If you find yourself feeling trapped in one of the golden state cities, it might be time for a little getaway. Fortunately, there are a ton of companies making it their business to rent the perfect camper vans to fulfill your weekend wanderlust or weeklong #vanlife dreams.
We’re talking about rentals that get you off the map, out of the crowds, and living your best adventure—making a new generation of road-trip memories that are guaranteed to have your friends who read Kerouac feeling more than a little jealous.
Here are a few of our favorites for getting out and adventuring on wheels, with a breakdown on budget, ideal group size, and everything else you may need to know before packing up and hitting the wide open road.
NorCal + SoCal: Operating out of LA and SF (as well as Salt Lake), Lost Campers makes the top of the list for two reasons: It’s super affordable and conveniently incognito. If you’re looking to get out and skip the campgrounds, these nifty little camper-vans come in all sizes to accommodate your group and be sure you have a great time on the road (and look like any old van doing it).
Available in four sizes (accommodating anywhere from two to six campers), both simple sleeper vans and ones with more advanced features (like kitchen units and secure storage compartments) are available. Vans start at just $47 per day, but SoCal adventurers should keep in mind that the company’s largest model campervan (sleeping six) is only available out of their SF location.
NorCal + SoCal: If you prefer to travel with a high profile rather than a low one, these decked-out campervans might be your perfect ride. With 10 locations in North America (including LA and SF) these vans come in two models and are covered in custom art. While you can’t choose exactlywhich design you get, the company will take into account which “genre” you like when choosing your van. Sleeping up to five people in certain models, these colorful campers are moderately priced and start at $71 per day during the high season, and $57 during the low (December – March). And better yet—if you extend your trip, you’ll lower your rate. These vans also come with full kitchen sets, bedding, picnic chairs, 2 bottles of propane and free space heaters in the winter.
NorCal + SoCal: If you don’t mind traveling around in a bright purple and green-colored wagon, then you might find yourself falling for the super affordable rates of these campervans, which start at an incredible $12/night. These decked out campervans originated in New Zealand and come with enough sleeping space for four people, and a full kitchenette out of the back. The back seats convert into a double bed with additional sleeping in a pop-up on top. Don’t plan on any sort of incognito roadside camping with these, but all the same the price is pretty darn unbeatable. Rent yours in SF or LA.
NorCal + SoCal: Operating out of San Diego and SF, these orange miniVANs are definitely mini, but also mighty. Equipped with bedding, full kitchen capabilities and free Wifi (yes, you read that correctly), Bongo Buddies were made for the SoCal nomad who needs to stay connected. Unlike older vans, these babies also have the battery power to charge all your gadgets. Bongo Buddies are offered in two models and sleep two-four campers, starting at $89 per day.
Madison Kotack at Lakeshore RV Camping in the Eastern Sierra
NorCal: For a deluxe vintage camping experience, check out California Campers in San Francisco. Offering vintage VW Westfalia camper vans (you’ve seen em’ on Instagram we promise) that start at just $110 per day, these compact classics make for the perfect trip for up to four campers. Comfortably sleep, stretch out, and even cook a meal with the fully outfitted kitchenette on board. You may even consider adding on a few of their Camping Kits ($35 per person) which include sheets, towels, and utensils. The company even rents out items like a porta-potty and electric heaters to make sure you have a great time and can handle the less glorious sides of #vanlife as gracefully as possible.
NorCal: This SF-based company is taking converted car campers to the next level, offering everything most tech-savvy explorers need for a few cozy nights spent on the road. In fact, you can find these campervans all across the continental US and Canada, as well as in their hometown of San Francisco. With a fleet of different models of Dodge and Mercedes campervans, you can opt for a luxe queen-size bed that sleeps only two, or bring your friends along with the pop-up roof addition. All vehicles are equipped with a sink and surfer shower, bedding, outlets, and bluetooth pairing. The best part? Rates start at just $65 per night.
Ezekiel Gonzalez at Song Dog Campsites in Cuyama Badlands
SoCal: You get what you pay for, and when it comes to these vintage campervans, their charming exterior makes it worth the higher price-tag. Based out of Costa Mesa, Vintage Surfari Wagons offers decked out 70’s and 80’s VW vans that sleep anywhere from two to four people. Depending on when you rent (summer or winter) the price can vary quite a bit on these, but during low season they start at $129 per day. A few caveats on going vintage: Furry friends are allowed but require a hefty security deposit, and transmissions tend to be manual with limited modern amenities. So don’t plan on a USB port for charging your phone—they didn’t have those back in the day.
SoCal: These little trailer pods might just be the cutest thing on the rental market, and we can’t help but falling in love with their backstory as well. Started by an outdoor enthusiast in LA, and modeled after his own needs for convenient roadside camping, these little campers have everything you need to comfortably “rough it” or host a great outdoor party. Starting at $150 per night, the company has a variety of custom built camper trailers to choose from, and even rents them out for outdoor events. These trailers comfortably sleep at least two people, but take note that you’ll need a car to haul them around. Right now the company is only renting (and selling) their pods out of LA, but word on the street is they’ll be in SF soon enough.
SoCal: If your camping party is bigger than four, a larger RV might be needed. Operating out of Corona, SoCal RV Rentals offers a wide variety of smaller (and larger) RVs for rent. One of our favorites are the 20-40 footers in their Class C fleet, these rentals are fully self-contained and can sleep up to eight people no problem. Equipped with a bathroom, kitchen, and everything else you might need for your getaway (you can even rent extras like a bike rack, BBQ, or camping chairs) these mini RV’s are pretty fairly priced, starting at $165 per day.
SoCal: If you have a bigger party and need some extra services (like wifi or free airport transportation) Expedition Motorhomes is one to check out. Based out of Calabasas, Expedition has a huge fleet of motorhomes for pretty much any size group. Sleeping upwards of five campers, their RV packages aren’t cheap, but still fall within the range you might expect to pay for the size. 25-footers start at $120 per night, with oodles of paid extras (camping table, waffle maker, keurig, popcorn maker) to tack on, as well as a pretty affordable wifi package at $10 per day for up to five devices.
In 1981, Hollis moved from Austin to a nine-acre hay field out in the country. She left city life to…
As the saying goes: there's no place like home. Earth Day is a timely moment to celebrate our planet and…