San Antonio is pretty dope: a lot of history, charming buildings, and a dash of big-city living. But there’s something even better about it… the fact that it’s a fantastic base for exploring the Lone Star State’s natural wonders!
Road trips from San Antonio wind up in some pretty crazy destinations, let us tell you. We’re talking rugged barrier islands, iconic national parks, and mile upon mile of Texan landscape to gawp at from your window.
And leading the pack in terms of road trips is, of course, the humble RV. If you’re new to the world of caravanning around, or you’re just not sure about planning a road trip in Texas, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve created this guide that’ll run you through everything related to rental RVs in San Antonio — from finding yourself a snazzy ride to staying safe in it, and hitting up some world-class destinations in the process.
So, without any further ado, let’s hit the road and see what it’s all about!
Where to Rent an RV in San Antonio
Even though there are plenty of places to visit in San Antonio, you’ve got an array of awe-inspiring destinations just a straightforward drive away.
But finding RV rentals in San Antonio can be a little tricky. Do a quick search and you’ll soon realize the number of places all vying for your business. But who do you rent an RV from? And why?
Dealers don’t usually have the best reputation when it comes to straightforward service. Confusing jargon, hidden costs… it honestly takes a little fun out of the process of snatching a funky RV.
But there are a few websites that make hooking you up with the ride of your dreams a breeze. We’re going to run you through a couple of our favorites to make sure you nail a dope RV rental in San Antonio.
Outdoorsy – Airbnb for Vanlifers
Outdoorsy is an Airbnb-like online service that connects people who own RVs with people who need RVs. Pretty simple, right? Right.
You cut out the middleman and rent your RV straight to its owner — just like Airbnb. All you have to do is add your budget, your location, and the dates you want to travel in. Hit search… and a magical world will open before your eyes.
The choice with Outdoorsy is pretty impressive. You’ll find all sorts of vehicles, from vintage Airstreams to recent motorhomes with all the mod-cons you could ever wish for. By the sheer amount of choice alone, Outdoorsy neatly sews up any problems with RV rentals in San Antonio.
And these people are as into their RVs and road-trippin’ as you are. Naturally — or usually, anyway — they take pretty good care of their vehicles. Plus, you can always read the reviews left by previous customers to get an idea of how the RV feels. And how the whole process went.
Also, Outdoorsy tends to offer much cheaper options when you compare it to a traditional dealer. It removes the hassles that come with renting an RV in San Antonio from an IRL dealership!
Ideal Weekend Getaway RV
First time RV user? You’re going to love cruising along in this RV! Clean, comfortable well-laid-out interiors, and enough space to sleep up to five people. Coming completely stacked with everything you need, from bedding and kitchenware to toilet paper and cleaning supplies, you can get in and be ready to hit the road in no time. The owner is also super friendly and will talk you through all there is to know about the RV before you head out on the highway.
- Perfect for first-timers
- Comes well equipped
- Enough space to sleep five people
RVshare – More of the Excellent Same
If Outdoorsy sounded good to you, you’ll be pleased to know about RVshare, another great website to find an RV rental in San Antonio.
On the surface of things, there’s not a huge difference between the two. Both offer a user-friendly interface, both cut out the middleman, and both are pretty affordable when you compare them to regular ol’ dealerships.
One of the main differences is that RVshare offers a couple of perks that are worth mentioning. Namely, these are its drop-off and pick-up services.
The drop-off service offered means that you can choose to have whatever RV you choose to rent delivered to you. You can even pick them from nearby cities — and that will make your choice that much wider.
The pick-up service is even better, especially if you were planning a one-way trip kind of thing. Rent an RV, drive it to wherever you feel like, and RVshare will pick it up for you. This way, you can keep doing your thing and not worry about driving back!
And while both these services can be found on Outdoorsy, they are only offered at the owners’ discretion. With RVshare, not only is it available on EVERY listing, but everything is handled by the company itself.
All in all, they’re both great options. We love the wider choice on Outdoorsy, but RVshare definitely takes the win if you’re planning a one-way trip.
Top Places to Go With an RV Near San Antonio
Now that you know exactly where you can get your rental RV in San Antonio, you’ll need some ideas as to where you can drive that thing to.
Every RV road trip needs a destination — unless, obviously, your destination is just the road. But still, there are plenty of places worth noting down and stopping by!
From stretches of coastline to beautiful national parks, there is so much to be seen on a Texas road trip. You could spend days exploring the vast desert landscapes, hitting up deep, lush forests, or chilling by the ocean.
Just think about it: next weekend you could be waking up with the sun beaming down, surrounded by the untouched landscape of a beautiful park. Let’s get planning!
Best National Parks Near San Antonio
San Antonio has it pretty good when it comes to nature. Not only are its immediate surroundings beautiful, but you’ve also got some really insane locations not too long of a drive away.
There are two whole national parks to visit and explore, but there are also a ton of other protected areas and preserves along the way that all add up to some serious road trippin’ adventures.
Let’s get started with our selection of the best national parks to hit up from San Antonio.
Drive around seven hours from the city, and you’ll find yourself east of El Paso in Guadalupe Mountains National Park. The magnificent mountain range boasts the highest point in the state, as well the famous landmark, El Capitan. Covering 86,367 acres, the park is an ideal location to spend a few days away from it all in nature.
Here you can learn about interesting local history, hike numerous trails, and wind up the day with a cold drink as the sun sinks below the land. Time moves slower here among the canyons, deserts, and dunes; the night skies are darker and the stars that much brighter.
RV camping around Guadalupe Mountains National Park can be found at either Pine Springs Campground – a simple, desert camp at the base of the mountain – or the more secluded Dog Canyon in a forested canyon in the north of the park.
Just a three hour, 40-minute drive from San Antonio lies Dinosaur Valley State Park. The clue is in the name here. It may be pretty pint-sized for a U.S. national park (it takes up just over 1,500 acres), but this is one for anyone who wants to go adventuring in search of actual dinosaur footprints. You can find these at the Paluxy riverbed, but you can even download a GPS-enabled app that helps you map the dinosaur tracks for yourself.
Aside from the prehistoric credentials of the park, there are 20 miles of trails, opportunities to mountain bike, stop for picnics, or visit the interpretive center to learn more. Simply book ahead and rock up at Dinosaur Valley RV Park to fully experience the dinosaur vibes.
You’ll find Huntsville State Park located around a four-hour drive from San Antonio. A great spot for a first RV trip, or just a quick getaway, the park’s wooded areas cover roughly 2,000 acres; that means there’s enough space to relax and explore, but it’s not so huge that it overwhelms.
Here, among the old forests, you can unwind along the lake and enjoy the sounds of nature. There are plenty of activities to get stuck into, from hiking the 21 miles of trails to kayaking on the waterways and swimming. Families with young children might enjoy a trip to the nature center and spending time at the park’s playgrounds. RV camping at the park is available at one of the 160 sites with electric hookups; you can even book online in advance.
Mustang Island State Park and Padre Island National Seashore
If you’re looking to get out on an RV road trip from San Antonio, this is a great one. You’ll get to explore the underrated Texas coastline and feel worlds away from your typical view in the state.
It all starts with a 2h30 drive to Mustang Island State Park. It’s pretty compact, but even though it’s only 3,954 acres in area, it still boasts five miles of white sand beach. You’ll be close to Corpus Christi, which means you’ll have somewhere for supplies if you need them.
To the south, if you’ve got more time on your hands, there’s also Padre Island. It’s the world’s longest barrier island, weighing in at 113 miles long, and most of it is covered by the Padre Island National Seashore.
Think endless stretches of white sand and dunes — more goodness for you to explore! You can even windsurf on the west shore of the island.
And there’s plenty of wildlife, too. The national seashore is home to the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, as well as birds like sanderlings, double-crested cormorant, and five species of terns.
For RVs, the sites at Mustang Island State Park are around 400 yards from the beaches. In Padre Island, RV camping can be done at the north end, at Malaquite Campground; there are no electric hook-ups, though.
Big Bend National Park
Now, for the ultimate road trip adventure, we’re riding to Big Bend National Park. Leave the city behind and make your way to the far West Texas — you’re in for a trip of a lifetime.
You can either ride along the border with Mexico or take a more central route, they both take about the same time. The scenery on the way there is quite magnetic! This is a land of vast open spaces and stretches of road with little to no urban developments, so cruising around will feel immense.
Big Bend is located on the border with Mexico and plays a significant role in protecting important habitat. It’s home to more than 1,200 species of plants, numerous species of birds, reptiles, and mammals alike!
Named after an actual “big bend” in the Rio Grande, the park stretches for more than 800,000 acres and packs deserts, deep canyons, and epic mountains — it’s the perfect spot to be in nature away from the crowds.
The ideal experience is to spend a few days here. You’ll find hiking trails all over the park, such as the Chimneys Trail, which takes in desert rock formations, and the Marufo Vega loop that crosses stunning canyons.
Developed campsites are available at four locations, but the only one with hookups for RVs is Rio Grande Village RV Park. Here you can find 25 sites with full hook-ups, but note that reservations are required. Otherwise, you can always stay at Rio Grande Village, Chisos Basin, and Cottonwood Campgrounds.
Best Places to Visit in the San Antonio Area Mega-Map
Want to get your head around all these awesome destinations? Click the map below for some Google Maps magic, and you can start mentally planning your RV wanderings!
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Planning Your San Antonio RV Road Trip – Tips and Advice
Ok, so onto the boring yet crucial part of planning an RV road trip: budgeting. We’re going to run you through how much it costs to get a rental RV in San Antonio and some general budget insights that’ll be helpful.
But that’s not all: we’re also giving you some solid advice after that. Like what you should pack for the trip and how you can make sure you’re safe in the RV.
Planning a Trip Budget: Prices for San Antonio’s RV Rentals, Parks, and Campsites
Working out a budget and getting to grips with San Antonio RV Rental prices will help make your trip planning much smoother. And don’t worry, because they’re fairly straightforward.
Hiring an RV isn’t much different than renting a car or booking a room for the night: the prices will fluctuate and go up during the summer season. If you’re on a tight budget, the first thing we can tell you is to do your RV trip in fall or spring — you’ll have nice weather and more money.
Another factor is the size and age of the vehicle. If you’re in search of a brand new RV, it’ll obviously cost more. But old is gold, too! Something a little smaller and a couple of years old will definitely do the job.
Here’s a few pricing guidelines for San Antonio rental RVs:
|Range||RV Rental (per day)||Campsite/Park (per night)||Food and Drink for One (per day)|
|Budget Holidayer||$90-$120 (Trailers to smaller Class Cs/Bs)||$0-$25||$10-20|
|Treat Yo’Self||$130-$290 (Class Cs/Bs to smaller Class As)||$36-$40||$30-50|
|Luxury Living||$280-450 (Class As and luxury RVs)||$50-60||$50+|
And don’t forget to factor rental insurance into your budget either! It may be expensive, however, not all insurance companies are created equal.
RentalCover.com has got your back. Their policies include all the common damages and come out cheaper than what you’ll get at the rental desk
RV Packing List
Packing for a road trip is something you should take very seriously. Especially when an RV is added into the mix!
Yours is probably going to come equipped with a lot of goodies that are helpful on the road, but there are a few other items we think are essential for any RV trip you plan to take.
And as an added bonus, here’s some excellent backpacking gear that our Broke Backpacker team adore. Suited for any trip… with or without wheels!
First Aid Kit
Even if you don’t plan on doing anything too extreme on your trip, you never know what could happen. Cuts, bruises, scrapes, third-degree sunburn: a first aid kit will be able to handle most of these minor situations.
Active Roots Water Bottle
Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. AR bottles are tough, lightweight and insulted. That way, you can enjoy a cold, hot, or room temp beverage no matter where you are on the planet!
Petzl Actik Core Headlamp
Every traveller should have a head torch! A decent head torch could save your life. When you’re camping, RVing, or just heading into the woods, a top-quality headlamp is a MUST. The Petzl Actik Core is an awesome piece of kit because it’s USB chargeable—batteries begone!
Active Roots Microfibre Towel
I dunno what to tell you—microfibre towels are the tits! They’re so compact, they dry lighting fast, and they’re just a real multi-purpose tool. Never go adventuring—on or off-world—without one!
Active Roots Camping Hammock
Hammocks are always practical: they’re lightweight, cheap, strong, sexy (chicks dig hammocks), and allow you to pitch up for the night pretty much anywhere. The Active Roots Camping Hammock is one of the best on the market and most importantly… it’s cheap!
Hanging Toiletry Bag
Oh man, hanging toiletry bags are a ridiculously efficient bit of gear for any travels. They keep all your unmentionables organised and they can be used anywhere—just hang it up and you’re good to go! When you start living the RV-life, you’ll never look back on the hanging toiletries game.
Tips for Renting an RV in San Antonio
Driving an RV is a bit different than driving a normal car. If it’s your first time, or you haven’t driven one in a while, it’s a good idea that you brush up on your skills and read a few tips before you go.
To get you started, here is some handy advice and useful information for driving rental RVs in San Antonio:
- Get an RV that suits you – There’s no point going all out on some supermassive giant of an RV if you’ve never driven one before. Be sensible and opt for something that suits you and the sort of trip you’ll be taking.
- Read the fine print – Whether you rent an RV in San Antonio itself or end up using Outdoorsy or RVshare, there’s nothing worse than missing something you should’ve read before. You could be missing out on a perk or asking to be charged extra!
- Practice, practice, practice – Maybe you’ve never driven an RV before. Or maybe you did… once or twice. If this is you, and you’re not a certified vanlifer, be sure to get a little practice in. Try some maneuvers, drive around quiet streets, and get a good feel of it.
- Know your RV rules – RVs have very different rules to regular ol’ cars. These often relate to parking, especially in cities, and obviously differ for every state and local municipality. Make sure you’re clued up on these to avoid any hefty fines.
- Stay connected – Remember that any question you might have about your RV, you can always talk to the dealerships or the owners (if you’ve booked through Outdoorsy/RVshare). The same with campgrounds: if you’ve booked online, be sure to call beforehand to make sure it can fit your particular RV.
- Budget appropriately – Budgets are boring, we know, but having even just a rough idea of a daily budget can make or break a trip. Save some for an unexpected treat, and avoid cities altogether because they’re much more expensive.
- Be a good camper – Some campsites have different rules, but whatever those are, always be a considerate camper. Keep the noise down when you need to, and be friendly to your neighbors!
- Don’t rush – Taking it slow is a much better way to go. Remember: your road trip is not a tick-list, it’s about the feeling of the road and exploring all these sights in their true majesty. Enjoy the ride!
Staying Safe in Your Rental RV
Driving an RV is different, we’ve already established that… and it’s only a matter of time until you master it. We know you’ve got this!
But still, it’s never a bad idea to play it safe and avoid any bad things happening to you or your rental RV…
There are a couple of things you can do to make your RV trip to San Antonio smoother. One is to key yourself in on how to drive an RV safely. Two is to make sure that it’s insured!
Shoutout from Will – The OG Broke Backpacker: Have fun on your backpacking adventure, but please do consider getting insurance—take it from someone who has racked up tens of thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before, you may need it.
Obviously, your RV is going to need insurance, but make sure your person is insured too! Travelling without insurance could be risky. Presenting The Broke Backpacker’s go-to Insurer—World Nomads!
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple—just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Not sold on World Nomads? Then check out our roundup of the top insurance providers for travelers and see what floats your boat!
Your San Antonio RV Rental is Waiting!
There you have it. We hope we’ve sparked some imagination in all you little adventure-seekers — an RV road trip in Texas is a wide world of opportunities!
We’ve covered a ton of practical advice so you can find the right RV for you, understand how much it’s going to cost, and some trip inspiration too. You’re all set!
If you want to spend a few days in the city, there are still plenty of things to do in San Antonio, but you should know that the real treat here is the outdoors.
There’s nothing better than rocking up at a beautiful campsite, getting the fire going, falling asleep under the stars, and getting ready for all the adventure the next day will bring.
If you still don’t know where to start, have a quick scroll through Outdoorsy or RVshare for San Antonio rental RVs. You could find the perfect RV for your trip in just a couple of minutes, and you’re all set to go.
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