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  1. Default First time road trip help! San Francisco Loop


    My girlfriend and I (both in 20s) are currently travelling the world and have a stop in San Francisco coming up in June. We originally planned just to see the city and move on but after a bit of google-ing we stumbled across this (excellent) site and have got very excited about the idea of a road trip.

    We're on a fairly tight budget so are thinking of hiring a camper van (possibly through Escape Campers) to save on accommodation costs. Plus it sounds a lot of fun. We were just wondering if anybody had any advice on helping us decide the route.

    As mentioned, our flight is in and out of San Francisco so we're looking at doing a loop. We're not restricted by the length of time we have, but of course time is money. Our flight from San Francisco is actually to Las Vegas so this road trip is just about exploring Cali (although we are considering hiring a camper again for Vegas, Grand Canyon, Death Valley). After reading several posts on the forum and the suggested routes section we have come up with a list of possible destinations:

    San Francisco
    Big Sur
    Sequoia National Forest
    Kings Canyon NP
    Yosemite NP
    San Francisco

    Ideally, we're looking for advice on places to stop over (one's we've missed from the list perhaps?) - particularly for the Big Sur to Sequoia and Yosemite NP to San Fran legs, how long this trip might take, or any other advice to help us on our way. Plus if anyone has had any experience with Escape Campers or other similar companies we would love to hear from you.

    Thank you very much for reading!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Very popular.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    This is a very popular topic and you will find Lots of info digging around the site a bit. Here you will find some of favourite threads that are packed with ideas, including some suggestions from Vegas.

    Further North you have Lake Tahoe, the Wine tasting region of Napa Valley and places like the Point Reyes National seashore etc. You could consider heading to Kings canyon and Sequoia NP before Sequoia National forest and then continue around the Southern edge of the mountains via Lake Isabella and up the 395 to Mono Lake and enter Yosemite over the Tioga pass. [CA120] You would have to check on the conditions of the past as it still could be closed due to winter snow accumulation. [Some parts are over 9000ft in elevation]

    You will also have to keep up to date with the Highway 1 closure around Big Sur because of a collapse into the Ocean. There should be one lane open with traffic control at the time you travel, but worth checking.

    I haven't any 'Campervan' experience but there is also a Camper conversion company in San Fran called 'Lost Campers' that seem to have very good rates and reputation.

    How long is a piece of string ? I would say you could your trip in 8 to 10 days with time to get a brief overview of the places you have listed or you could take 3 weeks or more. Unless your flights are already booked and as time is not limited [other than by budget] I would consider doing a bigger loop from San Fran to include Vegas, Grand canyon etc.

    The National parks are very popular and you will be lucky to find any sites available for your camper. You will find campgrounds outside of the parks OK, but thought I best mention it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Budget

    Before you get too deep into your campervan project, it may pay to compare the cost of renting a car, and staying in campground cabins or budget motels. A campervan and campground fees could end up costing you more than a fuel efficient vehicle and budget accommodation.

    Lifey who travels on a shoe-string

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    You will also have to keep up to date with the Highway 1 closure around Big Sur because of a collapse into the Ocean. There should be one lane open with traffic control at the time you travel, but worth checking.
    Even if it's open, there will be a 5 ton limit. This will limit the size of the vehicle you rent.

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