San Francisco to Albuquerque Road Trip Guide


Sunny San Francisco is a wonderful place to visit on an RV adventure with the family. A city renowned for its sunny weather,San Francisco enjoys a moderate climate year-round. During the summer months when the temperatures start to soar, the fog which is prevalent in the area helps to keep conditions comfortable.

San Francisco has a very diverse cultural scene which includes its cuisine. A city that is home to many different groups, families can look forward to sampling any type of food from any country around the world here.

Metropolitan San Francisco has lots of interesting attractions for families to enjoy, making it well worth a visit before heading out on a road trip that leads from this golden city to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Among the most popular places to visit here include the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, Muir Woods, and the former island penitentiary Alcatraz.

There are several routes families can take leading from San Francisco to Albuquerque. The most popular path leads through such metropolitan centers as Los Angeles and Phoenix and also travels along a small portion of the historicRoute 66.

This trip, taken over a period of seven days, is chock full of adventure, making time spent on the road seem minimal in comparison with the fun along the way. Though there are areas of the route that pass through small, quaint towns with few large scale attractions to offer, the scenery is breathtakingly beautiful, and the major cities encountered along the journey offer enough activities to keep families busy for several weeks, making them consider a return visit for a longer stay.

Both San Francisco and Albuquerque offer families many outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, fishing, swimming, camping, and much more. Families can choose from a large number of places to park their RV for overnight stays. From state parks to national forests and monuments, as well as private campgrounds, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to scenic locales at which to do some camping.

For a great place to enjoy an RV vacation, you can't go wrong with a road trip that begins in San Francisco and culminates in Albuquerque.

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Max RV length
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Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: family

Point of Interest

Petrified Forest National Park

Petrified Forest National Park is a popular national monument that is located less than an hour from Winslow, Arizona. This public facility was declared a national monument in 1906 by President Teddy Roosevelt. It was later designated a national park in 1962.

The park consists of an immense amount of acreage, providing families with lots of land to explore at their leisure; whether they do it on foot, mountain bike, or on horseback. This public park traces its roots to 2,000 years ago when the property was once inhabited by migrant families. The rocks bear evidence of the lives of those people groups. It is from these artifacts that a portion of the park has been named the "Painted Desert."

In the mid 19th century, the property was explored by both the military and land surveyors who were amazing to discover these colorful rock drawings and trees which appeared to have turned to stone. Much of the wood was claimed as mementos; however, visitors soon discovered the sheer size of the forest, ensuring the petrified trees would never be depleted.

Camping is not permitted on the grounds. However, there are several nearby wilderness regions that permit dry camping.


True music lovers won't want to miss the opportunity to visit the town made famous by the Eagles in their song "Take It Easy": Winslow, Arizona. A town with a rustic Route 66 feel to it, Winslow is found just shy of three hours from Phoenix.

Winslow is a popular spot for all kinds of recreational activities and is well-renowned for the abundance of petroglyphs found in the region. Most who visit this historic city are interested in standing on the corner of Route 66 and North Kinsley Avenue to relive a moment in the Eagles' classic song. The spot is easy to find as it is marked with a statue depicting a man from the era in which the song was written.

Winslow is home to many places that offer opportunities for outdoor adventure including Homolovi State Park and McHood Park.

Papago Park

The first stop in Arizona, located three and a half hours from Joshua Tree National Park, Papago Park offers families the opportunity to spend the day enjoying some of the finest recreation in the state. From hiking impressive red rock formations to exploring the infamous Hole in the Rock and more, families won't want for fun things to do at Papago Park.

There are a total of seven acres of lagoons which are kept well-stocked with fish for avid anglers to enjoy. Other area attractions include the Papago Golf Course, the Phoenix Zoo, and the Desert Botanical Garden.

Papago Park is full of hiking trails. Most proceed along direct routes and have very minimal inclines, making them well-suited to hikers of all activity levels.

Two other must-see spots during a visit to Papago Park are Hole in the Rock and Governor Hunt's Tomb. The park is ideally situated near to the downtown core of Phoenix, affording families the opportunity to enjoy some outdoor recreation coupled with the attraction of the big city life.

Joshua Tree National Park

51 minutes from Palm Springs is Joshua Tree National Park, a recreational area that attracts visitors from all across the world. This beautiful property consists of over 800,000 acres of land; most of which is true wilderness.

This national park is easily accessed from many major cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. The most popular activities here include hiking, camping, photography, rock climbing, and the viewing of wildlife.

Joshua Tree National Park is home to many different ecosystems and topographical features. The landscape is dotted with immense mountain ranges, unusual trees, and a desert locale. Though desolate in many ways, it is strikingly beautiful.

There are many campgrounds found throughout the premises at Joshua Tree National Park; many of which permit RV stays. Reservations are typically required for stays from September through May each year.

Palm Springs

Palm Springs is situated just two hours from Bolsa Chica State Beach. Nestled in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, this popular resort town has much to offer RV travelers en route to Albuquerque. A town with its own sophisticated cachet, Palm Springs is home to stunning hot springs, trendy resorts, luxurious spas, and elite golf courses. For families looking to reconnect with the earth, nearby Coachella Valley is an outdoor wonderland, offering RV campers the opportunity to enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping during their visit. Coachella Valley also plays host to a popular music and arts festival once yearly that is open to the public.

A city that enjoys excellent weather year-round, Palm Springs is a much-loved destination for families looking to explore a new town on their road trip from San Francisco to Albuquerque. There are many fun things for families to do during a visit to this much-loved city including stopping by the Palm Springs Art Museum, snacking on exceptional cuisine at Johnny Costa's, or simply doing some shopping.

Bolsa Chica State Beach

A 30-minute detour that takes families back along the coast is the route that leads to Bolsa Chica State Beach in the seaside town of Long Beach. This beautiful sand-lined beach feels like a private piece of paradise and stretches for three miles in total length.

For those craving some fun in the sun, Bolsa Chica State Beach will not disappoint. The outdoor activities include such popular water sports as swimming, surfing, and fishing. There is plenty of shallow water, making it perfect for newbie swimmers. The waves are also gentle here, a fact which likely led to this beach becoming the locale of a surfing school.

There are many amenities at Bolsa Chica State Beach to help RV campers feel at home. These include bathrooms, outdoor showers, a Visitor Center, beach volleyball and basketball courts. RV camping is also permitted here by reservation.

The property also features picnic shelters, barbecues, and fire pits.

Knott's Berry Farm

Knott's Berry Farm is only seven miles away from Disneyland Park, making it well worth a visit on a road trip that connects with the Los Angeles region en route to Albuquerque. Only an 11-minute drive from Disneyland Resort, Knott's Berry Farm bears the distinction of being California's very first park of its kind in the United States.

Knott's Berry Farm's fame transcends borders. Its original purpose was a humble berry farm that featured several interesting attractions including incredible chicken dinners, a small theme park, a lush growth of boysenberries, and a ghost town from the Old West Days.

Today, this amusement park is a first-class family destination offering modern rides, entertaining shows, and excellent food. Once only one park, Knott's Berry Farm has grown to include Knott's Soak City Waterpark and Knott's Berry Farm Hotel.

Located in the town of Anaheim, families wishing to spend the night after their day of adventures at Knott's Berry Farm can consider one of these campgrounds for their RV stay: Rolling M Ranch Campground or Moro Campground.


Just 51 minutes from Universal Studios is Disneyland Park. Nestled within the small town of Anaheim, families will enjoy getting off the heavily trafficked highways traversing Los Angeles in favor of a day of fun in the sun at Disneyland.

Open since 1955, Disneyland is a place for the whole family to have a great time. The resort includes such original rides as the Matterhorn Bobsleds and the Alice in Wonderland-themed teacup ride.

This immense property is subdivided into several sections according to a theme to make up Disneyland Park and its sister resort Disneyland California Adventure Park. Families will want to be sure to keep a park map handy to help them navigate the property, so they don't miss any of their must-see destinations.

There are three hotels on-site and many area campgrounds where families can plan an overnight RV stay, allowing them to spend more time exploring the Magic Kingdom on their road trip from San Francisco to Albuquerque.

Universal Studios Hollywood

To travel from the coastal city of San Francisco to Universal Studios Hollywood, families should be prepared for a drive of approximately five and a half hours. An attraction nestled within the heart of a bustling city, RV campers will be happy to park their RV in the Universal lot and head out for a day of movie magic.

Universal Studios Hollywood is located outside Los Angeles in a town known as Universal City. Exploring this amusement park dedicated to film history will take a good day and offers lots of attractions for families to enjoy. From rides in the theme park to an actual movie studio that is still in production, anything and everything families have ever wanted to know about the movies can be found here.

The Studio Tour is not to be missed, taking approximately 45 to 60 minutes in total with access provided via trams.

Allow a full day to explore this cinematic wonderland. Many families like to combine a trip to Universal Studios with a visit to Disneyland, necessitating an overnight stay. Some of the most popular camping facilities in the area which permit RV stays include Acton Los Angeles North KOA Holiday and Monte Cristo Campground.


After seven days on the road from San Francisco, Albuquerque is like a breath of fresh air. From its incredible natural landscape to its hot, humid climate and more, this metropolitan city is a haven for those on the hunt for adventure.

For those who love nostalgia, a trip down Route 66 will not disappoint. All the sights from pop culture are there including brilliantly lit neon signs, old-fashioned motels, and a landscape that feels like stepping back in time. Families can pop in for a meal at the popular Route 66 Diner where they can feast on a world-class milkshake.

The tramway leading to Sandia Peak is well worth a visit during a trip to Albuquerque. From the pinnacle of the mountain, families can enjoy both hiking and skiing. La Luz Trail is a much-loved locale for those that love exploring rugged terrain on foot.

Other popular attractions in Albuquerque include the Biopark Zoo, ABQ Breweries, and the Bosque Trail. For those that enjoy authentic southwest cuisine, Albuquerque offers a real treat. A cuisine that traces its roots back for 400 years, New Mexico-style cooking is available all throughout the city with Cervantes, Mary & Tito’s, El Patio, Garcia’s, and El Pinto some of the most highly recommended places to hit.

For camping stays in Albuquerque, families are spoiled for choice. Among the most popular places for an RV vacation include Albuquerque KOA Journey Campground and Albuquerque North / Bernalillo KOA Journey Campground. Camping is also permitted in public parks such as Cibola National Forest and Mesa Verde Park.

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