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TimboCarp

Length Limits in Campgrounds

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New at RV camping and I find that a lot of state parks have a 35' limit. I have a 36' Bounder and some tell me that the campgrounds really don't hold tight on the limit rule for a foot or two. I wonder if that is true? What has been your experience?

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Within reason, our coach magically "shrinks" sometimes to fit within the listed size limit for a site for reservation purposes. We've never had a problem fitting in the chosen site. In some cases, we've found that it isn't the site itself that prompted the length restriction, but the access road getting to the site due to narrow turns, etc. I think in many cases that's more of an issue for TT's than it is for motorhomes of similar lengths.

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One should always measure the overhang from their back tires to see what their actual 'foot print' is.  Most sites allow  you to hang your back over the end, especially for a motorhome.  

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29 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

Most sites allow  you to hang your back over the end, especially for a motorhome.  

That doesn't make any sense. Why would a motorhome be allowed to hang over when a trailer would not? 

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They both can if it's doooo-able....... Most trailers  are a bit lower to the ground and can't make it over the "bumpers" that are sometimes installed to mark the "site"!  My trailer has been known to clear the bumpers to fit in a smaller site. Sort a of a "shrink to fit".

Edited by DesertMiner

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7 minutes ago, Big5er said:

That doesn't make any sense. Why would a motorhome be allowed to hang over when a trailer would not? 

Most  trailers do not have air leveling. If you have the ability to raise your coach, you can and get over the cement bump. Just remember to raise it again before you leave. 

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Check to see what is behind the site before backing. Some have tall curbs. Some have trees. Some have back to back sites. Some have a sewer line you DON"T want to drive across. I almost backed into a neighbor's rig in a private park before I realized "objects in mirrors may be closer than they appear". That's when I learned about GOAL: Get Out And Look!

Linda Sand

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57 minutes ago, Big5er said:

Why would a motorhome be allowed to hang over when a trailer would not?

Phil,

Everyone knows.............motorhome geeks ............"hang over"  more because they drink more.........

Dollytrolley v 2.05 hangs FOURTEEN FEET past rear axle..........best watch the ole tail-swing at the Mc Dee Drive Thru,,,,,,

 

Drive on............(too much motorhome.......too much Hang-Over)

 

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I was recently reviewing details on a state park.  It showed a 35' limit.  When you saw the actual site details, it was 70's long,  pretty level and we would have easily fit.  The access roads may have been the reason - no room to swing to back into the site?  We didn't go, so don't know for sure.

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From our experience if you have a 36' you will surely fit in a 35' site.   With our 40' motorhome we fit in 35' sites.  The towed car can be parked creatively at an angle.  RV site size on paper are not gospel. You'll find some bigger sites mixed in. 

We volunteered at a popular national park and in the morning we worked alongside a ranger assigning incoming reservations to sites for that day.  We'd start with the biggest RV & choose the biggest site & worked our way down.  We soon noticed that when we walked the campground at our leisure there were many more big sites than were on our assigning chart.  So... we suggested we make a new chart after we examined each site ourselves.  The rangers were shocked at how many more big sites we found

Quite often when parks put a general size for the campground they are literally guessing by a quick observation.  They don't measure every site and often the person who designated that the campground is for 35' isn't even a RVer.  Also, no use making a call to the park office or the reservation site because they don't have a clue and usually aren't even near the campground.  Yes, 'some' might go by the entrance road but certainly, not all.  That's not what we found to be.  Also, years ago a 35' RV was huge & the park at the time put that as the maximum size on literature - meaning for big rigs.  Nowadays, 35' is a baby. :)

Try to use Google satellite view and do a 'drive' into the campground from the main road. If you zoon in close you can get a very good idea of the road, curves and the sites.  Also note what size RVs are parked in that campground.

Basically, the state park is not going to measure you when you arrive.  However, if you have a reservation and you get there and you don't fit on your site then you're out of luck.  We rarely made reservations for that reason. We like to choose our sites ourselves. We chose public campgrounds that didn't even accept reservations and we then arrived by mid-week and stayed through the weekend.  Quite often we got the best site in the house!  With our 40' we fit in all kinds of public parks - national, state, national forest, BLM, Corp of Engr. county and city.

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6 hours ago, LFDR3116 said:

I was recently reviewing details on a state park.  It showed a 35' limit.  When you saw the actual site details, it was 70's long,  pretty level and we would have easily fit.  The access roads may have been the reason - no room to swing to back into the site?  We didn't go, so don't know for sure.

I ran across this recently too. 

http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/bear-creek-lake#cabins_camping

When you click the PDF for campsite info,  the site length and width are markedly larger than the vehicle length. So, I am quite curious.

 

And we learned to watch site width too. We went camping with friends. We arrived first and selected the sites. Our original site selection would not have been wide enough for our friends with their awnings and slide out. 

 

 

Edited by MrsSquid
clarification

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Welcome to the Escapee forums!

There are several good answers here but I'll add a bit based on many years of RV travels and having been a campground host in several state and county parks. I have never seen any park staff measure the length of an arriving RV. Length limits may be listed for a wide range of reasons and accuracy is also sometimes suspect. In some parks, the length listed is the actual length of the RV pad, but as others have mentioned, you usually can hang the end of an RV over the inside end of that pad when you have parked without any problems, but with trailers, the leveling jacks may not have solid footing. In some cases, the length is listed based on how large an RV the typical driver can get into a site, but because the driving skills of each one of us vairy some people can get a much larger RV into a site that other people find difficult to put a small RV into. The width of streets and the obstacles like trees & rocks play a major role in how long an RV can be put into a particular site. The same is true of the geometry of the site to the access roads. I have been in national parks where some campgrounds limit the length of RVs because of the road that one must travel to reach that campground. In one case there were very tight turns with rocks and trees that did not allow an RV with a long distance behind the rear axels to overhang the edge of the road. 

Many public parks do require that the user gets all of his RV and any additional vehicle completely into the assigned site and off of the roads and this too sometimes is the reason for the lengths listed. The key thing to remember is that when you select a site it is your responsibility to get your RV into that site in compliance with the park's rules. If you can do so,  nobody is going to come and measure your RV to see if it is too long. If you can't get into the site in compliance with those rules, it then becomes your problem and you could be asked to comply or leave. 

We lived fulltime in a 36' motorhome for nearly 12 years and in that time I only remember one time that we were unable to stay in a park where we had hoped because we were too long for the available sites. But I have many times observed an RV owner unable to get his RV into a site that would have been amply long if he had better driving skills. I have also bypassed a few parks where the road in limited RVs to a shorter length, but stayed in a different campground. Two national parks that I recall having a campground that we might have gone to if roads were no problem were Rocky Mountain and Olympic. 

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The photo below is one example of a site with a length limit that's deceiving. The site is listed on the reservation system with a 35' limit, but as you can see in the photo, our 34' coach and toad fit with plenty of room to spare. What you can't see in the photo is how tight the turns were getting to the site, and how tight it was backing into the site. We had no problem as long as we kept a close watch on the trees, but I suspect longer TT's would have a lot more trouble negotiating the road and sites100_6451.JPG.33f2822714035afc5b81753172bd8f2c.JPG.

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Remember that most of the public parks and private resorts all measure their sites to the LOWEST ability driver.  Many of the state and federal campgrounds also measure from the wheel stop-log-curb-end of gravel or pavement, as the length of the site.  We have been in sites that said 30', but with the back of the camper hanging past the tire stop, we had plenty of room with a 38' 5th wheel.

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13 hours ago, jcussen said:

Most  trailers do not have air leveling. If you have the ability to raise your coach, you can and get over the cement bump. Just remember to raise it again before you leave. 

You can't get your coach higher than it's normal ride height with the air - - in fact we dump the air when setting up.   Our ride height is higher because of the bigger tires to support the load to start with.   But unlike trailers that often have jacks at the very end (which would do down on soft, uneven ground past the RV pad/area) our leveling points are forward by the tires, so end can hang over easily.  

The point is that the size given doesn't really say anything about whether the site will work for you.   Often we have found sites that are long enough, but to back into them would be impossible for a motorhome because the angle going in is too steep.  Or once in there is no way to level without back wheels up off the ground, which we don't do.   Old parks were built when everyone had trailers, which can handled steeper front - to -back slopes easier than we can.   We have a drop hitch on the back of the motorhome for pulling the car.   And that can be a problem with a site in that the hitch rides 'low' on the back of the motorhome so if the site at the rear slopes upwards, we have to be careful as we back into a site to ensure we will have enough room to drop the air and then level.  

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Kirk, you would have gotten into Moraine campground easily in Rocky Mtn. NP. 40' can fit there and the road leading to it is wide and no tree or other obstacles.

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57 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

You can't get your coach higher than it's normal ride height with the air - - in fact we dump the air when setting up.   Our ride height is higher because of the bigger tires to support the load to start with.   But unlike trailers that often have jacks at the very end (which would do down on soft, uneven ground past the RV pad/area) our leveling points are forward by the tires, so end can hang over easily.  

The point is that the size given doesn't really say anything about whether the site will work for you.   Often we have found sites that are long enough, but to back into them would be impossible for a motorhome because the angle going in is too steep.  Or once in there is no way to level without back wheels up off the ground, which we don't do.   Old parks were built when everyone had trailers, which can handled steeper front - to -back slopes easier than we can.   We have a drop hitch on the back of the motorhome for pulling the car.   And that can be a problem with a site in that the hitch rides 'low' on the back of the motorhome so if the site at the rear slopes upwards, we have to be careful as we back into a site to ensure we will have enough room to drop the air and then level.  

Pic shows front end at least 5 inches above normal ride height. Not for normal driving, but useful for steep driveways  and campground cement curbs. Most high end coaches with HWH automatic leveling allow you to inflate or deflate your airbags from the control panel.

Seldom have a problem leveling. Sometimes have to use a stool by entry steps because front end is so high. Front bags will be fully extended and rear bags completely deflated,  or vise-versa, but coach will be level. 

20180513_115314.jpg

Edited by jcussen

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And then there's the time our site was plenty long but Dave nearly backed into a picnic table when he decided to swing wide around a tree. He hadn't seen the table--it was too low to show up in the mirrors. That's when he started practicing GOAL.

Linda Sand

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1 hour ago, sandsys said:

And then there's the time our site was plenty long but Dave nearly backed into a picnic table when he decided to swing wide around a tree. He hadn't seen the table--it was too low to show up in the mirrors. That's when he started practicing GOAL.

Linda Sand

The RVers version of LBYL . ;)

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53 minutes ago, jcussen said:

Pic shows front end at least 5 inches above normal ride height. Not for normal driving, but useful for steep driveways  and campground cement curbs. Most high end coaches with HWH automatic leveling allow you to inflate or deflate your airbags from the control panel.

Seldom have a problem leveling. Sometimes have to use a stool by entry steps because front end is so high. Front bags will be fully extended and rear bags completely deflated,  or vise-versa, but coach will be level. 

20180513_115314.jpg

You are assuming newer coaches.  We have HWH leveling, from jacks, not air leveling.  It is impossible on our coach to get coach above it's ride height.

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26 minutes ago, Barbaraok said:

You are assuming newer coaches.  We have HWH leveling, from jacks, not air leveling.  It is impossible on our coach to get coach above it's ride height.

If you read my first post, I specifically said "air leveling" For some reason you just assumed  my coach  had jacks when you corrected me. By the way I have had a 92,95,97,99, 2000 and now 2003 coaches, and all had air leveling. Even had  64 and 72 bus conversions that had a gauge and valve for each air bag and they could be leveled that way also.

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2 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

Anyone take HDTs in state parks

We have, but each park is different so some can handle them and others not, same as regular campgrounds. They may also only have a limited number of larger sites.

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6 minutes ago, GlennWest said:

Anyone take HDTs in state parks

It also depends on which state and which park in that state. Generally, places with a lot of trees tend to be more restricted in maneuvering space.

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