San Jose to Austin Road Trip Guide


Founded way back in 1977 by Spanish colonizers and designated as the first Californian City in 1895, San Jose has a lot of history. Referred to by many as the capital of Silicon Valley due to the role the area has played in the tech boom, there are over a million people who call San Jose home, and for good reason.
This bay city is a hub of activity all year round, and for those who love the great outdoors, there is plenty to see and do only a few miles outside of the city limits. This makes San Jose the perfect starting point for couples who are planning for their next RV road trip.
For those who are looking for a week-long RV getaway, driving southeast from San Jose to Austin is a great choice. This route will take you through some of the country's most popular outdoor destinations and interesting areas. You will also be able to see the changing environment that occurs from the coast to the great state of Texas.
Ending your road trip in Austin will give you the chance to explore one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. Like San Jose, tech is a big deal in Austin, along with the music culture that the city is celebrated for. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your RV and hit the road from San Jose to Austin.

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Max RV length
Max trailer Length
Road trip length: 7+ days
Recommend rig: motorhome
audience: couple

Point of Interest

Big Bend National Park

Located less than three hours from Marfa, you can't not stop at Big Bend National Park when you are on the way to Austin. The park is a very popular destination for RV lovers looking to enjoy the untouched beauty of west Texas and is a great place for a short day-trip or to stay a night before continuing on your journey.

Big Bend National Park attracts over 400,000 people each and every year thanks to its enormous canyons, numerous hiking trails, and educational opportunities. The park is far too large to see every attraction in a day or two, so make sure to work out what you would like to do before you arrive to avoid disappointment.

The campgrounds at Big Bend National Park are often full since many people travel to the area so it is important to reserve a site in advance if you are interested in staying here on your road trip.

South Llano River State Park

The drive between Marfa and Austin isn't the most thrilling, but thankfully there is a fantastic State Park to break up the commute. South Llano River State Park is the perfect place to stretch your legs and call home for the night so you don't have to attempt the nearly seven-hour drive in one day.

The park is most commonly known for being a fantastic place for some water-based fun thanks to the park's namesake flowing through the northwestern corner. Tubing, fishing, and paddling are all popular, and off the water, you can explore over 22 miles of trails. You can also do some fantastic stargazing here and the park has been recognized as an International Dark Sky Park.

There are 58 RV-friendly campsites to choose from at South Llano River State Park, all of which come equipped with electric and water hookups. The campground also has clean showers and toilets so you will be able to enjoy a comfortable stay before the last day of your road trip.

Marfa Lights

Upon your arrival to west Texas, you will notice the changing scenery and you may also start to feel a little spooky. Around four hours from White Sands, Marfa is a very small town that has become a huge tourist attraction for artsy creative types looking to get away from the hustle and bustle.

On the outskirts of Marfa are the most famous attraction in the area: the Marfa Lights. If you love the paranormal, you will have to check out these mysterious orbs that have fascinated travelers to the area for decades. The lights change color and size throughout the night as they flicker away, but nobody really knows what causes them and how they came to be. Some think they are from ghosts, while others believe they are caused by gases in the area.

Whatever you believe, the lights are best viewed from the Marfa Lights Viewing Area that is located off the US-90. Sometimes you won't be able to see them, but it is well worth stopping in on the chance to view this once in a lifetime phenomenon.

White Sands National Park

A must stop on your road trip through the southeast of the United States is the wondrous White Sands. Located around four hours from Saguaro National Park, White Sands is home to the world's largest gypsum dune field and has been a tourist attraction for over 10,000 years!

White Sands is part of the national parks system and the dunes will make you feel like you are moments away from the beach and a world away from the New Mexico desert. It really does feel like a different planet at White Sands and it needs to be seen to be believed! The sunsets here are also incredible and if you are feeling adventurous, you need to go sledding down the dunes.

There are no RV-friendly campgrounds at White Sands, but if you are looking for a place to stay that is close by, check out the Las Cruces KOA Journey that has plenty of full hookup sites perfect for RVs up to 80 feet in length.

Saguaro National Park

As you leave California and make your way through Arizona, there is a National Park that needs to be seen to be believed. Saguaro National Park is an easy five-hour drive from Salvation Mountain and contains the largest collection of cacti in the whole country!

There are 25 different species of cactus located throughout the 90,000 acres that the park encompasses, but that's not the only drawcard to the park. Saguaro National Park also contains ancient petroglyphs, hiking trails, picnic areas, and incredible sunsets, so there will be plenty for you and your partner to do during your visit.

Working out where to stay will be easy peasy too since there are plenty of places that you can stay in and around the Tuscon area, including multiple private campgrounds that are only a short drive away from Saguaro National Park.

Salvation Mountain

While there are many places to check out on the drive from Los Angles through the desert (hello Joshua Tree), there is one place that is a little out of the ordinary. Salvation Mountain is an art installation by Leonard Knight in the middle of the desert near the alternative living community known as Slab City.
Salvation Mountain is made of a straw and adobe base along with thousands of gallons of paint. Covered in bible sayings, Salvation Mountain has been a popular tourist destination since the 1980s. The mountain is a very unique looking structure and taking photos is a must. There is no charge to visit the mountain and there is also a small museum here where you can learn more about its history.
The site that Salvation Mountain sits on and the surrounding land is a former California military base that is now occupied by squatters looking to escape modern civilization. This means you can park your RV anywhere in the area and enjoy a free night's sleep.

The Getty Center

The next logical stop on your way to Austin is in Los Angeles where there is plenty to see and do. One of the most interesting places to check out for couples who are looking for some culture is to visit the Getty Center.

Opened in 1997, the Getty Center is one of two campuses that make up the Getty Museum. Here you will find historical art pieces as well as photography exhibits from the inception of this medium to the present day. This is one of the most visited museums in the country, with around 1.8 million people checking out the art each year.

A great feature about visiting the Getty Center is that is free. However, there is no parking garage for RVs. Since you are in Los Angeles you can easily use public transportation for this outing and leave your rig at one of the many RV campgrounds in the city, such as the county-operated Dockweiler RV park.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

No RV trip in the bay area would be complete without stopping in to see some of the world-famous redwood trees. Big Basin Redwoods State Park is home to acres and acres of gorgeous redwood forests that are some of the largest on planet earth.

Located around 35 miles west of San Jose, this State Park is well worth venturing a little off the direct route to Austin. Along with viewing the famous trees, there are also plenty of great activities for couples to enjoy, including hiking on the 80 miles of trails, birdwatching, and visiting one of the two visitor centers that are located within the park.

Another added benefit of Big Basin Redwoods State Park is the multiple campgrounds available for you to call home for the night. You can choose from three different campgrounds and they are suitable for rigs up to 27 feet in length. If you would like to shave off some more miles of your trip there are also plenty of places to stay on the way out of San Jose, including at the San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area.


At the end of an epic road trip, there is no better way to celebrate than to head to the closest bar. Austin has one of the best bar and live music scenes in the whole country, so there are plenty of places where you can kick your feet up and relax. You can't go wrong by heading to 6th Street where there are dozens of places to enjoy, such as Midnight Cowboy, Easy Tiger, and Parkside.

Austin is also so full of attractions that it is impossible to get bored. Take a trip to the Texas Capitol, go for a hike at the Zilker Nature Preserve, or take a short trip to the amazing Barton Springs for a refreshing swim. There is also the Bullock Texas State History Museum, Austin Zoo, and Austin Aquarium if you are looking for some fun indoor activities.

Austin East KOA Holiday is the best place to stay if you are looking for somewhere to park up your RV close to the city center, but if you don't mind driving an additional 10 miles south you can also stay at McKinney Falls State Park.

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