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Old 10-11-2009, 07:21 AM   #1
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How to visit San Francisco with RV

So.....the wife and I have always wanted to visit San Francisco (S.F.). We are now retired and live full time in our 45' MH (towing Honda Element) and although we'd very much like to visit S.F. we're worried about accessing that area, AND about locating a campground that would be convenient, first, to get to, and then, from which we could take day trips w. the toad. We figure a spring or summer visit would be best, but don't know.

We've read alot of contradictory info about RV length limits on California highways as well as confusing stories about navigating routes in California, ESPECIALLY around S.F. and so far have avoided visiting.

What's the word about best routes into and out of the San Francisco area, AND about good "base camp" RV Parks that might be used. Thanks. Steve & Lynette
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:40 AM   #2
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Your best bet would be to is to stay at a campground about 20 miles outside of town and do day trips with your toad.
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Old 10-11-2009, 10:58 AM   #3
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I am pretty familiar with the area having within SF for the past 60 years...not an expert by any means. It is best to avoid driving your M/H in or thru SF as their is no freeway and one must travel surface streets.
If you belong to the ELKS they have a lodge in Petaluma with hookups and I understand takes reservations. I have not personally stayed. I have stayed at the KOA in Petaluma and used it as basecamp for doing day trips to SF, Napa wine country, Sonoma and surrounding areas, the coast around Bodega Bay. It is less than 100 miles to Sacramento, San Jose, and those areas. The KOA is a little pricey, but has all of the amenities and is near HWY 101 ( not close enough to hear traffic noises). If you want additional information on navigating the area send me a PM and we can share ideas.
Do not miss the opportunity to visit this beautiful city.
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard S. View Post
Your best bet would be to is to stay at a campground about 20 miles outside of town and do day trips with your toad.
I agree with Richard. We did this about a year ago and this worked fine for us. Great city btw . We really enjoyed our visit there and will definately go back there some day.

We travel in a 40 foot MH and a toad, and driving wise we had no problems at all.
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Old 10-11-2009, 12:13 PM   #5
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I agree with Ronnie I have previously lived in the Bay Area for many years The city of Pacifica has a cg located with ocean front property Pacifica is just south of SF.East of SF Pleasanton has fairgrounds web site www.the fairparkRv.com check dates 4 events It is close toBart Rapid Trans to Sf. Bart also connects to the cable car for access to Fisherman Wharf, Ghiradelli Sq. Pier #39 and Alcatraz The hassle of driving plus the toll on the Bay Bridge and the cost of parking Bart is very affordable. Alot depends onhow u arrive in the area from what direction etc also like ronnie if needing more info connect direct


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Old 10-11-2009, 01:17 PM   #6
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One of the best Moderately priced rv parks in california, centrally located in northern California providing access to San Francisco, The Livermore Wine country, State parks, world class golfing, five star shopping, fine dinning, historical sites, Oa
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Old 10-12-2009, 11:02 PM   #7
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I'm a SF native and agree with everything offered above. I especially agree with Joe's advice. The Pacifica park is ocean view and very close... but cold. The suggestion to stay in Pleasanton may be the best of all however. Using your toad in SF is only slightly easier than using your coach! Pleasanton has beautiful weather and BART will zip you right into any part of The City you want to go.

Above all, don't miss visiting!
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:08 AM   #8
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THANK YOU, THANK YOU, ALL!!!

Boy, we didn't expect so much help and REALLY appreciate it. Seeing San Francisco has been a goal, but, it seems like getting to, and, camping in the area has always seemed problematic when searching related discussions on various forums. Information related to accessing S.F. via RV seems pretty vague as if perhaps RV'rs shouldn't go there OR aren't wanted, but, dang it!!...we're gonna try .

One other question. If approaching S.F. from say the South, (ie., for example coming West on I-10 and heading N. from Palm Springs area up through California), how would we get to that KOA in Petaluma or that Livermore Wine Country State Parks area. Have heard and read horror stories about things like the "grapvine" getting through the L.A. area and/or routes up into the S.F. area.

Again, ALL, thank you VERY much for your help. Think we'll giver er a try this coming April, May, or June--ish time of year (2010).

Steve & Lynette
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:27 PM   #9
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Depending on the day of the week LA can be BAD or OK. I try to plan my trips thru LA on Sundays in the AM. I10 to Redlands and I 210. 210 will take you all the way to I 5. As you approach Pasadena on 210 be careful as the road veers off to the right and the signage is poor. To get to Pleasonton ( fair Grounds) stay on I 5 to almost Tracy (I 5 veers to the right just after the Westley rest area) going straight puts you on I 580 continue on 580 to Pleasonton and exit onto I 680 toward San Jose, in about 5 miles exit onto Bernal Road (a left turn at the intersection) then in less than a mile you make a left (its the 2nd or 3rd light) then you make a right into the fairgrounds. You will see a large off track betting building before you get to the RV park.
For the Petuluma KOA same directions as above, but as you take the I 680 exit rather than head in the direction of San Jose go right Toward Walnut Creek. Stay on I 680 heading East across the Benecia Bridge (Toll S/B about $12.00 for 5 axles). Just after the bridge veer left on I 780 this will take you to I 80. Take the exit for Sacramento (NOT IN THE DIRECTION OF SAN FRANCISCO) this again is a sneaky intersection and a sharp exit. Head East on I 80 for about 3-5 miles and exit on Ca Hwy 37. 37 will take to Hwy 101 south of Petaluma. As you approach 101 be in the right lane and exit right. Proceed to Petuluma on 101 (toward Santa Rosa) taking the Penngrove exit making a left turn at the end of the ramp, back over 101 be in the right lane and prepared to make a right turn onto
Stony Point Road. Proceed less than .5 miles and turn left on Rainesville Rd. KOA entrance is a short distance on the right.

If you want to avoid the LA Valley and the Ridge route you can bypass by going on I 210 and then taking I 215 Toward Barstow 215 connects with I 15 towards Barstow at the top of Cuesta Grade take Ca. 395 North (toward Adelanto) until you get to Kramer Junction then left onto Ca Hwy 58 toward Mojave/Bakersfield. Take Hwy 99 in Bakersfield heading North (right) for about 20 miles then take the Hwy 46 Exit toward Wasco. 46 will then connect with I 5 North (right) and then as listed above. For me this is the preferred route if LA basin is on any day except Sunday.

Let me know if you have any questions after looking at you maps or if my writeup is confusing.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:48 PM   #10
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or, if you are not in a hurry the coast route is very scenic. Let us know if you want those directions. A little more miles, but worth the time.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:15 AM   #11
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MAN!!..You ALL are sure helpful: THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Didn't expect such detailed assistance and we'll SURE take your suggestions since we'd REALLY like to see the San Francisco area.

Ronnie: YES, we WOULD like to try the "coast route" but NEVER figured we might be able to do it in our 45 ftr. towing! I'm pretty comfortable with almost any road/route where I don't drag through overhanging stuff and through which the coach and connected tow will FIT!! And, NO, were sure NOT in a hurry!

THANKS AGAIN ALL!! Steve & Lynette
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:32 AM   #12
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Here's another thought for you.

When visiting SF we stayed at Tradewinds RV Park in Vallejo. To go to the city we drove about a mile to the ferry terminal in Vallejo. The high-speed ferry goes right to Fisherman's Wharf. From there you can walk, bus or cable car to all the visitor spots downtown.

Worked great for us.
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:24 AM   #13
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Steve/Lynette, before I give you my opinion on the drive, How far up the Pacific Coast will you travel? (Oregon/Washington) or will you head East from the SF area? Many RV parks on the coast are $$$, but there are some moderately priced with full hookups , but without pools, spas etc.
Are you comfortable driving 2 lane Hwys, back in spaces, taking day trips of 100 miles in each direction. Let me know and I would be happy to share by experience as I have travelled the Coast from San Diego to the Straits of Juan De Fuca.
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:28 PM   #14
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Vallejo or Petaluma would be my choices. We live east of Sacramento now, but when we sell the house we will still have family in the SF Bay area. We will stay in Vallejo while visiting.

However, if it was fun seeking rather than family visiting, I'd choose Petaluma. The proximity to wine country, the coast, easy access to other city amenities, etc., and the fact you get to cross the Golden Gate bridge each time entering the City (as locals call SF) would tip the scales for Petaluma. Take a day to visit Guernville, Jenner and vicinity; pack a lunch, but buy a bottle of wine at one of the many local hoocheries and it'll be a memorable day. If you have a more money than good sense & are crazy about good food & wine, get reservations at the French Laundry in Yountville. You could easily spend 10 weeks based in Petaluma, maintain any pace your coronary health could withstand, and barely scratch the surface of Northern California food, wine, entertainment and debauchery (the latter readily available in any form you'd care to name in the City, aka Baghdad by the Bay).
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