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Old 04-06-2014, 05:27 PM   #1
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State/ National park 30' limits... is that really a big deal?

Newbie here...

I keep hearing that state and national parks limit RVs to 30' in length and that anything over needs to find a RV resort campground instead. Yet I've talked to a couple of guys in California who claim to get away with getting in to State parks with their 38' and 40' MHs; although they say you have to know where to go and which spots to choose.

With that in mind...

I'm presently shopping for a new TT, 5er or Class A. We have two kids and we've decided that bunks are a must (I really don't deal with putting a dinette away every day and ensuing mess that pre-teens create). This will be our home for a while as we have already completely moved out of our SB home and listed for sale. We plan to go on 6-9 month RV trip (maybe 1 yr), starting in June, interspersed with a few trips to maybe Hawaii, Europe or maybe a cruise (to break up any monotony that may set in from being a family of 4 living in an RV for that long). We will also be homeschooling the kids on the road during that time.

Initially I was set on a used Class A but, as I began to look at more and more RVs, my expectations, along with the budget, have evolved. The Class As seem to have very limited storage space for an family of 4. And a lot of the used stuff we looked at was, for lack of a better word, junk. So we started looking at new ones.

Yesterday we looked at a really nice 39' TT, the Palomino Puma 39 PQB. It had a huge bunk room (4 bunks, desk, entertainment ctr, closets) and a good size master. My wife liked it because it has a 1.5 bath (two toilets) and a full size Washer Dryer in a closet in the master (stackable). I like the idea of a bumper pull because I can keep the camper shell on my truck and use the bed for storage. Plus I have racks on the shell so I can store whatever (kayaks, bicycles, etc) on the roof. Also, should truck breakdown, and the repair bill be far too high (say a new engine or transmission). I can pretty easily replace it with a used Ford Excursion or 3/4 ton Suburban to keep us on the travel plan... vs shopping around for the right 1 ton truck setup. And if I need anyone to move it for me while I'm away that would ideally be easier to find friend who has a hitch for a bumper pull as oppose to a gooseneck or reese hitch.



Then we looked at a Fifth Wheel. The Sabre 36 QBOK-7. It was identical to the bumper pull TT in setup (two seperate bedrooms, 2 lavs, WD, etc), except that the fit and finish was a seemingly higher quality, ceilings were higher and obviously it had more storage. It also had the outside kitchen (the TT did not) but that reduced the bunk room by one (3 instead of 4 that the TT has). The Sabre is also 39'. Towing length will be reduced by 5 but it's still the same foot print at the camp ground.

I presently have a Dodge 2500 Short Bed with the Magnum V10. It's rated to pull 13,200 as a bumper pull, 13,400 as a Fifth. The TT came in at 9400 lbs. So no problem there. But the 5er came at 11840... obviously that will push the limits of my truck. I know I can always get another truck (I already have two, 1 3/4 ton and a 1 ton DRW Cummins. The one-ton is overeas though). But the post 2006 diesels are too messed up (emissions), and any mileage benefit of diesel over a big block gasser is limited at best now (again, due to all the emissions crap). Plus, a new truck is $45-60,000, and the older pre-2002 diesels have far too many miles on them. Sure the engine will go to 1 million miles on a Cummins 5.9 or a 7.3 PS but all the other stuff fails well before that, often 2-3 times (fuel and injection pumps, trannys, etc, the list is never-ending). So I'm a gasser guy for now until the diesel industry gets its act back together.

After all the searching, we sort of shrugged our shoulders and assumed we'd just have to plan around that 30' State/ National park campground limit I keep hearing about... until we came across the most ideal Class A I've seen yet:The Thor A.C.E.

The Thor ACE comes in at 30.2 feet and that includes a small bunk sort of alcove to the side just before the master bedroom. Each kid would get their own bunk with TV, etc. (not that we're a family that allows too much of that sort of thing, TV). And there's plenty of additional sleeping area should any relatives join us for a short part of the trip (bunk over driver cab, sofa bed, dinette foldout). I like the idea of being able to squeeze into any theoretical national or state park without length limits. While my wife likes the idea of being able to move about the RV while driving (on a limited basis of course, and mostly staying strapped in) and tend to the kids or use the lav, whatever. I do have concerns that after driving all day to the camp ground, the kids will get "cabin fever", whereas they would look forward to jumping into the TT or 5er when we get to destination. But that's a tertiary concern. For now we plan to limit our driving to 4-5 hours, if possible.

All that said, I don't see too many RVers, especially the full-timers, limiting themselves to 30'. So am I reading into this 30' thing too much? I don't mind paying for the nightly fee for a resort. But State and national parks are always going to offer more in terms of nature. And that's why we're starting the RVing thing in the first place. To teach our kids more about life and our great country. Not so they can get on the Free Wifi or discuss the latest social media apps with the other RVers kids.

We live and work overseas. We have a beautiful life making a decent living on a tropical island. But even that lifestyle has it's limitations. So we're looking to keep RVing for years to come. Accordingly, this will ultimately be more than just a year of RVing. We will take trips to leave the island and come back to the US for travel and adventure experiences (after you live on and island, you miss some of the non-tropical stuff life has to offer). Hence, we'll store the RV, whatever we buy, at the end of this year-long trip and come back 2-4 times a year for follow-up trip. Point being, we'll paln to use whatever we buy for the next 4-6 years, or until the kids head off to college. So I'm wondering if 30' is too small. Even though this Class A does have penty of room (the whole left side is one BIG slider).

Before I go out and buy a brand new, size-restricted, Class A, I want to make sure my research is thorough. While I like the idea of not worrying about park-enforced size limits, I much prefer the larger TT or FW due to the additional room and storage.

The list prices for the vehicles:

TT: $47,000
FW: $57,000
Class A: $118,000

I'm guessing I'll negotiate 30-40% off list price when all is said and done.

As a side note, my neighbor is selling me his 2005 FW, which has a Bunk room, for $6500. I'm going to buy it and get out on the road to figure out what the heck works. All similar models of his make/ model are listed for 16-$20,000 so I'm guessing I should be able to get a decent price (maybe $8-10,000?) on trade when I do step up to purchase new. His FW comes in at 32' so I'll get an idea of who lets me in (over the 30' mark) and who doesn't. It's a Thor Jazz 2980 BH.

This site is a great resource and most everyone is so kind.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:28 PM   #2
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I think you'll find those limits closer to 40'.
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Old 04-06-2014, 05:35 PM   #3
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Michigan State parks have no size limits. That being say'd there are some sites that won't take 40 to 45 foot rigs. All sites will accommodate rigs shorter than that.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:22 PM   #4
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Out west I rarely see issues with 35' and in most cases 40' is no issue. Just go to Federal recreation, camping and tour reservation information - Recreation.gov and Campgrounds and Camping Reservations - ReserveAmerica to look at the reservation details for many state and national parks and you will see the size limits.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:28 PM   #5
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the brochure for my palazzo state's under 35 foot for state and national parks and of course that let's my coach in , never had a problem getting in an maneuvering around , at the same time I can see where they use it as a selling point , I think it just depend on what park you goto
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:37 PM   #6
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I'll just say 2 things. First, My coach has never been measured, nor have I seen anyone measuring somebody else's during check in.

Second, whie you may find a bigger coach challenging when you first strike out on your adventure, it won't be too ling and you'll think nothing of putting it anyplace it will physically fit!

Bottom line? 30 ft. campground limit is hogwash. Familiarize yourself about driving your coach and go.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:07 PM   #7
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It depends on the park. Many parks out west can handle 45-footers. Many east coast parks have shorter limits. Forested parks may be hard to maneuver.

Corps of Engineer parks typically can handle any size RV.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:39 PM   #8
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I spend a lot of time in Cali, some of the older parks smaller state cant handle a much past 30'. My fav place is in the MTs near San Diego. It is a state campground and has a 32' max but it is a small OLD OLD campground. They cater to tent campers more than RVs (no hookups but has dump station).
There is another state campground about 45 min away that can accommodate 40+ but i HATE it there very few trees, lots soo close to each other and lots of people. There are many campgrounds that have been "modernized" or upgraded. I prefer older smaller less people.

For every one that has a size limit i know of many that don't. I would pick the rig bases on your needs not park limits there are sooo many places to pick from.

Karlak

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Unless you want to stay in the older parks like i do
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Old 04-06-2014, 11:19 PM   #9
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Awesome. Great advice, all. Thanks so much for input!
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:00 AM   #10
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It seems like a lot of the State and National parks now have a picture link to each of the campsites and show the driveway length. You add your overhang to the length to see if you can fit. Even without a picture, they define the length of the parking area and once again you can add in the overhang.
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Old 04-07-2014, 01:34 PM   #11
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I do not think you will run afoul of length limitations but what you will find is a SHORTAGE of sights that will accomadate you.

As an example check Florida State Parks (maybe you are not going to Florida so check where you are going) and I think you would have a problem getting into a lot of parks (south of Tampa) during the winter months. They are usually booked 11 months in advance. The 30-40 foot sites are the first to go and it sure burns me when I see an 18 foot pop up in a 45 foot site

I am sure the Federal parks will accomodate you size wise but again most of these sites are reserved 6 months in advance.
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Old 04-07-2014, 02:09 PM   #12
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The only park we had a problem with was one over by DC. We had started off at Aquia Pines Camp Resort in Stafford VA. Supposed to be one of the best in the area but we found it to one of the worst. More trees and overhangs then we've ever seen. Internet that "maybe" worked if you were right next to the office. Half the park was closed due to still winter hours but full charge for everything because of the unusual warm weather. We moved over to Prince William Forest RV CG in Dumfries VA. Wide roads for any size rig, while there were trees they were not in the way of driving. Flat and easily accessible sites. They just asked us to cant the rv a little sideways to fit it in the site, no problem since they were a little on the wide side anyway. Oh and the 2nd campground was cheaper too with working internet.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PyrateSilly View Post
The only park we had a problem with was one over by DC. We had started off at Aquia Pines Camp Resort in Stafford VA. Supposed to be one of the best in the area but we found it to one of the worst. More trees and overhangs then we've ever seen. Internet that "maybe" worked if you were right next to the office. Half the park was closed due to still winter hours but full charge for everything because of the unusual warm weather. We moved over to Prince William Forest RV CG in Dumfries VA. Wide roads for any size rig, while there were trees they were not in the way of driving. Flat and easily accessible sites. They just asked us to cant the rv a little sideways to fit it in the site, no problem since they were a little on the wide side anyway. Oh and the 2nd campground was cheaper too with working internet.
I lived in Northern Virginia for 25 years. I totally agree with your assessment of Aquia Pines. It is not a government owned park. Prince William Forest RV park I'd a government park. They restrict RV size to 32 feet and I believe that is generous. Another factor is tree limbs. I've been in a few parks with nice sites but low hanging branches along the road to the sites. Although this thread is not about specific parks, the Northern VA park authority has nice parks at Bull Run and Pohick Bay.
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Old 04-07-2014, 03:39 PM   #14
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Great info Thank you !!
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