Car hire in San Francisco

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Car hire in San Francisco

On this page you’ll get tips and advice on hiring a car in San Francisco, and the cheapest rental cars at guaranteed lowest price. If this is your first time renting a car in the U.S., please read our general tips on car hire in the country via the link below.

Car hire at San Francisco Airport (SFO)

San Francisco Airport is about 13 miles south of central San Francisco, and is the biggest airport in northern California. The airport services both domestic and international flights. Getting to and from the airport by car is also very smooth and easy.

If you are arriving in San Francisco by air, renting and picking up your car at the airport directly upon arrival is the most convenient option. The airport has a special centre for the car rental firms called Rental Car Center (RCC).

The RCC is not in the actual airport building, but it is easily reached by using the airports transfer train, called the AirTrain, which makes stops at all terminals. The Blue Line will take you to the RCC.

Car hire at Oakland Airport (OAK)

Oakland Airport is normally considered one of the San Francisco airports even though it’s on the other side of the Oakland Bridge across the strait. It’s a smaller airport that services many low-cost airlines. The Rental Car Shuttle buses take you to the Rental Car Center, where you’ll find all of the major car rental firms. Buses leave every 10 minutes. Once you’ve picked up your rental car, the drive to central San Francisco takes about 25 minutes.

One-way car hire from San Francisco

If you rent a car in San Francisco, you don’t necessarily have to return it there. One-way car hire is a good option if you want to do a road trip in western USA. You can, for instance, pick up the car in San Francisco and drop it off in Los Angeles or Las Vegas. By doing this, you get more out of your road trip and avoid going back and forth between the same places. It is also best to fly home from a different city than you flew in.

No one-way fee
Since one-way car hire is so popular in western USA, there usually won’t be a one-way fee for one-way car hire between larger cities. Normally, it is easy to tell from the search results whether one-way car hire is included or not.

Directions and distances from San Francisco (SF)

It can often be interesting to take a different route between these places, such as Highway 1 or Route 66, which are popular roads in western United States.

Where to go around San Francisco

There is loads to see and experience in and around San Francisco. The proximity to the beautiful coastline and nature gives you constant stunning views as well as other nice experiences. Going by car is, without a doubt, the best way to experience and discover the area around San Francisco. You’ll find the roads in good condition, and there are plenty of opportunities to make stops along the way to admire the landscape and discover little gems.

Napa Valley
Napa Valley is one of the world’s most famous wine regions. There definitely isn’t a shortage of things to see and do in the area. Besides vineyards, Napa Valley also has magnificent scenery. Driving through the area and discovering its lovely little spots is an amazing experience in itself. Napa Valley is a little more than an hour’s drive from central San Francisco.

If you want for adventures in nature, a trip to Yosemite National Park is an absolute must. Yosemite has different types of scenery; both valleys, forests and waterfalls. There are many nice footpaths in the Park if you feel like going for a hike, and the views are absolutely breathtaking. Yosemite is about three hours east of central San Francisco by car.

Pacific Coast Highway
One of the most popular (and famous) car trips you can take in California is down the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, from San Francisco to Los Angeles. As the name suggests, the highway runs along the California’s beautiful coastline. The drive gives you plenty of gorgeous views of the amazing scenery. There are also many nice towns and other places to make stops in along the way.