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Old 11-23-2015, 09:35 PM   #1
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State Campground Limitations

Hubby and I are in the process of deciding what fifth wheel we are buying for fulltime living. We have heard multiple times from different people that state parks around the country have length limitations, i.e. over 35 feet and you are screwed. I have been researching and so far, I've failed to come across a single state park that has any such limitation. Are people blowing smoke or have I just not run across the particular state parks in my random research. Any help would be appreciated, especially specific examples.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:12 PM   #2
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Yes, you'll hear that all the time on these forums but we've never had it be true for us.

We fit in many state parks throughout the country with our 40' motorhome and Jeep. Granted, there will be some with small sites but for the places we wanted to go, we've always found a site.

We love public parks and they're always our first choice. We've had no problem with national parks, national forests, Corp of Engineers, county and city parks. Just do your research and you'll be just fine.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:21 PM   #3
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National Parks also have length limits. Longer rigs do more limit your park and campground options in some places.
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Old 11-23-2015, 10:29 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. I don't mind limited, it's much like anywhere that doesn't allow dogs - those sites don't get our business. 😊
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:55 AM   #5
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We have camped and hosted in State Parks in Virginia primarily and camped in Federal Parks as well. I agree with comments from others. The larger the RV the fewer the sites available but 35 foot should be fine for most. Here at least the Parks fill up quickly on weekends and over the years a lot more campers which means planning and reservations. Many parks are going to site specific reservation which may help assure a spot for you that is large enough. It is difficult to have the best of both worlds. A large camper for comfort and space or a small camper that has more site options. I think 35 feet is a good in between size.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:25 AM   #6
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35 feet is a good size except when you live and work from it with two large, 70 pound plus, dogs. 😊 I think we are going to go with the layout that works best for us and worry about length considerations when reserving a spot. I doubt we will be east of the Mississippi often as we both prefer life west of the Mississippi far more.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:01 AM   #7
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Wow, two 70 lb. plus dogs do make a difference and west of the Mississippi. Sounds like you have made the right decision going with the RV you want then finding places that fit since you are full timing. We were very comfortable in our 40 foot Class A with 4 slides and the size of the storage compartments but in Virginia there were limitations at some parks and crowded. We didn't full time - more like half time.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:07 AM   #8
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There will be some problems with site size and road limitations. But, I can tell you from experience that you can make it into 95% of the parks. And there you will find a pop-up in one of the big sites where you could fit and a tent in the other.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:11 AM   #9
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I'll give you an example of how a length restriction will work.

I recently visited Yosemite NP. The longest site I could find to reserve for when I wanted to go was thirty five feet total length. That meant you had to be able to get your trailer *and* truck in the camp site parking area, and the length of both vehicles had to be no longer than thirty five feet, period.

The other option is to park the trailer at the camp site, park at Curry Village, and walk or take the free shuttle bus back over to Upper Pines. Another option is to reserve the camp site next to yours, and pay for it, to park your other vehicle. There is a strict two vehicle per camp site rule, and they both must fit in the parking area for the camp site.

There were camp sites with larger parking areas, but they are hard to get, as the experienced Yosemite campers with large rigs know that those are the ones they have to reserve to fir their big rig and tow vehicle or toad in there.

While I was there, one couple with a very long fiver was escorted from the park as they showed up without a reservation, tried to fit the trailer into a camp site that barely had room for the trailer, and wouldn't park their tow vehicle over at Curry Village and all other camp sites had been reserved. They raised a huge stink about it, started screaming at the camp hosts (volunteers), and parked partially blocking the camp ground road enough such that other large rigs couldn't get by. The NPS police showed up and stood by as the campers packed up, and essentially told them "we'd like to help you out. Which way did you come in?" It was quite a show for the money I paid.

I understand that Yosemite may be an extreme example of how total vehicle length is a problem real problem at some camp grounds, but that is what I've seen of the issue so far. I just thought a "colorful" example would paint a good picture in your mind of how in some places, thirty five feet of space really means for the entire vehicle, truck and trailer together, not just the camper.

Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy the heck out of travelling with your pets. I have a sixty five pound german shepherd, and she seems to be having a great time once we get to a destination and she acclimates a little to the new place.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:19 AM   #10
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You can go to ReserveAmerica, pick a state or city, put in your length requirements, elec requirement, etc. and find sites that suit you. Many parks will have pics of the sites. Granted, RA does not have all campgrounds, but you can at least find something that you will fit in. You will also want to take into consideration that although there is a site big enough, are the campground roads adequate to maneuver your rig. Some (especially older) campgrounds can have pretty narrow and/or twisty internal roads.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:20 AM   #11
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Have you checked for size limitations of state and national parks in the New England area. Many are old and were designed for tent camping. I trouble getting my old 27' MH in some CG'S. My current 36' MH is even more restrictive. BTW, some of the older parks may have limited hookups (water, sewer, and/or electric). You may need a generator to recharge your batteries and a "blue boy" waste tote to empty your waste tanks.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:31 AM   #12
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My 5er is 33' and we have had a few problems getting level or positioning for slide and awning use in smaller sites. We now reserve sites well in advance so that we get a big site. The older parks are limited as to length, but my problems have had more to do with parking my TV off the site in a parking lot because the combined length was too long for a site. I like my stuff where I can keep an eye on it and have access to tools, gear, etc.
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:24 AM   #13
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We have done extensive SP camping here in Wisconsin (yes, east of the Mississippi, but just barely )...

We've found there are plenty of sites that "technically" will fit our 36' rig.. heck even larger than that.. but the turning radius' and the low hanging tree's are what prevent us from visiting SOME parks.. However, we fit in the large majority of parks..

Additionally.. it appears the State of WI is making a concerted effort to upgrade electric to most of the popular parks from 30amp to 50amp.. We are very pleased and lucky to have such a strong SP program here in WI.. I would put it up next to any other states program..

So, if you don't mind crossing a bridge over the Mississippi River to the State of Wisconsin.. I think you'll be very happy you did...
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Old 11-24-2015, 10:40 AM   #14
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In the NE there is a variety of terrain. You will find anything from open field to tent platforms bulldozed into a hill side. Then there are the trees we love. The end result is that there are usually spaces somewhere but not spaces everywhere. Most places also have a limited amount of electric if they have it.
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