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Old 02-12-2020, 02:48 PM   #1
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Experience with RV length and camp sites

I was talking to a friend the other day and he mentioned that it becomes difficult to find spaces for a trailer/RV at camp grounds when the total length goes beyond around 31’ or so as does the ability to maneuver in said camp grounds. Is there any truth to this? What is your experience?
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:14 PM   #2
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Hi Andrew & welcome. Your friend's view might be a tad biased. Lots of us camping with 36', 40', & 45' rigs. Only places we typically don't fit are inside national parks.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by AndrewH View Post
I was talking to a friend the other day and he mentioned that it becomes difficult to find spaces for a trailer/RV at camp grounds when the total length goes beyond around 31’ or so as does the ability to maneuver in said camp grounds. Is there any truth to this? What is your experience?
There are numerous campgrounds at state parks that are limited in size for RVs. In Virginia we have, I believe, 2 or 3 state parks that have one or 2 sites that can accommodate rigs larger than 35 feet.

Yes, it can be an issue and one has to check when making reservations.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:38 PM   #4
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Hi Andrew & welcome. Your friend's view might be a tad biased. Lots of us camping with 36', 40', & 45' rigs. Only places we typically don't fit are inside national parks.


Funny you say that because we plan on visiting many. Many of the rigs I was looking at are around 36’ in total length.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:40 PM   #5
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As I've stated many times.... we successfully stayed IN national parks, state parks, national forest campgrounds, Corp of Engineers, county and city parks with our 40' motorhome & Jeep. No, you won't fit in every site but we found enough that we would fit in. RV parks? I assume no issues but we didn't stay in RV parks.

When our mind was made up as to where we were going to stay we never were turned away because there were no sites for us. We also did our homework beforehand. I have a 300 page document with the places we've stayed over our 16 years of full-timing and they're all public parks or boondocking spots except for a select few RV parks where we had to stay when visiting family close by.

I'm beginning to think that those who state that a big rig won't fit actually don't have one themselves and are just guessing or else they don't even try because of statements like this. Big rig drivers can fit into sites that someone in a smaller RV thinks is impossible.

OP: I notice from your profile that you live in the West. This is especially true in the West. Bottom line.... get the RV that you're more comfortable in and you'll find places to stay.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:12 PM   #6
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As I've stated many times.... we successfully stayed IN national parks, state parks, national forest campgrounds, Corp of Engineers, county and city parks with our 40' motorhome & Jeep. No, you won't fit in every site but we found enough that we would fit in. RV parks? I assume no issues but we didn't stay in RV parks.

When our mind was made up as to where we were going to stay we never were turned away because there were no sites for us. We also did our homework beforehand. I have a 300 page document with the places we've stayed over our 16 years of full-timing and they're all public parks or boondocking spots except for a select few RV parks where we had to stay when visiting family close by.

I'm beginning to think that those who state that a big rig won't fit actually don't have one themselves and are just guessing or else they don't even try because of statements like this. Big rig drivers can fit into sites that someone in a smaller RV thinks is impossible.

OP: I notice from your profile that you live in the West. This is especially true in the West. Bottom line.... get the RV that you're more comfortable in and you'll find places to stay.


Thanks so much! That information is very helpful.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:35 PM   #7
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I agree with twogypsies. Purchase the motor home you want the first time and save yourself some money. Many of us started with a short motor home only to find out length is not really an issue. Then we spent money on a larger model that we had really wanted in the first place.
We've fit a 45' motorhome in almost any park worth staying at. It does require some research and phone calls, but we always found a place to stay.
Remember, the really long rigs are 5th wheels with long wheelbase dually trucks. Many of these exceed 65'.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:38 PM   #8
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Funny you say that because we plan on visiting many. Many of the rigs I was looking at are around 36’ in total length.
36 is right in the sweet spot. I believe you should have no issues with national or state parks. Private campgrounds you will definitely be fine. We have a 32 foot and have had 0 problems.

I also agree with two Gypsy’s get the rig you like the best. We plan to upgrade to a larger rv over 40 foot in future and still plan to be at state and national park campgrounds..
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:24 PM   #9
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I also agree. We have a 36' pulling a toad. The advantage is that when you take the toad off, you're 36'. This is shorter than 5th wheels and even some bumper pulls when hooked up to the tow vehicle.

We've never had a problem staying in RV parks, State Parks and boondocking. Must admit we're done very few National Parks but, based on stays before getting our RV, I think we could get in most.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:30 PM   #10
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The longer you are the less spaces available & conversely the shorter you are the more spaces available; we are camphosts...And we are short...
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Old 02-12-2020, 10:45 PM   #11
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The longer you are the less spaces available & conversely the shorter you are the more spaces available; we are camphosts...And we are short...
We were also volunteers in Rocky Mtn. Nat'l Park and many other public parks and one of our duties at Rocky was assigning campsites for the day's incoming reservations. Using the chart they had made from years ago (& most likely, made by a non-RVer who just drove by the sites and guessed) we thought (by our daily campground walks) that we saw many more big sites then what was on the chart. So we asked if we could measure each site and make a new chart. The rangers were amazed at how many more large sites we found.

That's why one reason we didn't make reservations. We wanted to be able to choose our site and many times got the best site in the place. We were also lucky to be able to pull into parks early in the week before the mad rush. Many public campgrounds don't even accept reservations along with some national park campgrounds. Those are the ones we'd head to early morning when folks were leaving. In national and state parks we even secured cancellations on reservation sites by just driving up to the campground and asking.

During our travels we also found that the size given in print isn't the true size of the sites. They're guesses. Also, someone who is good at backing into a site has more options. Some may drive by the site thinking "I can't get into that one". Sometimes you have to be creative in parking the car or truck at an angle to get it on the parking pad. Also, people think they have to pull in on a pull-through site. If we saw we couldn't make the turn midway we just backed in from one end to use the front part of the pull-through and then parked our car on the other end.
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Old 02-13-2020, 03:41 AM   #12
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My trailer is every bit of 37 feet long. I don't fit inside every national park, but I do fit in most. When I don't fit, there's always a private park with plenty of room half an hour from every national park I've been to. That just gives me an extra half hour to enjoy the motorcycle ride out to the park so I put it in the "win" category. Every state park I've ever tried to get into has had room. Sometimes I have to do some fancy maneuvers to back into the spot, but I've never not been able to get in. Private campgrounds are a total piece of cake. I've never found one that wasn't way more than big enough.


I have noticed that my 37 foot trailer can fit just fine in a most 35 foot or less spots. I don't know who measures those RV spots, but they need new glasses. I often tell RV parks that my rig is 34 feet long. They shrink 10% when it gets cold right?



Bottom line: Get the rig you like and you'll find a place to put it no matter where you want to go. Those RV spots have a funny way of stretching a few feet when need be.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:24 AM   #13
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My trailer is every bit of 37 feet long. I don't fit inside every national park, but I do fit in most. When I don't fit, there's always a private park with plenty of room half an hour from every national park I've been to. That just gives me an extra half hour to enjoy the motorcycle ride out to the park so I put it in the "win" category. Every state park I've ever tried to get into has had room. Sometimes I have to do some fancy maneuvers to back into the spot, but I've never not been able to get in. Private campgrounds are a total piece of cake. I've never found one that wasn't way more than big enough.


I have noticed that my 37 foot trailer can fit just fine in a most 35 foot or less spots. I don't know who measures those RV spots, but they need new glasses. I often tell RV parks that my rig is 34 feet long. They shrink 10% when it gets cold right?



Bottom line: Get the rig you like and you'll find a place to put it no matter where you want to go. Those RV spots have a funny way of stretching a few feet when need be.
I think they don't calculate the overhang. I could usually back a several feet past the parking block if there is a solid place for the jacks to come down on my trailers but with the Class A I can't go back as far. I still hang over by a few feet though so I'm only using about 35' of the 40' spot. I will say though the longer the rig the more you have to think about being able to get level.
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Old 02-13-2020, 06:57 AM   #14
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I will say though the longer the rig the more you have to think about being able to get level.
Good point! I didn't think about that, but it's definitely true. A shorter rig is easier to get level if the pad is not decently level.
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