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Roadtrip with RVshare San Jose to Santa Maria

Your road trip from San Jose to Santa Maria will take you along the beautiful coastline of California. San Jose is in the middle of Silicon Valley, and it is an excellent location to visit the local science and technology museums. You will want to check out the seaside towns of Monterey and Pismo Beach on your journey. Once you hit Santa Maria, take the time to visit a local winery or try some Santa Maria barbecue. This road trip itinerary from San Jose to Santa Maria is the perfect way to see the best spots along the Pacific Coast. 

San Jose to Santa Maria Road Trip Itinerary

  • Trip Length: 5 hours
  • Mileage: 223 miles
  • Fun Fact: U.S. Highway 101 is the main highway to take down the Pacific Coast. This north-south highway connects California to Oregon and Washington.

Nearby National Parks

California has more national parks than any other state in the country. You should make it a point to visit these natural wonders. 

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is located in Southern California, and it is nestled between the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert. There is plenty of natural beauty throughout the park, including rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes. Along with those natural elements, there are also hundreds of unique Joshua trees. If you want to get a great look at Coachella Valley, you might want to head over to Key View. You can also enjoy a few recreational activities. Hiking is extremely popular in this park, and if you want to get a closer view of the giant boulders, one of the trails takes you through the rocky Hidden Valley. 

Yosemite National Park

If you want to take in some truly amazing scenery, then Yosemite National Park is just the place for you. This national park is known for its giant sequoia trees, and you can get a magnificent view of Yosemite Valley near Tunnel View. There are plenty of other places to explore, including the picturesque Bridal Veil Falls. You might also want to check out the steep granite cliffs in the El Capitan and Half Dome regions of the park. While you are there, make sure to visit the Yosemite Museum and the Ansel Adams Gallery. 

Kings Canyon National Park

For some spectacular views of the Sierra Nevadas, you should visit Kings Canyon National Park. This national park is home to the General Grant Tree, the second tallest tree in the world. If you want to see some of the ancient sequoias, then you can hike over to the Cedar Grove section of the park. There are several trails near the Kings River, and many of them will lead to the beautiful Zumwalt Meadow. This meadow has some of the best views in the park.

Nearby State Parks

California is also known for its gorgeous state parks. These spots give you the perfect opportunity to see the beauty of the California landscape on your San Jose to Santa Maria road trip. 

Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park is surrounded by the Santa Monica Mountains. If you love to explore or hike, then this is the perfect location for you. Several hiking trails wind through the forests of oaks and sycamores. Malibu Creek State Park is also home to other natural wonders, such as mountain peaks, canyon vistas, and tallgrass hills. You might even want to grab your swimsuit and take a dip in the lakes. There are plenty of spots to rock climb or mountain bike, but be sure to keep your eyes open for the mountain lions, foxes, deer, and bobcats roaming throughout the park. 

Pismo Beach State Park

As you travel down the coast, you might want to stop off at Pismo Beach State Park. This state park is a 17-mile waterside recreation area, and it is a popular spot for locals and tourists. There are plenty of recreational opportunities to enjoy at this park, including hiking, swimming, and surfing. You can head out on the walking trails to see the coastal dunes and nesting birds. 

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

You can visit some ancient redwoods at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. These trees are an iconic part of the California coast, and you can see these giants for yourself at this park. Many of the trees are even taller than the Statue of Liberty. Visitors also head to this spot to camp or hike through the forests. There are over 80 miles of trails, and they are open to horseback riders, mountain bikers, and hikers.

Along the Way

During your San Jose to Santa Maria RV road trip, you will not want to miss out on the exciting points of interest in this part of the state. 

Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum

If you have always wanted to learn about Ancient Egypt, you can get your chance at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. This museum is located in the Rose Garden neighborhood of San Jose, where it was founded by the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis. Today, the museum has the largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in this part of the United States. While you are there, you can learn about the past and see these ancient wonders for yourself. 

Monterey Bay Aquarium

This nonprofit public aquarium is located in Monterey, and it is known for its focus on local marine ecosystems. When it opened in 1984, it was the first aquarium to exhibit a living kelp forest. The aquarium has exhibits on sea otters, tunas, and various sea birds. You will want to check out their efforts to preserve the area's marine animals and habitats. 

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

This Spanish mission was founded in 1772. Saint Louis of Anjou is the namesake of this historic mission. Today, you can take a tour of the beautiful church, school, gardens, and a small museum. This museum holds an extensive collection of artifacts from the location. The San Luis Obispo Mission is open to the public and offers Catholic masses throughout the week. 

Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes

These dunes are part of the largest remaining dune system in California, and it is home to a unique ecosystem. When you are there, you can take in the beauty of the local area. The Dunes Center is an excellent place to learn about endangered animals and plants that live in the area. 

Main Cities You Will Pass Through

As you head down the coast from San Jose, there are plenty of locations to set up camp for the night. If you need to use a clean dump station, there are several spots throughout the area. 

Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay is sandwiched between San Francisco and San Jose. This city is the home of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, giving you the opportunity to enjoy some old-time fun at this iconic beachside amusement park. Old Fisherman's Wharf is another landmark in Monterey, and it is a charming location with plenty of places to eat or shop. You can find several RV campgrounds just outside the city’s limits. 

San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo is filled with history, and many structures date back to the 1700s. You will find the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in Mission Square. In the downtown SLO Farmers' Market, vendors sell flowers, produce, and food. Art lovers will surely want to check out the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art. After a day of sightseeing, there are a few campgrounds where you can kick back and relax for the night. 

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach is known for its beaches and wineries. If you want to see some butterflies, then you should check out the Monarch Butterfly Grove. This location is a sanctuary for the local monarch butterflies before they make their migration. You can see some spectacular views of the ocean at Dinosaur Caves Park. There are plenty of other green spaces throughout the city, including Margo Dodd Park and Chumash Park. Pismo Beach is the perfect spot to take your rig and camp out at a local RV park. 

Find Adventure from San Jose to Santa Maria

Rent an RV

When you follow this road trip itinerary from San Jose to Santa Maria, you will enjoy historic locations and beautiful scenery along the way. If you want to travel in comfort and style, consider an RV rental from RVshare. From large motorhomes to compact campervans, there is a rig that will meet your travel and budget needs. Once you hit the road, you are protected by our renter guarantee and 24/7 roadside assistance. Find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs in San Jose or Santa Maria.

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