Situated near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in California, with a population of 380,000, Bakersfield is the largest city of Kern County. It is a significant hub for agriculture, energy production, mining, petroleum refining but it is probably best known as the birth-place of the country music genre, the Bakersfield sound. Attractions here include the stunningly beautiful Kern River and the trails and hills that run along it. Kayaking, rafting and biking are all popular as is eating out; Bakersfield is home to some fantastic cafes and res-taurants.
Bakersfield train station (Photo: Ron Reiring via Flickr / CC BY 2.0)
For those looking to explore the areas in around Bakersfield, we have compared the various rental car companies on a variety of factors, such as opening hours, available cars and of course, daily rates. Here are our favourites.
If flying into Bakersfield, you may choose to rent a car from Meadows Field Airport (located just 3 miles north of downtown). From there, companies like Hertz, Budget, Avis, and National offer shuttle services to their parking lots. Out of these four, we found Budget to have the best selection of cars, especially in the economical category. On site, they were renting out the Ford Focus and the Ford Fiesta at under $25 per day. These small, zippy vehicles are perfect for enjoying the roll-ing hills and beautiful views afforded along the Kern River Canyon. If you’re looking to drive deep into the countryside, then you might want to opt for a SUV like the Ford Edge at $49 per day. Opening hours Mon-day – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm; Sat 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.
Located right next to the Greyhound bus station, in the heart of Bak-ersfield, this particular branch is very popular. Therefore, we strong-ly recommended reserving online, or better still, calling ahead to check on the availability of cars. Customer feedback focuses on the agency’s central location and the staff’s friendly and efficient ser-vice. Among their cheaper options are reliable models such as the Hyun-dai Elantra and Mitsubishi Mirage, both of which can be hired for around $35 per day in mid-season (although these prices tend to rise by 20% in high season). Opening hours Monday to Friday 8am – 5pm.
Whether you just need a small car to commute for business or you’re on a family holiday, Budget generally has the cheapest cars with daily prices starting off at $25 in mid season. This particular branch in Wible Orchard is located on the Southern Pacific Railroad, 4.25 miles south-southwest of downtown Bakersfield. If you are someone who rents cars regularly, you should consider signing up to Budget Fastbreak – as a member, you simply flash your driving license, pick up your keys and bypass the lines. Returns are just as easy. Opening hours Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm; Saturday 9 – 12pm; Sunday, closed.