RVing in San Francisco and the Bay Area is challenging for even the most experienced RVers. Road congestion, narrow streets and a lack of RV San Francisco parks make visiting in your rig a white-knuckle experience. If you left your heart in San Francisco and you want to return, here’s how to have a good experience:
San Francisco RV Parks
In the days before the new Giants Stadium rose up in San Francisco’s South of Market district, you could overnight in a KOA parking lot just a mile or two from the famous Powell Street Cable Car Turnaround. Not anymore. Today your options for legal overnight RVing are right outside of city limits. They’re not the Ritz, but they’re close:
Candlestick RV Park
This concrete parking lot is nothing fancy, just hookups and a parking spot within a couple feet of the next one, but you’re just seven minutes away from downtown on a good day without traffic. There are a few perks, like shuttle rides to and from the city for $12 a rider (a bargain compared to taxi service) and at $90 a night it’s a heckuva lot cheaper than the nastiest hotel in the Tenderloin. Rumor has it that a new shopping mall next door will force this park to close, but for now it’s your best bet for a spot closest to the city.
San Francisco RV Resort
If you don’t doing being a teeny bit of driving to experience the city by the bay, San Francisco RV Resort is your best bet as far as proximity and overall experience. You’ll need a toad to get to and from downtown but compared to other routes into the city, it’s one of the easiest drives. Like Candlestick RV Park, it’s nothing more than a concrete parking lot but RVers rate this RV park more favorably.
If you enjoy urban experiences and don’t want to spend an hour each way to see the sights, a visit to the City by the Bay is worth the cramped conditions of these two RV parks. When you make the trip out in your rig remember:
- Reservations are a must, preferably many months ahead.
- Check the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce events calendar to make sure your visit is timed to either coincide or avoid huge crowds that jam the city for events like Gay Pride Week in June.
- San Francisco’s climate is cold and foggy, even in August. Dress in layers for comfort.
- Wear your walking shoes; you will walk a lot.
- If you have pets and you want to see the city, they’ll be happiest with a dog sitter or nearby boarding kennel. Be prepared to spend an entire day in the city (and you still won’t see it all).
- Take lots of small bills for cabs, trains and bus rides.
- Keep your wits about you and maintain composure when you wander around San Francisco. It’s an exhilarating, crazy and fun experience but you don’t want to be a tourist target for criminals.
If you’ve never visited San Francisco and your RV is how you want to get there, just remember to relax and you’ll have a great time. There’s no other place in America that’s like it!
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