Central California's Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and spans for an impressive 1,170 square miles. However most of the 3.7 million annuals visitors flock to the Yosemite Valley area of the park.
Where to Stay:
Yosemite National Park offers a total of 10 campgrounds that can accommodate RV rental travelers. The Lower, Upper and North Pines campgrounds are open for the majority of the year and offer water taps and a sizeable area to park your RV.
Hook-ups are not available in Yosemite, but there are dump stations available at the Upper Pines campground. Food must also be covered at all times, and it is advisable to book in advance before arrival.
What to do:
Cycling is a fantastic way to see the Yosemite Valley as it allows you to explore parts of it that simply aren't accessible by your RV.
Over 12 miles of paved bike paths make their way through the valley, while cyclists can also ride on the regular roads if they obey the traffic laws.
The terrain is relatively flat ensuring all levels of cyclists can enjoy easy cruising, while soaking up the idyllic surrounds.
Bikes can be rented from early spring to late fall, and are available at Yosemite Lodge at the Falls and Curry Village recreation area.
Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America and truly is a sight to behold. The falls are at their best during the months of spring, when the ice is melting and creates a pumping waterfall that falls for an impressive 739 meters in total.
The lower falls are easily accessible from the Yosemite Lodge, while the upper falls require some strenuous hiking, accessible from the Sunnyside Walk-In campground.Yosemite Half Dome
Rising an impressive 8,800 feet above sea level, the Half Dome is an icon of the Yosemite National Park and offers a great challenge to many hikers. The hike will take you on an adventure into wilderness and the view from the top is simply unsurpassed.
Days 4 - 6
Kings Canyon National Park (147 miles, 2 hours, 58 minutes)
Kings Canyon National Park is situated in the southern Sierra Nevada and spans an impressive 462,901 acres. The park is similar to Yosemite, offering spectacular mountain valleys and gorgeous glaciers.
The park consists of two sections, both of which offer stunning natural features. The General Grant Grove section is home to the famous General Grant Tree, along with the Redwood Mountain Grove, which is the largest remaining Giant Sequoia Grove in the world.
The remained of the park is comprised of sections of the Kings River and the South Fork of the San Joaquin River. This is also where Kings Canyon can be found; the deep canyon that gives the park its name.
The glacial gorges are another highlight of the park and contrast nicely with the remarkable Sequoia trees, mountain valleys and compelling canyons.
Where to Stay:
Canyon View Campground
The Dorst Creek Campground is a fantastic place to set up camp as it is one of the only campgrounds within the park that offers a dump station and is suitable for RV campers.
This campground is situated just 10 miles from the Giant Forest and is positioned under open stands of evergreen trees. Reservations are recommended and food storage facilities are available.
What to do:
The park is particularly popular during spring, and this is when RV travelers flock here. Some of the many activities on offer include cave tours, hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding and picnicking.
However, if you visit while it is snowing you will also be in for a treat. Skiing and snowshoeing are popular past times here, while the kids are sure to simply love playing in the pure white snow, making snow mean and discovering what it means to be young.
Kings Canyon Scenic Byway
The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway is internationally recognized for its unique scenery and geologic displays. Drive your RV along Highway 180 and you will be exposed to the forefront of nature's wonderland.
Discover some of the largest trees on earth and marvel at the majesty of the Kings River. The peaceful atmosphere here will inspire you to relax, unwind and then tackle the adventure that awaits you.
Days 6 - 8
Sequoia National Park (47 Miles, 1 hour, 7 minutes)
The road that leads in to the Sequoia National Park is open all day, every day, year round, depending on the weather, making this one of America's most accessible parks.
The park spans 404,051 acres and is famous for its giant Sequoia trees. It is also home to the General Sherman Tree, which is known as the world's largest tree. The Giant Forest truly is a sight to behold and is home to five of the World's ten largest trees.
The surrounding mountainous terrain sets a perfect background for exploration within the park, creating ideal landscapes for endless photographs.
Where to Stay:
The Lodgepole Campground is the perfect place to base your RV in the Sequoia National Park, as it is situated right near the Giant Forest. The grounds are open all year round and a dump station is located on site for the convenience of visitors.
What to do:
The must-see highlights of the Sequoia National Park are without a doubt the Giant Forest and Crescent Meadow. Staying for a few days will allow you to explore these amazing natural attractions in depth.
The Tunnel Log is also a popular attraction, although a little tricky to pass under with a large RV. The Tunnel Log is comprised of a tunnel that was cut through a fallen giant sequoia across one of the park roads. The tunnel is 8-foot tall, so be aware of this before you decide to drive through in your vehicle.
This granite dome rock formation is located right in the centre of the park at the head of the Moro Creek. Its position between the Giant Forest and Crescent Meadow makes it a must visit, and gives it an idyllic setting.
A staircase has been carved in the rock, making for a reasonably easy climb to the top. Once you have reached the top you will experience a view that encompasses a vast expanse of the park, including the Great Western Divide.
Days 8 - 10
Death Valley National Park (only certain times of the year) (367 miles, 6 hours, 53 minutes)
Death Valley is a land of extremes; from hot to dry and high to low, Death Valley has it all.
This National Park is comprised of a desert of streaming sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, multi-colored rock layers and stunning canyons. It is positioned east of the Sierra Nevada in the arid Great Basin of the US.
It is the hottest and driest National Park in the country, but still well worth a visit, with over 770,000 tourists flocking to it each year. Home to a diverse range of geologic features, desert wildlife, historic sites, scenery and clear night skies, this park is a must for those seeking serenity like no other.
Where to Stay:
Furnace Creek Campground
This is the best place to stay while visiting Death Valley on a campervan rental vacation as it is the only campground that is open all year round, that offers a dump station on site. The sites here are numbered so be sure to reserve in advance.
What to do:
While this park may be a dry one, there is an abundance of things to see and do while staying here. Death Valley spans an impressive three millions acres and is home to hundreds of miles of back country roads.
Take a drive in your RV and discover untouched wilderness, go for a hike or spend some time bird watching. Don't let the barren nature deter you; this is a park that is sure to fascinate you.
Biking and Mountain Biking
Ditch the RV for a day and hire a bicycle to explore the park. Bikes can be used on all park roads that allow vehicle access, and can also be used on the routes that have been designated for cycling.
Many of the roads are suitable for mountain biking, with easy, moderate and difficult routes available. However, only experienced mountain bikers should attempt these, as some of the tracks can be dangerous.
Days 10 - 12
Mojave National Preserve (181 miles, 4 hours, 4 minutes)
Resting on 1.6 million acres of pristine desert land, the Mojave National Preserve is one National Park not to miss. The park is characterized by its majestic sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, untouched Joshua tree forests and spectacular sheets of wildflowers.
A visit to the park will also introduce you to an impressive array of canyons and mountains that add to the solitude of the spectacular place. Spend some time exploring the mesas that are home to long abandoned mines, homesteads and old military outposts, being sure to take your camera along.
Where to Stay:
Camping in Mojave National Preserve is a fantastic experience that is sure to offer something rewarding for all ages. The developed Mid-Hills and Hole-in-the-Wall campgrounds are perfect for families and offer all the amenities needed. While they do not offer hook-ups, a dump station is conveniently available at the Hole-in-the-Wall campground.
What to do:
Driving through the Mojave National Preserve is the best way to experience everything this remarkable park has to offer. The best route to take begins at Cima Road and will take you through the appropriately named Shadow Valley. This generally flat expanse is dotted with many Joshua trees, with the road eventually taking you towards the Ivanpah Mountains. The Joshua tress here are so dense you will feel like you are in the Joshua Tree National Park, which is actually 100 miles south of here.
This is just the start of the route, with many more wonderful sights and attractions waiting along the rest of the way.
Kelso Depot and Dunes
Kelso is virtually a ghost town, but it does offer at least one piece of attractive architecture. The Kelso Depot is a Spanish architecture building that seems to stick out like a sore thumb in this otherwise isolated and barren town. With plans to turn the historic building into a visitor's centre, the town is sure to take off as a must-see tourist attraction.
The Kelso Dunes are another popular nearby attraction and are among the tallest in the world, rising to about 700 feet. Apparently the dunes make a "singing" sound, while little avalanches are caused by the footsteps of visitors. The best time to visit the dunes is either at sunrise or sunset, because the shadows these cast provide a glorious sight to behold.
Days 12 - 17
Grand Canyon National Park (332 miles, 5 hours, 33 minutes)
The Grand Canyon is a place that everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime. Regarded as one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world, this powerful and inspiring landscape overwhelms the senses through its immense size and beauty.
The Grand Canyon National Park is one of America's oldest National Parks and is world famous, purely for the spectacular Grand Canyon. The canyon itself is a gorge of the Colorado River and measures 277 miles one and ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles, while attaining a depth of over a mile. The canyon is know for its overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape, while it is geologically significant because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks that are beautifully preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon.
Where to Stay:
The National Park offers two campgrounds: the Mather Campground on the South Rim and the North Rim Campground. Most of the campgrounds in the park are suitable for RVs; however they do not offer hook-ups.
Due to the park's popularity the sites fill up fast so be sure to reserve a site in order to avoid disappointment.
What to do:
The most obvious way to spend your time in the Grand Canyon National Park is by exploring it. Hiking is the most popular past time here, with many guided tours on offer. These will open your eyes to the magic and wonder of the park and you may actually learn something along the way.
Sunrise and sunset are unforgettable moments in the park, with the sun casting shadows on the canyon and bringing out the remarkable glowing colors the canyon has become so famous for.
Toroweap/ Tuweep Area
If you think the view from the southern or northern rims of the canyon are spectacular, be sure to check out the view from the Toroweap Overlook. Rising 3000 vertical feet above the Colorado River, this breathtaking sheer drop boasts incredible volcanic features and views that are undoubtedly sure to take your breath away.
The overlook boasts stunning views of the renowned Lava Falls Rapid, while offering a completely unique perspective of the canyon as whole.
The area can be reached from Arizona Highway 389 near Fredonia, with all roads in the area secondary county roads.
Days 17 - 21
Las Vegas (278 miles, 4 hours, 52 minutes)
The majority of the trip so far has introduced you to the spectacular natural beauty that states like California and Arizona has to offer. However, by the end of this RV adventure you will probably be hanging out for a change of pace.
Las Vegas certainly offers this, along with much, much more. Regarded as the "Entertainment Capital of the World", Las Vegas is where it all happens. Located in the state of Nevada, Vegas is an internationally renowned resort for gambling, shopping and fine dining. It is where people come to experience nightlife at its best.
Where to Stay:
Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort
Easily Vegas' most luxurious RV Park, the Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort is a fantastic place to finish your RV adventure. The tropical "Casablanca" theme is sure to delight after the last few weeks of desert scenery, while the stunning resort pools will provide the perfect way to cool off and relax.
The park offers a well-stocked convenience store, restaurant, fitness centre, arcade, banquet facilities and an adult pool and spa. These luxuries are the ideal way to spend the last few days of your trip, with the city lights alluring you when the sun goes to bed and making you never want to leave.
What to do:
The Las Vegas Strip is the undeniable centre of this amazing city. It is where all the action happens, making it a must-visit while in town. The strip is an approximately 3.8 mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South and is home to city's largest hotel, casino and resort properties in the world.
Points of interest you simply cannot pass up include The Mirage, the Flamingo and Caesar's Palace.
The Pirate Battle at Treasure Island
This is one of the best free shows Vegas has to offer. Held every night in front of the Treasure Island Hotel in Sirens Cover, the Pirate Battle is a delightful show of dance, vibrant cloths and loud music. While it may not be a family activity, it's a great night out for couples!
Return your RV on the 21st day and start putting together the photo albums and scrapbooks.