Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco

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      Your quick travel guide to San Francisco

      Car Rental in San Francisco: driving the city of steep hills

      San Francisco offers its visitors so much, from scintillating shopping culture to profoundly impactful subcultures and their historical sites. The city is ever-changing, diverse, and vibrant, making it worth visiting again and again. Though you will have to pay some bridge tolls to drive in and out of the city, make the most of your visit by driving through the Bay Area as well! Stay mobile by booking your rental car today. 

      San Francisco car rentals

      Compared to most other Californian cities, foggy San Francisco stays fairly chilly year round, with temperatures hovering around 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit. While you’re likely to have some sunny dry days during a summer visit, make sure you bring a sweater or jacket for all of the other days!

      The de facto national language of the United States is English, which is also most San Franciscans’ native tongue, though about 18% of the population speaks native Chinese and another 12% speaks native Spanish. The original inhabitants of San Francisco’s peninsula were the Yelamu, and various languages of their Ohlone language family are still spoken in the area today.

      The currency throughout the United States is the dollar. Currency exchange is highly available at airports and popular tourist destinations, and credit cards are accepted at the vast majority of businesses.

      San Francisco is in the Pacific Time Zone, UTC-8.

      Automobile hire is available in over 20 locations throughout San Francisco, including the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), downtown, at the Convention Center, and on O’Farrell Street.

      Car rental information

      Visa regulations

      38 nationalities can enter the United States as tourists without applying for a visa, though if you are among these nationalities, you are still required to fill out the ESTA in advance. Visit esta.us for more information. Visitors to the United States will be fingerprinted and biometrically photographed upon entry. If your nationality is not included in the visa-waiver program, you will be required to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa in advance of your arrival.

      Driving in San Francisco

      For your stay in San Francisco proper, consider just taking public transportation. Central San Francisco is plagued by packed roads, one-way streets, expensive and fiercely enforced parking, and steep hills. But you will certainly want to rent a car to explore the further Bay Area! Make the most of your visit by also getting out of town and exploring San Francisco’s surroundings with the comfort of a rental car.

      Right-hand driving

      • Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout the United States.

      Speed limits

      • In the city: 25 miles per hour (40 km/h)
      • On urban highways: 55 mph (88 km/h)
      • On rural highways: 65 to 70 mph (104 to 112 km/h)
      • Rush hour in San Francisco can easily add an hour or more to your travel time, so avoid roads either into or out of the city between 7:30 and 9 in the morning and 3:30 and 7 in the evening.

      Other regulations

      1. Parking is scarce in San Francisco and garages in and around Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf cost around $20 to $40 a day. Consider parking outside the city and commuting in with the BART or Caltrain railway systems.
      2. Your domestic driver’s license is sufficient for driving in California.
      3. Most of the bridges in and around San Francisco are tolled. Ask your rental company if your car has been outfitted with a FasTrak transponder to ease your navigation of these tolled areas.
      4. Californians can legally drive as young as 16 with driver’s education, but most rental agencies will require you to be at least 21, and you can expect to pay young driver surcharges until the age of 25.

      Roads and freeways around San Francisco

      When visiting San Francisco, one of the first things you might consider is renting a car to explore the city and its surrounding attractions. San Francisco is well-connected by a network of roads and freeways, making it convenient to get around. Several car rental companies offer a variety of options, from compact cars for easy parking in the city to luxury cars and convertibles for a more stylish experience.

      One of the most iconic routes in San Francisco is the journey across the Golden Gate Bridge, which is not only a major attraction itself but also a gateway to the beauty of Marin County and the famous Muir Woods. Whether you're exploring the scenic Lombard Street in Nob Hill, savoring clam chowder at Pier 39, or wandering through the historic streets of Chinatown and the Mission District, having your own set of wheels can make your trip more convenient and flexible. Don't forget to check for deals on car rentals, and with options for free cancellation, you can find the perfect car to suit your needs and your budget.

      Car deals in San Francisco

      Automobile hire in San Francisco typically starts at around $36 a day. Here are some of the best deals in San Francisco:

      • Hyundai Accent or similar (economy class) – $27/day
      • Nissan Versa or similar (compact class) – $28/day
      • Hyundai Elantra or similar (intermediate class) – $29/day
      • Toyota Corolla or similar (standard class) – $32/day
      • Ford Fusion or similar (fullsize class) – $36/day

      Note that prices vary depending on the availability of each specific car and the season in which you rent. For the most accurate offers, use the search bar above.

      How to get from San Francisco to Yosemite Valley

      If you're planning a trip to San Francisco and Yosemite Valley is on your to-do list, having a rental car can be a game-changer. While public transportation options are available, a car provides the freedom to explore the natural beauty of Yosemite National Park at your own pace. To get from San Francisco to Yosemite Valley, you can head east on Interstate 580 or Interstate 80, taking you through picturesque areas like Napa Valley and the surrounding wine country.

      Visitors often enjoy stopping at attractions like the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park or even taking a cruise to Alcatraz Island before hitting the road to the stunning Yosemite Valley. With your rental car, you won't want to miss the opportunity to spend time in nature, and you can easily reach unmissable destinations like El Capitan and Half Dome. Look for car rental deals that offer a full refund if plans change, ensuring your road trip from San Francisco to Yosemite is hassle-free.

      San Francisco - road trip ideas

      San Francisco is not just a city; it's a gateway to a plethora of road trip adventures in the surrounding area. Whether you want to explore the coastal beauty along Highway 1, visit the tech hub of San Jose, or indulge in thrilling rides at Great America, there are countless road trip ideas to consider. Choose from a range of vehicles, from mini cars to SUVs, to find your perfect set of wheels.

      Start your journey by hitting the road from San Francisco to Napa Valley, known for its vineyards and wine tasting. Alternatively, if you prefer urban exploration, you can cruise down to the heart of Silicon Valley in San Jose and explore major financial institutions. For those seeking natural wonders, consider a trip to the stunning Marin County or the serene Muir Woods.

      San Francisco has a lot to offer, and with a rental car, you can leave your heart in this beautiful city by the bay while also discovering the treasures of the surrounding region. Look for car suppliers with pick-up locations convenient for you, and save big with deals on car rentals that can help make your road trip dreams come true.

      Tips for renting a car inexpensively in San Francisco

      There is a slight seasonal variation in price for rental cars in San Francisco. The price rises by $2 to $5 in the summer months, whether you plan ahead or not.

      To make the most of your budget, rent from any of Dollar’s, Thrifty’s, or Europсar’s locations throughout the city, particularly at the San Francisco International Airport or on O’Farrell Street. Be sure to shop around! You’ll likely find that Dollar’s location on O’Farrell Street can beat its sister agency’s price at the airport by up to $5 a day.

      Keep an eye out for discounts of 15% and more, which can drive prices down even further.

      You can also save up to $20 a day by extending your rental period to over a week!

      Experience the top locations with car rental in San Francisco

      San Francisco Airport
      Thrifty
      7.6

      All car rental in San Francisco

      All car rental in San Francisco

      Discover the cheapest car rental in San Francisco

      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Toyota Corolla
      Toyota Corolla
      5
      2
      4
      A
      From US$ 5.52 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Volkswagen Jetta
      Volkswagen Jetta
      5
      2
      4
      A
      From US$ 5.52 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Toyota Rav4
      Toyota Rav4
      5
      2
      A
      From US$ 5.52 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Ford Focus
      Ford Focus
      5
      2
      4
      A
      From US$ 5.52 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Ford Fiesta
      Ford Fiesta
      5
      1
      4
      A
      From US$ 5.52 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Chevrolet Impala
      Chevrolet Impala
      5
      2
      4
      A
      From US$ 5.52 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Tesla Model 3 Standard Range
      Tesla Model 3 Standard Range
      5
      2
      4
      A
      Electric
      From US$ 31.52 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Chrysler Voyager
      Chrysler Voyager
      7
      1
      A
      From US$ 23.72 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco BMW 3 Series
      BMW 3 Series
      5
      2
      4
      A
      From US$ 35.16 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
      Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
      4
      1
      A
      From US$ 34.10 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Nissan Quest
      Nissan Quest
      7
      1
      4
      A
      From US$ 36.62 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Chevrolet Camaro Coupe
      Chevrolet Camaro Coupe
      4
      1
      2
      A
      From US$ 46.57 per day
      *
      Cheap Car Rental in San Francisco Dodge RAM 1500 Crew 4x4 Or Si
      Dodge RAM 1500 Crew 4x4 Or Si
      6
      1
      4
      A
      From US$ 31.34 per day
      *

      * Disclaimer: Prices displayed may not reflect today's rates.

      What our customers say

      Car rental companies in San Francisco

      We have prepared a shortlist of top rental companies in San Francisco. To save both time and money compare offers on EconomyBookings.com to find the best deal.

      Thrifty
      star
      8.6 /563 reviews
      Available in 2 locations
      Thrifty
      Time it took to drop your car off9.7
      Cleanliness of the car8.6
      Overall condition of the car8.1
      Time it took to pick your car up6.3
      Dollar
      star
      7.6 /288 reviews
      Available in 1 location
      Dollar
      Time it took to drop your car off9.2
      Cleanliness of the car8.8
      Overall condition of the car8.8
      Time it took to pick your car up6.2
      SIXT
      star
      8.2 /72 reviews
      Available in 4 locations
      SIXT
      Time it took to drop your car off9.7
      Cleanliness of the car8.8
      Overall condition of the car8.8
      Time it took to pick your car up6.4

      Frequently asked questions

      Are there any popular attractions in San Francisco that I can visit by car?
      San Francisco is home to many popular attractions, and having a car allows you the flexibility to explore at your own pace. Some tourist attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, and the de Young Museum are easily accessible by car.
      Can I rent a car at the San Francisco airport?
      Yes, most car rental companies have desks and rental counters conveniently located at the San Francisco airport, making it easy to rent a car upon arrival.
      Where can I find car rental services in San Francisco?
      You can find car rental services in San Francisco through various car companies at the San Francisco airport or within the city itself.
      How do I rent a car while visiting San Francisco?
      To rent a car in San Francisco, you need a valid driver's license and must be 21 years or older with a valid driver's license. Some rental companies may require renters to be at least 25 years old.
      What types of cars are available for rental in San Francisco?
      Car rental companies in San Francisco offer a variety of vehicles including sedans, SUVs, compact cars, and more. You'll discover a range of options to suit your needs.
      Is parking difficult in San Francisco?
      Parking in San Francisco can be challenging. The city has limited parking spaces, and some areas have strict parking regulations. It is advisable to plan ahead and check for available parking options near your destination.
      Which car rental companies operate in San Francisco?
      There are several car rental companies operating in San Francisco, including well-known names such as National Car Rental, Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, and Budget, among others.
      How can I get free cancellation for my car rental in San Francisco?
      Not all car rental bookings offer free cancellation, but some companies provide options with free cancellation up to a certain period before the pick-up time. Make sure to read the terms and conditions of your rental agreement or check with the rental company for their