RV Rental Modesto, CA

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Modesto, California RV Rentals

The “Modest” city of Modesto, California lives up to its name by being a quiet and unassuming city that’s happy to stay out of the spotlight. Centrally located in the Golden State, both San Francisco and Yosemite are only about two hours away. So from the driver's seat of an RV rental, Modesto is the ideal jumping-off point from which to explore California.

Modesto is home to the Gallo Family Winery, which is the largest family-owned winery in the nation. More notably, it’s also the hometown of film legend George Lucas, who used his beloved city as the setting for one of his most famous films, American Graffiti

RV rentals in Modesto and the surrounding area are plentiful, with a diverse range of options and prices to fit any budget. The region also boasts an impressive number of RV campgrounds for you to call home temporarily. Check out just a few of the fun and unique experiences that Modesto has to offer, and add this quaint and convenient city to the top of your list of must-see spots.

Popular RV Destinations in Modesto

Yosemite National Park

An RV road trip is the ideal opportunity to see the vast and stunning Yosemite National Park, which is located a short drive away. Reaching out over 1,200 square miles of vast space, Yosemite boasts some of the most jaw-dropping geological features in all of North America. Deep gorges, majestic mountains, pristine waterfalls, and whimsical flower meadows make up much of this iconic landscape.

Yosemite National Park is also home to some of the best campgrounds in the country, with lots of opportunity for you to observe plenty of wildlife right from your lawn chair, including deer, bobcats, bears, and more. Yosemite is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with top-rated hiking trails, abundant fishing, and breathtaking and challenging rock climbing. It’s even home to a portion of the famous Pacific Crest Trail.

Whitewater Rafting

Another memorable and challenging excursion that’s perfect for an RV road trip is Whitewater rafting. Modesto’s surrounding region has a plethora of fun and exciting rivers to choose from, including the Merced River, Kaweah River, and Middle, South, and North Fork American River. With so many locations to choose from, it’s easy to find a whitewater rafting excursion that’s suitable for people of any age and comfort level.

You can even choose to take a more relaxed approach and go on a guided float trip that won’t tax your adrenaline so much. There are plenty of companies that will be happy to hook you up with the excursion of a lifetime. Sunshine Rafting Adventures, OARS California Rafting, ARTA River Trips, Sierra Mac River Trips, and Zephyr Whitewater Rafting are a few of the closest and most reputable options.

McHenry Mansion

Originally constructed in 1883 for Robert McHenry and his wife, this regal and stately mansion is known for being one of the gems of Modesto, and one of the best free attractions the city has to offer. It’s the only remaining example of Victorian architecture left in the city, and is proudly and painstakingly restored and maintained to allow you to fully experience its grandeur. 

Knowledgeable and friendly docents are happy to share educational and entertaining facts and anecdotes as you’re led on a thorough guided tour throughout the elaborately decorated building. After your stop here, head down the street to check out the McHenry Museum to round out your knowledge of the longtime pillar of the Modesto community.

The State Theater

Definitely make a point of stopping by Modesto’s cultural and historical art deco gem, the State Theater when you’re visiting. This building was constructed in the 1920s and boasts a gorgeously restored and maintained marquee that lights up the street in a halo of nostalgia, announcing the current arts and entertainment offerings. For over 80 years, this eclectic building has been welcoming all sorts of entertainment, from feature and independent films, to dance recitals and all manner of musical performances. 

Today, you can still come here to the 550-plus-seat auditorium and enjoy a film, comedy show, or live music performance in the classic and romantic ambiance. Even the front lobby is a luxurious and unique sight to behold. 

George Lucas Plaza

No trip to Modesto would be complete without a tour through George Lucas Plaza, which pays proper homage to the city’s most famous and beloved resident. Located at the five-way intersection aptly called Five Points, this little plaza features a detailed bronze statue of George Lucas himself, as well as another statue depicting a scene from the movie that made Modesto famous, American Graffiti.

The statue, which depicts a teenage girl and boy perched on the back half of a 1957 Chevy, is the perfect photo op to commemorate your trip to town. The plaza also serves as a hub for one of the city’s biggest and most attended festivals, the month-long Graffiti Summer celebration.

Events and Entertainment in Modesto

Graffiti Summer

If there’s only a single event that you want to make sure to include in your itinerary on your trip to Modesto, it has to be the month-long summertime celebration known as “Graffiti Summer.” Since the event lasts an entire month, it shouldn’t be too difficult to plan a portion of your tip around it. 

Each year, the city celebrates and honors its proud heritage and claim to fame with a ‘60s themed festival that features parades of classic cars, street fairs, open-air concerts, events and performances, and much more. There are also tons of vendors offering delicious foods, beverages, baked goods, clothing, souvenirs, art, and ‘60s era memorabilia sprinkled throughout the area. If you want to really immerse yourself in the fun, you can even dress up in your favorite 60’s garb and add to the overall feel of the time.

Modesto Certified Farmers Market

Staying in an RV offers you the perfect opportunity to buy and store some of the region’s freshest and most delicious produce, baked goods, locally made jams, jellies, honey, fine cheeses, and more that you will find all conveniently housed in a single location at the Modesto Certified Farmers Market. You can really get a true taste for the culture of Modesto and its lush surrounding farmland by sampling all that this large and comprehensive market has to offer. For over 40 years, the Modesto Certified Farmers market has been offering up the freshest local produce and local goods.

The market runs Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm, and each week brings something different and new to try. You can also enjoy live music, special events, festivals, and much more. In fact, the Modesto Certified Farmers Market was a pioneer in the now widespread farm-to-table movement, so they definitely know how to do it right.

Music in the Plaza

Every Friday from April through mid-September the city of Modesto hosts a variety of outdoor musical entertainment at its downtown 10th Street plaza. Music starts at 7 p.m., but be sure to show up a bit early to get a good viewing spot, or a coveted seat on the patio at Fuzio Universal Bistro or Ralston’s Goat, which are ideally located and very happy to fill your rumbling tummy while you listen to some of the area’s best local talent. Enjoy the warm summer nights and the relaxing vibe of the city at this well-attended weekly event.

Also be sure to stroll through and support the numerous local vendors spread throughout the outskirts of the plaza, offering art, crafts, souvenirs, locally-made goods, clothing, and more. Bands and musicians are different each week, so be sure to check out the scheduled lineup on the Music in the Plaza’s Facebook page.

Downtown Modesto Harvest Festival

Held in October each year, the Downtown Modesto Harvest Festival is a lively and fun one-day event that celebrates the region’s lush and lucrative farming community and the culmination of its bountiful growing season. This family-friendly festival offers fun for everyone with plenty of activities for the kids, a large pumpkin patch, a plethora of live music and dance performances, and balloons and face painting.

The Brenden Theatre offers a kids’ movie, while adults will love exploring the car show and Gourmet Lane, which offers a wide variety of foods and chef demos. Be sure to check out the extensive selection of gift and craft vendors as well. Get your fill of your favorite festival foods from BBQ and tamales to ice cream, shaved ice, kettle corn, and so much more.

FAQs

Q: What are RV rentals?

RV rentals work much like any other vehicle rentals. You pay a daily or weekly rate. You can expect these rates to fluctuate based on the time of year and the geographic location that you're renting. Naturally, rates tend to increase during peak season. You can get an RV for a certain period and enjoy all its benefits while traveling without the hassles and large cost of owning your RV. It’s also a great way to try out some different RV models if you’re considering purchasing your own.

Q: How much are RV rentals?

RV rentals in Modesto can range between $75 and $150 per night for most small to moderately sized trailers and campervans. Larger RVs and travel trailers can cost from $100 to $250 per night, depending on the season and the RV’s year, make, and model. Some companies offer a discount if you rent for longer than a week.

Q: Do I need to be a certain age to rent an RV in Modesto?

While most states require you to be at least 25 years old to rent an RV, the legal age to rent one in California is 21. This may not be the policy of your RV rental agency, however. Most companies require you to be at least 25 to rent.

Q: Do I need insurance when I rent an RV?

Yes, you'll need insurance to rent an RV in Modesto. It's meant to cover the vehicle in case of an accident and is mandatory in most states. Most rental companies will have RV-specific insurance that you can purchase.

Q: Do I need to return my rental RV with a full tank?

This policy varies among rental agencies, but most RV rental facilities in Modesto will expect you to return the vehicle with a full tank of gas. At the very least, the fuel should be at the same level as when you picked up the vehicle. 

Q: Are RVs pet-friendly in Modesto?

Many RV and camper rentals in Modesto are pet-friendly, and there are even vehicles specially designed for accommodating animals. Still, it’s important to double-check the policy with your chosen rental agency before renting a particular vehicle.