While many of Sacramento's best features, including the State Capitol, are located in the downtown area and walking or public transportation are the best ways to go around, renting a car is a great option for travelers looking to explore other destinations outside the city. Driving is the best way to get to nearby places that are a must-see on every itinerary, such as California's Gold Country region, which lies on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Range. Tahoe City, located by the Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountains, is a two-hour drive from Sacramento. For an unforgettable wine tasting experience, drive to Napa Valley, which is only about an hour west of Sacramento.
All the big car rental agencies can be found at Sacramento International Airport (SMF), at the rental car terminal. There is a free shuttle bus service that stops at the rental car terminal, and it runs every 10 minutes or so from both Terminals A and B.
Because it was built on a grid, Sacramento is usually easy to navigate when driving. However, some areas may have unmarked one-way streets, so make sure you check in which direction the cars are parked if you end up in a confusing intersection. This city also has pretty chilly winters, so make sure you are extra careful when driving if the weather conditions aren't ideal.
Sacramento has experienced an increase in congestion during rush hour in recent years, so avoid driving between 7 - 9 a.m., and then again between 3:30 - 6 p.m, as it can easily add one or more hours to your travel time. Both Highway 50 and the I5 experience high traffic levels during rush hour. If you have somewhere to be, plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time to avoid being late.
25% of our users found rental cars in Sacramento for C$ 47 or less
Book your rental car in Sacramento at least 1 day before your trip in order to get a below-average price
Mini rental cars in Sacramento are around 38% cheaper than other car types, on average
FAQs about renting a car in Sacramento
Some car rental companies in Sacramento which have updated their car rental health and safety policies due to COVID-19 to make sure vehicles are clean and disinfected include Thrifty, Hertz and Budget
On average a hire car in Sacramento costs C$ 60 per day.
Based on ratings and reviews from real users on KAYAK, the best car rental companies in Sacramento are Alamo (8.6, 308 reviews), Enterprise (8.3, 358 reviews), and E-Z Rent-A-Car (8.0, 108 reviews).
The average gas price in Sacramento is C$ 4.16 per litre over the past 30 days. Filling up a gas tank costs between C$ 50 and C$ 66, depending on the car size.
Intermediate (Hyundai Elantra or similar) is the most frequently booked rental car type in Sacramento.
A Intermediate car rental in Sacramento costs C$ 56 per day, on average.
A Full-size car rental in Sacramento costs C$ 66 per day, on average.
A Compact car rental in Sacramento costs C$ 47 per day, on average.
In Sacramento, cars are most frequently rented at Thrifty 6327 Aviation Drive (15 km from city centre ).
On average a rental car in Sacramento costs C$ 417 per week (C$ 60 per day).
On average a rental car in Sacramento costs C$ 1,788 per month (C$ 60 per day).
If you're traveling in the spring or summer, an automatic lower car, such as a Ford Mustang, is the best option when navigating both the city and the coastal roads. If you're heading to the Sierra Nevada region, and particularly if the whole family is going along, an SUV might be a better option.
The speed limit in the city is typically 25 miles per hour, but it may be lower in certain residential areas, in which case speed limit signs will be posted. Speed limits on urban highways are set to 55 miles per hour, and on rural highways they are between 65 miles per hour and 70 miles per hour.
The average gas prices in Sacramento are about $3.48 per gallon. Lower prices can range anywhere between $2.79 and $3.07 per gallon, but the average prices have still gone up at least 60 cents per gallon compared to last year. Try to fill up the tank early in the morning or late in the evening, and avoid doing so on weekends as gas stations get crowded.
In the downtown area, there are several options for parking on the street or in garages, so finding a spot shouldn't be too difficult. Street parking in Sacramento usually costs about $1.75 per hour, and is free after 4:30 p.m. on weekdays as well as all day on weekends and holidays. Some hotels also offer free parking.