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Old 07-15-2021, 03:18 PM   #1
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Campground Campsite Length Question

We are looking at buying a class A and want to stay under the 30 length requirement that lot's of the state and national parks have. My question is how those rules are enforced.

If we have an RV which is listed as 30' from the manufacturer and it's actually 30'8" are they going to call us on that?
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Old 07-15-2021, 03:38 PM   #2
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I was catechized for even asking this type of question.


But short answer, probably not.



I was getting ready to go Devils Tower, which on the NP website says 35' limit, my coach is ~40'. When I got there the park was almost empty, so I drove through and found a site I could fit in and registered. The next day I saw one of the camp hosts and asked them about the limit, they said "what limit", they didn't know the website listed a limit and said as long as you fit in the site your good.



I am currently in N Wisconsin and drove through a campground we use to go to ~45 years ago. I asked about size limit and they said I could probably find something so I drove through in my Jeep. There were some larger sites (not many).
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Old 07-15-2021, 03:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullmoonguru View Post
We are looking at buying a class A and want to stay under the 30 length requirement that lot's of the state and national parks have. My question is how those rules are enforced.

If we have an RV which is listed as 30' from the manufacturer and it's actually 30'8" are they going to call us on that?
I have never seen a post where someone said a ranger came out with a tape measure and told a camper they had to leave. I've seen posts where people talk about a 30' limit and taking their 34 or 36' in, and since it fits never are bothered.

That said, a campground with a 30' limit and a 40' DP shows up, might get turned back, even though a lot of those sights are listed as 30', but that's a trailer and tow vehicle, so a 40' DP would fit. Personally I would not try it.
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Old 07-15-2021, 04:05 PM   #4
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In 50 years of RVing, I've only seen the length of an RV checked once. We were traveling in our truck/camper and my dad was in his truck/travel trailer. We were going to traverse "The Road to the Sun". We stopped at the booth and they had a painted line behind us. My dad exceeded the length and he was forced to take another road around.

I think you'll soon find that there is no need to buy a 30' RV to get into parks. Many are disappointed when they go that short, especially in a Class A. Most campgrounds, if they have a limit, it's closer to 35'. Out west, four of the National Parks, with campgrounds inside the park, all accept 40' coaches......Yellowstone (Fishing Bridge), Grand Canyon (Trailer Village), Zion (Watchman) and Yosemite (Upper Pines, Lower Pines and North Woods). I believe Yosemite says 35', but there are at least 10 spots in Upper Pines where we can get our 40' to fit. No one challenges you.
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Old 07-15-2021, 04:16 PM   #5
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We were able to find sites in every state park and national park we tried with our 40' motorhome & Jeep. No, you're not going to fit in every site or park and neither will a 30' RV fit in every site or park but there are sites you will fit.

We did our research beforehand so we knew we were good to go. Honestly, we were never turned back because we didn't fit. We knew beforehand that we'd fit.

I will add that we rarely made reservations (things may change after this year). That gave us the opportunity to leave the motorhome at the park entrance or nearby and drive the Jeep through the campground to pick out our space. Many times we got the best site in the park. I have a 300+ page document of places we stayed with details during our full-time travels. Yes, there are plenty of sites for big rigs out there.

No, they are not going to measure you. If you don't fit you don't stay. They don't care what length you are.

I wouldn't limit myself to a 30' because of that reason. Get what you'd be comfortable traveling with.
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Old 07-15-2021, 04:34 PM   #6
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Never have run into an issue where I was too long once I did my due diligence about the campground and sites using Google maps and satellite pictures.

Don't forget, you can go further back until the rear tire hits the cement stopper. That will gain you another 6-8 feet as long as a tree doesn't let you backup that far.

Works great with a fifth wheel and long bed truck.
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Old 07-15-2021, 04:55 PM   #7
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We stayed at a state park a while back and noted there weren't but a couple of sites that matched my length. When we got there I saw why. There were sites I wasn't getting into with a shoehorn. Trees and rocks all over. I'd say the place was originally laid out for tent camping. As it was the slot I backed into was short enough that the tail of the coach was literally hanging out over a creek. Very restful, sleeping with a creek burbling directly under your pillow. (38 footer)

But same as above, no measuring tapes, they were just letting folks know whether they could literally fit into what they had.
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:19 PM   #8
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I have seen RVs measured at Rocky Mountain NP. They had a speed bump where you stopped on entry and a white painted line at the rear. If your RV extend beyond, you were denied access unless your reservation was for loop C that has some long sites.
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Old 07-15-2021, 08:26 PM   #9
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I am not going to say it never happens, but more often than not it will be the physics of the RV site, or the clearances on the curves on the camping loop that will be your limitation. We have a 28 ft class A coach, actual bumper to bumper is 29'5", and we have stayed at National and State parks with sites advertised to be 30 ft, some are 30 ft, some are 32 ft, and a few may be 75 feet. In two cases in Yellowstone we had booked 30 ft sites and were barely able to get in even though we had a sub-30 ft coach primarily due to saplings growing up at the very back edge of the pavement on the site. One was so close I put an orange cone out at our front bumper for fear someone might hit us with their towing mirror.


It has been noted online that one of the national park campgrounds that does check is Mather Campground at the Grand Canyon, all I can say is they did not give us a second look when we were there in October of 2019 even though we were booked into a site with an official length of 27 ft max (due to being a curved pull through site with trees and boulders I suspect), and the campground has a 30 ft max total RV length limit.


p.s. here are a couple of photos of our coach in two so called 27 ft sites. One at Mather campground the other at an Arkansas state park where we barely fit, but any port in a storm, on in this case a dense fog. As you can see there can be a significant difference in measuring accuracy for sites.
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Old 07-15-2021, 10:43 PM   #10
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We volunteered at Rocky Mtn. NP and one of our 'jobs' was assigning sites to incoming reservations. We'd start with the biggest RV and soon ran out of long sites according to their chart. We've walked the campground often and knew there were more long sites than their ancient chart showed. We asked the ranger if we could individually walk each site and measure and look for obstacles such as trees or rocks and make a new chart. The rangers were amazed at how many additional sites we found for big rigs.

When campground information is in print it would be rare that each site was walked and measured. They do a guesstimate and most of the time the people doing it aren't even campers. The person doing the reservations aren't even based in the campground and most likely, out of state.
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Old 07-16-2021, 12:43 AM   #11
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A lot of the older state and forestry campgrounds we enjoy I think were originally designed primarily for tent camping. So, while the published length limits might not be enforced, life might be simpler at those places with the 30' MH.
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Old 07-16-2021, 02:28 AM   #12
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We have a 45' coach and can find room in State Parks we frequent (VA/NC). Takes some planning. When we got into RV three years ago (38' Cl A gas) we thought the state parks would be our main focus. That changed over time. We now prefer small quiet private parks, and never have issues finding a lot we fit in. We know the older national parks are not in the mix, but there are private parks close by those and we have a toad. Long way of saying what others have more eloquently expressed, don't buy for the exception buy for the rule.

best of luck
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Old 07-16-2021, 05:27 AM   #13
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Length and width of the sites are not the only consideration:

Some forest service parks do not maintain the tree canopy's, making it a challenge to back into a site with many branches and limbs near the 12 foot height. Our fifth wheel stands at 12ft 8in. All motorhomes have the same issue.

Then there are trees along the side that prevent you from opening the awning more than a couple feet.
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Old 07-16-2021, 05:46 AM   #14
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The only time it ever came up for me was when I going in to an older state park that is right on the beach, which means there is a lot of legally protected vegetation there - holding the dunes together. The site map said 36', my RV at the time was 36' according to the mfg, but true length was closer to 37'. I asked the ranger at check in if that was going to be an issue (I'd been there before and knew that their measurements were fairly accurate and that they had lots of sites too short for my RV). His answer was that as long as I don't either damage the vegetation or stick out into the access road then as far as he was concerned the RV fit the site. I expect you'll find much that same attitude wherever you go.
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