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Old 06-21-2015, 10:40 AM   #1
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Optimal length for State and National Parks

In our search for an A we were chatting with a couple that have a 45' DP. The told us it was too long for a lot of Parks. I realize many parks were built years ago. Just curious as to what the optimal length of a Class A would be? Or should I say what is the maximum length to still be able to access most parks?
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Old 06-21-2015, 11:06 AM   #2
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I think the 45 footer is the longest you can buy, and in most states the legal limit for a motor home.

Depending on your driving experience as far as in larger vehicles, the big ones take a little getting used to. But in my experience, (and again this is not for everyone) once you do get used to it, there is not many places you can't put it.

Now that being said, there are a lot of places you should not put it. I've had my bouts with curbs, tight turns that most would not have gone into, and have damaged my coach in the process.

If this is your first motorhome, a 45 may not afford you the comfort factor you're looking for when driving it in close quarters. You really should to test drive one before you make that decision.

As far as camp grounds, it will depend on how you plan to use your coach, more like KOA type areas, or more boondocking? In the state parks, on small roads or mostly interstate travel?

You are restricted with the larger units in some respect to some of the out of the way places. Very careful planning has to be forefront with the larger coach.

With all that said, We're wishing you the best of luck on your choice.

DTW
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Old 06-21-2015, 11:48 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allfish View Post
.....Just curious as to what the optimal length of a Class A would be? Or should I say what is the maximum length to still be able to access most parks?

In our three years fulltiming, we've not been surprised by any unusable campgrounds, nor (with one notable exception) by any unusable roads.

I say "surprised" because that is the key. We have found a small number of campgrounds that cannot handle 40 ft, mostly older State Parks or camping sites, and they so advise in their website or write-up. Likewise there are a great many roads where I cannot take my RV, but these are fairly easy to anticipate and avoid.

You are operating, for all practical purposes, a large charter bus that is intended to operate on main thoroughfares and large highways. Deviate at your peril.

There are two things you must do:

1. plan your route, particularly the smaller roads that are sometimes required. Look at them in advance so you know what you're dealing with, or can find alternatives. No surprises.

2. Pay attention to where you are moving and what's around you. Think. You do not want to find yourself (and your bus) in a place from which there's no exit. Again, no surprises.

Having tossed you these cautions, there are thousands upon thousands of folks driving large coaches all over this country of ours, and the great bulk of them never have any problem. Just be smarter than your coach, and enjoy it all!!


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Old 06-21-2015, 11:52 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allfish View Post
In our search for an A we were chatting with a couple that have a 45' DP. The told us it was too long for a lot of Parks. I realize many parks were built years ago. Just curious as to what the optimal length of a Class A would be? Or should I say what is the maximum length to still be able to access most parks?
If you are asking about state and federal parks I've stopped at a couple and my 40 foot was to long. Just my opinion but I'd think 36 feet would be good for most state & federal parks. If you are referring to commercial RV parks then any length is good.
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Old 06-21-2015, 11:55 AM   #5
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If you are asking about state and federal parks I've stopped at a couple and my 40 foot was to long. Just my opinion but I'd think 36 feet would be good for most state & federal parks. If you are referring to commercial RV parks then any length is good.
Agreed.

36 feet or less seems optimal.


UD
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Old 06-21-2015, 12:02 PM   #6
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Optimal length for State and National Parks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allfish View Post
In our search for an A we were chatting with a couple that have a 45' DP. The told us it was too long for a lot of Parks. I realize many parks were built years ago. Just curious as to what the optimal length of a Class A would be? Or should I say what is the maximum length to still be able to access most parks?
Like the Title says "Optimal length for State and National Parks" I would say that the optimal length would be 34 feet. I use to have a 36 foot and found there were many state and national parks I could not go in because of a 34 foot limitation. If you are towing you can always unhook which is a pain. On the other hand if only staying in newer or upgraded parks then 36 to 38 ft would be optimal. We traveled all over the USA in our 38 ft and only had to unhook a couple of times in tight situations and sharp turns where we had to backup to make the turn.
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Old 06-21-2015, 12:21 PM   #7
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I think 35 actual feet of length would be ideal for most state and federal parks. However, remember that the model number of most coaches does not reflect the actual length. For example, our DS 3735 measures about 39'.
Many 35 footers are gas motored coaches with long rear overhangs. Those overhangs can cause problems with hangups on driveways and wide tail swings. Forty-five footers also have wider tail swings then shorter coaches. Your home state may also require a special driver's license to operate a coach over 40 actual feet in length.
It is also worth remembering that you can't back up with your toad attached.
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Old 06-21-2015, 01:13 PM   #8
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Another issue is when was the SP built. Even with our 32-foot rig, we had some problems, particularly in Oregon SPs. Quite a few were built before the idea of having the sites at an angle to the park roadway. Many of them were square on and the roads were fairly narrow, single lane.

Even getting a 32-footer into a couple of them was very tight, as the cost of repairing three stow-bin doors showed later! That particular incident was at Harris Beach, just north of Brookings.
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:02 PM   #9
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Most state and fed parks cutoff limit is 35 ft.
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Old 06-21-2015, 03:41 PM   #10
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Go with a floor plan that you like. Forget about length limits in some parks. For just about every park that may have a 35 foot max limit there is a campground nearby that can accommodate a big rig.
We travel full time in a 42 foot MH and have yet to skip seeing a park or monument because we couldn't find a camp ground. Even CG that advertise 40 foot max we will call and they say no problem.
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Old 06-21-2015, 07:32 PM   #11
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Agree, get on the phone and ask at your favorite parks...before you buy.
Premium large campsites are hard to come by in the summer on the west coast. And it does depend on how tourist filled the cg gets.

We are 35 ft. And just a few on the coast where we had easy access with our previous 26' er are not available now. You do have to plan better. And parking is easier in tight spots under 36 ft.
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Old 06-21-2015, 09:11 PM   #12
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So much depends on the type of park you are looking for. State parks as a whole have not kept up on size of RV about 30' is optimal. Federal parks as in national forest the same go's and then a 30' maybe long. There is always exceptiions as I have seen 30' limit and there was a 45' with a 26' trailer in tow and had xtra room and on the other end saw a 40' site with no way for a 40' to get there because of trees or BIG rocks. I would say get the smallest you can be COMFORTABLE with and then live with it. There is no black and while answer that is correct.

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Old 06-21-2015, 09:27 PM   #13
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Several years back we stayed in a CA state park, and were over their advised length. We did not have a tow car to park, so we fit. Going out, we had to follow a loop road different than what we came in on. I walked it before we pulled out, and knew I had some tight places. We had two granddaughters with us, so my wife and the two girls got at each off corner, and walked as I drove out, they had two way radios, and advised me the full way. No scratches! (this was in the redwoods, so the trees do not give) But we had a full audience of other campers, which were mainly tent campers. Point being, if in a tight area, get help guiding you, regardless of the size.
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Old 06-22-2015, 01:08 AM   #14
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In Canada (BC at anyrate), the magic number appears to be 34'. Anything much longer than that and you will often find the provincial parks reservation system saying there are no spots available.
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