San Francisco to Reno Road Trip Guide


Even though you can get from San Francisco to Reno in a few hours, why not make it a full day road trip so you and your friends can enjoy some other adventures along the way? San Francisco is the perfect place to start an adventure with the beauty and welcoming climate of Northern California. The cool summers and mild winters make it a vacation favorite all year long.

Founded in 1776, the city made good progress after the 1849 California Gold Rush. In 1945, it was the birthplace of the United Nations in order to maintain peace, security, and good relations with other nations. However, the earliest evidence of humans in San Francisco goes back to about 3000 BC. You can find some of these artifacts at the California Academy of Science and the Exploratorium in downtown San Francisco. The Museum of Modern Art and the Palace of Fine Arts are also quite popular. Some more unique museums in San Francisco include the Cartoon Art Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and the UFO, Bigfoot, and Loch Ness Monster Museum.

The city also has a plethora of parks and other attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is one of the most visited parks in the country. There is also the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, which is a museum on Fisherman’s Wharf with interactive displays, ships, and a great view of Alcatraz Island. You may also like Mount Diablo State Park, where you can enjoy hiking, biking, and horseback riding in the mountains. But don’t take too long of a hike because you still have a couple of places to visit before you get to your destination of Reno.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 1 days
Recommend rig: van
audience: friends

Point of Interest


Head up I-80 for about 1.5 hours to get to Sacramento, which is the capital of California. At the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers, this historic city also dates back thousands of years but owes its success to the gold rush. The city enjoys excellent weather similar to San Francisco such as mild winters and cooler than average summers.

One place you should not miss while you are visiting is Old Town Sacramento. Just off CA-5, this quaint old village has wooden sidewalks and stagecoach rides where you can cruise by the historic storefronts along the dirt roads. You can even stop at the saloon for a sarsaparilla drink like they used to enjoy back in the Wild West days. This is a great place for some selfies too!

Head to the beach! The Point Reyes National Seashore in Point Reyes Station with sandy beaches, grasslands, and forests is home to over 1,500 species of flora and fauna to explore and enjoy. Tomales Bay State Park is another fantastic place to spend a couple of hours enjoying the beach. Take a boat out or do some paddling in a kayak or canoe, try your luck at fishing, or get up close and personal with the aquatic creatures while scuba diving or snorkeling.

Tahoe National Forest

About three hours up I-80 to the northeast, Tahoe National Forest is over 870 thousand acres of natural space. It has vibrant green grasslands, amazing views of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and several major rivers including the Truckee/Feather, Yuba, and American Rivers. You’ll also find dozens of lakes, ponds, and creeks including access to Lake Tahoe. You and your friends will be able to enjoy fishing, boating, swimming, or paddling on any of these waters.

Tahoe National Forest also boasts approximately 100 trails where you all can take a hike, do some mountain biking, or even go off-roading if you have some ATVs with you. During the off-season, head up into the mountainous areas of the forest to do some snowshoeing, skiing, or snowmobiling. If you are interested in hunting, there are several specific areas where you can hunt for certain species during the different hunting seasons.

For those who like to climb, there are quite a few areas for rock climbing and bouldering in the forest. Be sure to check the local and state laws and check in with a park or forest ranger before heading up. Also, make sure to employ safe climbing practices using tie lines, helmets, and other protective gear. And don’t spend too much time up on the rock because you still have a bit of a drive to get to Reno.


Only about 65 miles separate you from your final destination of Reno, Nevada. Known as The Biggest Little City in the World, Reno is not large but has a large variety of entertaining things to keep you and your friends busy while you are there. From trying your luck at the casinos to fishing and boating at Lake Tahoe, you definitely won’t get bored in this iconic Nevada city.

Be sure to hit some of the other interesting attractions like the National Automobile Museum on South Lake Street, the famous Reno Arch on North Virginia Street, or the Sensory Garden at Idlewild Park on Idlewild Drive. Galena Creek Recreation Area on Mount Rose Highway is a popular place for those who enjoy all kinds of sports but is well-known for its winter sports like skiing, skijoring, and mushing. And the city has 86 other park facilities all over town.

If you are planning on staying the night in town and don’t already have a spot planned, the Reno KOA at Boomtown is less than 10 miles from the City of Reno. They boast more than 200 sites with utilities that can accommodate rigs up to 55 feet long. They also have restrooms with showers, Wi-Fi, Cable TV, a recreation area, a swimming pool, and a hot tub. You can also find about a dozen RV campgrounds in the area including a few at Lake Tahoe, which is less than an hour away.

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