San Jose makes a great home base to explore the Bay Area and Silicon Valley in California. The city’s rolling green (or golden brown, depending on when you visit) hills and mild weather make it a nice place to stay year-round. It’s also home to a wide variety of people, allowing you to expand your horizons, make new friends, and try foods or learn about cultures around the world.
The first thing to do when planning your RV trip to San Jose is to determine the type of RV you want to use. A Class A motorhome is large and luxurious, with plenty of room and amenities. You can rent a Class A RV in San Jose for around $300 a night. If you rent for longer, you can also get a break on the price, so a one-week rental is $271 a night, and if you rent for a month you’ll pay $247 each night.
A Class B campervan could be a great option for you if you’re traveling with fewer people. The campervan is easier to drive and maneuver through mountain passes, and it fits into just about any camping spot. You can rent a Class B camper for about $200 a night. You’ll pay $180 per night if you rent for a week, and $170 a night when you rent for a month.
Class C campers are the best of both worlds. You get a few more amenities like a Class A, but they are usually built on a truck chassis and are therefore smaller like a Class B camper. You can rent a Class C camper near San Jose for about $239 a night, although you can find many cheaper...and some that are much more expensive! If you rent for a week, you’ll pay about $215 a night, and if you rent for a month you’ll spend about $203 per night on the same Class C rental.
San Jose is a great central location for a lot of exploring! The city is about an hour from San Francisco, forty-five minutes from beaches in Santa Cruz, and ninety minutes from Monterey, Carmel, and other picturesque towns along the coast. While a lot of the city flourished as tech companies settled in to the area, there are also some places of untouched wilderness, such as Joseph D. Grant County Park (known locally as Grant Ranch), and Hellyer Park.
Since California is the state with the most national parks, it’s no surprise that several are within an easy drive of San Jose. Pinnacles National Park is closest, and is notable for its caves (bring a flashlight!). The park is also a condor release site and you may see some California condors flying around.
Yosemite is about a four-hour drive by car - slightly longer in an RV - and boasts spectacular sights like Half Dome and the rock climbing icon El Capitan, along with roaring waterfalls and wildlife including bears and deer.
The sister parks of Sequoia/Kings Canyon are also about a four-hour drive by car to see some of the world’s largest trees.
If you’re looking for a place to park your RV in or near San Jose, there are plenty of great campground options. Campgrounds such as Coyote Valley RV Resort and Garden City RV Park are advantageous because they have full hookups, thriving RV communities, and amenities that can be downright luxurious. If you're bringing along a furry little friend, Garden City RV Park has a pet-friendly policy that’s perfect for dog owners.
Learn about how many of the products you probably use every day were invented, and what could be the next big breakthrough at The Tech Museum in downtown San Jose. The museum has plenty of interesting exhibits for adults, and hands-on displays for kids to keep them engaged. The Children’s Museum is nearby, and is full of exhibits for kids to explore including an art studio, a theatre, and bubble and water features.
Many tourists also enjoy stopping by the quirky, creepy Winchester Mystery House, and the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum has plenty for the budding Egyptologist to study.
When you’re looking to see a sporting event, San Jose has several teams to check out. The NHL Sharks are the city’s pride and joy, and the Earthquakes play soccer in town. In addition, the San Francisco 49ers play football in nearby Santa Clara. San Jose is also home to the minor league baseball team The San Jose Giants, and there’s nothing better on a summer evening than cheering on a game from the stands, watching the sun set over the Santa Cruz Mountains.
San Jose is also near some great concert venues - the Shoreline Amphitheatre is a fun outdoor concert space that has hosted some famous names in music. There are also several parks that have music in the park, and Willow Street Park hosts Silicon Valley Shakespeare in the Park.
When it comes time to get rid of your gray or black water, you’ll need a dedicated dump station. While some campgrounds may have this amenity, you may need to search for one in some cases. Coyote Valley Resort and RV Destination is the only dump station location within the city of San Jose. Nearby Fremont also has a dump station at the Elks Lodge for members.
Throughout the San Jose area, you can travel on state routes 85, 87, and 130. Each goes through the city and branches out to other areas of the state. U.S. Route 101 also runs through San Jose, and along the coast to southern California. Interstates 280, 680, and 880 can get you to other parts of the Bay Area.
If you’re flying into the city, San Jose International Airport is the easiest airport to use. It’s located next to three major freeways, and is just a few miles from downtown. Southwest Airlines is a major carrier, but most big airlines fly in and out of the airport. If you can’t find a good flight there, San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport are both about a 40 minute drive from San Jose (assuming there’s no traffic!).