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United States, California, Northern California, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Grand Junction

Renting an RV for a California to Colorado family road trip

I am considering taking the family on a road trip, next summer, and am considering renting an RV instead of staying in motels or hotels. We are a family of 4, two small kids, but may have two more adults (my older kids) going with us. The trip will be from Northern California to Grand Junction, Colorado. We are  looking at a week to 10 days looking for opportunites to camp in different places in California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. Does anyone have advice on what a good rate is, unexpected costs, nice spots to stay, any advice at all ? 


2 Answers

top answer by
Josh from Los Angeles

RV Trip: California to Colorado (and back?).

First, consider six people in a small space for 10 days and plan for at least one hotel/motel stay during your trip. RV rental, insurance, gas & oil, food, lodging, camp fees, park fees, dump fees, parking, tolls, traffic tickets & other costs should be considered vs. hotel/motel costs. You still have to pay for camping, gray/black water dumping and other travel expenses.

Consider joining the Good Sam Club for $25, you get great discounts, coupons and other benefits. Visit their website for member RV Site Locations and other info.

Visit the KOA (Kampgrounds of America) website for RV Site Locations, they have a map of all their locations (Reno, Winnemucca, WendoverSalt Lake City along I-80 and points east)

Visit the National Parks website for information about RV camping in California, NevadaUtah and Colorado's amazing parks (Yosemite National Park, Black Rock DesertCanyonlands National Park, Grand Mesa National Forest, etc) . Also visit the State Park websites for info on other campsites and landmarks along the way.

AAA ("triple A") guidebooks are very helpful for info on local spots (hotels, motels, dining and activities) and if you're driving, I recommend a membership with Emergency Roadside RV Service! You should verify the contractual obligations of each party in the rental agreement when it comes to towing and service and also consider additional travel and trip insurance.

Plan your travel! Know where to stop before you get there. Truck stops are good places to get gas at a reasonable price and have other amenities for RV travelers, so plan ahead and know where they are located. Choose a daily destination and allow for delays, stops, weather, and sightseeing along the way (especially if you have small children, because you'll need a few breaks every day).

And finally, learn the state laws regarding operating an RV in each state, because they vary and make sure your rental contract and insurance allow for interstate travel. Drive safe and have a great trip! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. California (state)
  2. Colorado (state)
  3. Reno (city)
  4. Winnemucca (city)
  5. Wendover (city)
  6. Salt Lake City (city)
  7. Nevada (state)
  8. Utah (state)
  9. Yosemite National Park (park)
  10. Black Rock Desert (attraction)
  11. Canyonlands National Park (park)
  12. Grand Mesa National Forest (attraction)
3 thanks

answered first by
Valerie from Los Angeles

Hi Joe!

I'm assuming you will be taking the quickest route which would be I-80 E?

If so, you will be passing by Donner Lake. Definitely make a stop here, I love this place, such a beautiful and peaceful area. 

Salt Lake City should be on your path. If you've never been here before, I'd say to make a stop. It is a good family town in terms of eating and fun things to do. They have an awesome planetarium here called the Clark Planetarium if you want to catch a star show :)

When you finally make it into Colorado, stop at McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area I mean, how cool are these rocks? 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Donner Lake (attraction)
  2. Salt Lake City (city)
  3. Clark Planetarium (attraction)
  4. McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area (attraction)
2 thanks

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