As a national hub of the country’s best culture, fine arts, restaurants, and iconic scenery, it’s no surprise that San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area also boast some of the U.S.’s top colleges and universities.

Whether you’re pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies, a personal charter bus rental is the perfect way to keep your tour group organized. From small groups of friends to a class trip with your school, GOGO Charters will make sure everyone travels comfortably on your tour of the Bay Area’s best universities.

As you’re narrowing down your college choices, planning can quickly become overwhelming. We talked to a few universities to make your bus tour run smoothly. Keep reading below to find out how to make the most of your trip at each of these top schools:

University of California, Berkeley

Sather Tower at the UC Berkeley campus

Known for its programs in social sciences, biological and biomedical sciences, engineering, and even English language and literature, Berkeley is one of the top-preferred schools in the U.S.

Load into your minibus for a day trip over to this beautiful campus. If your party is greater than 10, you’ll need to reserve a spot for a private tour two weeks in advance of your date. Or, if you want to take a self-guided tour, Berkeley provides a few maps of their must-see campus spots.

Parking can be a little tricky since buses are not allowed to park on campus during business hours (Monday-Friday, 7am-5pm). Outside of these hours, though, space is available at the Southwest Crescent, which can be entered at the intersection of Center Street and Oxford Street. Parallel parking is also available along the street by the crescent– just remember that you’ll need to pay per hour per space that your bus takes up.

During business hours, buses may load and unload at the Southwest Crescent, but they may not park. If you’re concerned about where to store your bus during the day, our reservation agents will seek out parking and staging areas after you make your reservation! Call us any time at 1-855-826-6770 for more information.

University of California, San Francisco

Another branch of the state’s extensive University of California system, UC San Francisco is a top choice for many aspiring medical students. This university is entirely dedicated to health sciences and is home to the oldest medical school in the western United States.

UCSF includes multiple locations across the city, with their main campus located at Parnassus Heights. Since all campus locations are very urban with limited space, the school advises that private tour buses do not drive directly through campuses when they can avoid it, particularly at their Parnassus location. Private buses are not allowed to park on any campus, though they may quickly pick up or drop off passengers as long as there is enough room for cars to pass.

Tour bus parking is available through San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency. Golden Gate Park’s areas 7, 8, are the closest bus parking areas to the main Parnassus campus, according to SFMTA’s Citywide Tour Bus Loading and Parking Map.

To schedule a tour, contact your campus of choice to set up a time.

Due to limited space, we recommend keeping it small with an 18-passenger minibus for your group tour of UCSF.

University of San Francisco

a prominent building and statue on the University of San Francisco campus

Image Source: Michael Fraley, Wikimedia Commons

Not to be confused with the University of California at San Francisco, the University of San Francisco is located in the heart of the city, with all of San Francisco’s best destinations, restaurants, landmarks, and more within about a 4-mile radius.

Group tours for 5 or more can be scheduled through the university’s website. Private buses can drop off passengers 24 hours a day in the white zone in front of the War Memorial Gym, at 2335 Golden Gate Avenue.

Buses can park for the day at the nearby Ocean Beach lot, located at Great Highway and Balboa Street.

Stanford University

a panoramic view of stanford's campus across a large lawn

Though it’s about a 45-minute drive from San Francisco, Stanford is still one of the top school choices for many bay-area students. With its close proximity to Silicon Valley and its reputation as a leader among science, engineering, and humanities education, Stanford is one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Tour groups are allowed to visit Stanford as long as they follow their tourist visit policies. Groups are allowed to visit but must not disrupt daily activities. They must adhere to a few simple rules, such as refraining from roaming through private campus buildings, leaving trash on campus, or talking loudly or smoking in front of campus buildings.

You can request access for your private bus prior to your visit to avoid ticketing, towing, or other fees. Bus loading zones are available on Lasuen Street. While bus access to the Oval is usually prohibited, your group can request authorization to access this historic campus location!

Scheduling your Campus Tour

Let us make it easy for you to visit your favorite campuses. While you’re busy making a million other school-related choices, we’ll help make sure your college tour experience is comfortable and efficient.

Get started by checking out our minibus pricing guide or our complete guide to charter bus rentals. Or, simply call our reservation specialists any time at 1-855-826-6770 to book your bus for your next campus tour!