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The name Los Gatos gives you a hint at its origin, and knowing that it’s in the state of California helps you make an even more educated guess. Initially named El Rancho La Rinconada de Los Gatos (Cat’s Corner Ranch) and awarded to two brothers-in-law as parts of a Mexican land grant in 1840, the land has now become home to three Santa Clara County cities: Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and a third of Campbell.
What does it have to do with cats? Back when it was desolate and mostly uninhabited agricultural land, early settlers would frequently hear the cries of mountain lions late at night. Located near Silicon Valley, it is a thriving community that swapped wheat farming, milling, logging, for a suburban, high-tech tourist hub. Yet, somehow, Los Gatos has retained its small town charm. To see this juxtaposition, rent an RV and come see the town of Los Gatos for yourself.
There is plenty to do for the nature-loving traveler. The Los Gatos Creek Trail starts in the nearby town of Campbell and stretches for 10 miles through San Jose and into Los Gatos. The trail weaves through the Vasona Lake County Park where many locals and tourists can be found mingling. With flat spots perfect for skateboarding, and hilly terrain that would please any hiker or mountain biker looking for a work-out, it is a popular park that appeals to a variety of outdoor enthusiasts.
Looking for more adventure? Head to Castle Rock State Park which offers trails that will challenge the average hiker or bicyclist. When you are tired and need a break, stop at the waterfall and take it in as you catch your breath.
Although the little town itself is hospitable toward visitors, they aren’t flush with RV parks. Luckily, the neighboring cities have more room to house your camper rental from Los Gatos for the night. A short drive away in the city of San Jose, Garden City RV Park is a small and quaint option that still offers everything that you might need. With a washer/dryer, dump station, and bathrooms with showers, this RV park offers you every convenience you hope to find. Add to that the fact that they even provide you with storage containers, and you’re probably already making plans to take your motorhome rental from Los Gatos over to San Jose for the night.
If you want a bigger RV park and have a newer coach that isn’t over 10 years old, another option for you is the Coyote Valley RV Resort in San Jose. It boasts a more pampered stay for your luxury RV rental heading from Los Gatos, with a pool, a fitness area, and a dog park with its own dog sitter. The same applies for Maple Leaf RV Park in nearby town Morgan Hill. Your RV must be fairly new (no older than 2005), but the site offers full hookups, showers, and laundry.
And if you like having more choices, in Felton, a tiny town in close proximity to Los Gatos, check out Santa Cruz Redwoods RV Resort. This RV site is just like it sounds—surrounded by redwoods that provide plenty of shade in the summer. It overlooks the San Lorenzo River, has a hiking trail, and supplies all visitors with propane grills on the deck.
For the kids, there is a basketball hoop, hopscotch, and a ping pong table. Only a quick drive away is swimming at the Santa Cruz beach, shopping at the classy shops in Capitola Village, and adventures such as aerial trekking and ziplining at Mount Hermon. There is also the Big Foot Museum—a quirky roadside attraction you cannot miss. Plus, the location is excellent if you plan to continue south down Highway 1 to see Monterey, Salinas, or Big Sur.
Exploring the City
Before you leave town to visit its neighbors, be sure to check out the charming downtown of Los Gatos itself. Although Los Gatos hasn’t been a part of Mexico since 1850, it hasn’t forgotten its Mexican heritage. Most of the restaurants in town are Mexican, so be sure to get a burrito, tamale, or tacos at your place of choice. With names like Dona Maria, Two Pesos Taqueria, Una Mas, you know you’re getting the real deal and there’s no shortage of them.
And of course, being in California (known for its vineyards in Paso Robles, Napa Valley, and much more), there are wineries to visit afterwards. Part of Testarossa Winery’s appeal is that it is in an old novitiate, but it also makes good wine loved by both locals and tourists. It has steadily expanded in size and production and will be a major highlight to your trip to Los Gatos. There is also Black Ridge Vineyards, Byington Vineyard and Winery, and Left Bend Winery, as well many other options.
And what would a historic town be with a museum? The New Museum Los Gatos, tells the story of the town’s origin and has eight galleries to look through—including one that features only local artists. Being so close to San Francisco and San Jose, you can then take your camper rental from Los Gatos to some large nearby cities. If you do, set aside time for a visit to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, a mansion with features such as staircases that lead to nowhere designed to confuse ghosts.
Now, before you start packing, search for an RV in Santa Clara County that fits your needs. Once you find the motorhome rental that works for you, begin planning a trip full of redwood campgrounds and Mexican food—as well as all of the charms of a small town like Los Gatos.