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We've got a seriously newbie question for the group.  We are approaching a Class B purchase and are already planning its initial trip.  I'm not sure that we'll be confident enough to boondock right out of the gate, so I've been looking at state campgrounds along our route.  Typically, my online reservation system options are RV site or tent site.  Many of RV sites I'm seeing tend to be huge, provide 50 amp service, and are pricey.  One campground I saw ONLY had those big RV sites.  Parking our diminutive 22' in one of those big sites seems like overkill and borders on silly.

I've googled this topic, but can't seem to find it addressed.  When picking out a state park campground site (online or in person), what do Class B owners aim for?  Are you looking at RV sites?  I see those humble, cozy tent sites with a picnic table and adjacent car parking.  I suspect that there is little/no electricity for most of those tent sites (maybe 20 amp).  But, assuming that I've got the battery for it, that's all I'd need.  What's the etiquette here?  I could see my tent site neighbors not liking to hear my generator kick on after hours, so I'd probably keep it off. I just don't know where camper vans aim in situations like that.  Do Class B owners grab those giant sites?  Would a park office even permit a Class B to show up and head for a tent site?

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You asked a series of questions, so I'll address those that I'm familiar with, even though I have not owned a class B but have traveled with friends that are in one.

In general, public campgrounds like state, county,  COE, or other federal agencies make no distinction between RV sites for any size vehicle. A few do have separate 30A and 50A sites and price them different so you clearly would only need 30A. We also occasionally find a public park that has "premium" sites that cost a bit more due to view or something of that sort and those do cost extra to anyone who wishes to pay for one. I have never seen a park that had special sites for a class B, as your needs would be pretty similar to one of the popup or hybrid trailers and most public parks keep sites generic, for RVs. It is pretty common for public parks to have some tent sites and it would depend on the park if they would allow an RV into them and to most of them, you are just a small RV. Very often parks that have tent sites place them such that the tent area is not next to the parking and would be very inconvenient to use from your class B but some would allow you to do that. Tent sites rarely have any electricity and never sewer. Water connections are typically shared by several sites and may be very difficult for you to fill a tank from. I think that the vast majority of public parks would allow you to use one if you wish.

In commercial parks, you would have to ask management but I doubt that most would allow you to use a tent site unless there were no RV sites available. It is almost a certainty that there would be complaints if you were to use a generator in a tent only area. Socially, I suspect that most of the tenting folks would also snub you since roughing it is part of the reason that they use a tent, just as solar RV people generally don't like generator use. It has been a long time since we stayed in a tent, but when we did we usually preferred to not have any type RV in our midst.

There are people in the larger RVs that object to a small RV taking one of the largest RV sites in the public park campgrounds, but nearly all of them are on a first come first served basis so you are just as welcome in the largest site there as anyone else. Courtesy would be to take the smaller sites if they have the same views and access to things as the largest sites, but since everyone pays the same you also have the same rights to choose your campsite.

Just to add a footnote.....  While we did travel in a 36' motorhome, we currently travel with a truck and 20' travel trailer and so even though we are longer than you on the road, our RV is about the same length. As a result, we deal with some of the same issues. We don't ask to stay in tent areas.

Edited by Kirk W

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When we had a van, no hookups at all, we stayed in tent sites. No one ever complained after all they all had a vehicle, some of them larger than our old van. Most private campgrounds will rent you a tent site instead of loosing a sale.  A state park we go to mixes tent and rvs site. 

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Most camping sites in my area list lengths of each site individually so you can pick the one that fits you.  Many also let you pick an unimproved RV site (separate from tent sites) for much less.  I've seen some out of our area but I don't know how many states/parks etc. offer this.  Most, at-least in my area again, do not let you run gen. sets during a set quiet time.  As far as size difference, makes no difference to me.  Bigger is not always best, mines only 32ft.  To each his own.  A place we like to go, most times we end up parked between tenters.  Does look a little off being bigger, but we don't care, we do it for our enjoyment not some one else's.  We find more often than not, everyone is friendly and will sit and chat regardless of what they/we are in.  Just enjoy, if they don't like it, it's their loss.

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I've never seen a "no RVs" limit for tent sites.  Many campgrounds have the reverse rule; no tents at RV sites.  We have a tiny travel trailer and don't need a big site either, but they are what they are.  We like having electric when in parks, otherwise we're boondocking.

 

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We've parked in some pretty big sites but we preferred to take smaller ones when available. We never took a tent site because they tend to be in the trees and we needed the solar power. When we were tent campers we would have been very unhappy to hear a generator at any hour of the day since we went camping to enjoy the peace of the place.

Linda

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Having volunteered in various types of public parks campgrounds they don't usually have all big sites. There's a mix.  If both are available general etiquette would be to take a smaller site.  There normally are more small sites than large and long RVs can't fit in the small ones but you could fit in either.  Many times the smaller sites are better as far as view or more quiet.  We've passed by many driving our 40' motorhome saying "wish we could fit there". 

What parks are you looking at where you think they're all big sites?  You mentioned state parks.  The ones we've been in across the country have a mix usually.  A few prime state parks have mostly big sites for the most part. A couple I can think of offhand are Cape Blanco State Park in Oregon and Gulf State Park in Alabama.   If you run across something like that you're only option is to park on a big site and don't feel bad about it.  That's what those sites are for - everyone.  You won't be the only ones.

Normally, if a campground is signed for 'tent only' then that's what it's for.  The tenters wouldn't appreciate a RV parked there and definitely not a generator at any time of the day.  If it's a first come/no reservation campground first look for a regular site.  If they're all filled but there are openings in the 'tent only' campground then ask the office or host if you could park there.  Usually they'd have no problem doing so for one night and then moving to a regular site the next day.  We had to do that one time and we felt awful with our big motorhome.  We used solar so no generator was necessary but still..... we apologized to our immediate neighbors & said we'd be quiet. :) They were fine with it but we got stares & dirty looks from others and we totally understood.  We moved into a regular site the next morning.

Regarding your qualms about boondocking..... I don't know where you'd have in mind …. but you easily could do so for one or two nights on your holding tank capacity if that's your concern.  Just use water & electric sparingly and you'll be just fine.  Keep in mind that the term 'boondocking' typically means camping on public lands..... national forest or BLM lands …. out in the boonies.  Dry camping is staying in a campground that has no hookups.  Most national parks have dry camping.  There may be a central water faucet and sometimes a dump station.   Pavement parking is just that.... parking for a night at a WalMart or other facility.  It's not called camping or boondocking.   Just thought I'd throw some terms out there!

Best of luck with your new adventure.  You'll soon get the hang of it!

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1 hour ago, 2gypsies said:

What parks are you looking at where you think they're all big sites?  You mentioned state parks. 

Thanks everyone for all the great feedback.  It was very helpful.

My first trip will take a (flexible) route between Gainsville, FL and Columbus, OH.  In my initial planning, I just opened Georgia's and So. Carolina's online state park site reservation systems and began looking at options.  Park after park along my route seemed to show only big 50 amp RV sites or tent sites.  It was not a comprehensive search and I'm sure that there were options that I didn't see.  But, it got us wondering about what to do in that scenario.  It just seemed strange to reserve a giant 50 amp pad for our humble use.  More experienced campers would probably just not reserve ahead of time and pick from the best options found along the way.  But, early reserving seemed to remove a potential frustration factor from a big first trip.  Maybe not in this case.

Thanks again for the thoughts and ideas.  Learning here.

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Another thought on the big sites: those of us in smaller vehicles pay the same price as the big rigs so you have a right to camp in any site. We did still try to use the smaller ones because we are thoughtful people but when big was what was available where we needed to be we took it. In our local park only the big sites are level so that can be a factor as well since our small rigs did not have hydraulic levelers.

Linda

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It varies, but I've found a lot of parks charge by lot size.  I've paid extra for larger lots when I just wanted more space, or a better location.

 

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1 hour ago, Carlos said:

It varies, but I've found a lot of parks charge by lot size.  I've paid extra for larger lots when I just wanted more space, or a better location.

 

That's true for some private parks but the OP asked about state parks and I've never seen one of those charge by lot size. Of course, I haven't been to all of them. :)

Linda

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Since you mentioned Georgia, I just took a quick glance at High Falls State Park.  There are many 50' and 25'.  They only give those two dimensions which is strange but looking at pictures of the 25' sites they appear to be a lot longer than 25'.  The 25' sites appear to be backin and the 50' sites are both backin and pull-through.  For this park with your Class B I'd be drawn to the 25' ones which appear to be very nice and roomy.  Then the 50' backins and finally the 50' pull-throughs.  I think you would look and perhaps feel tiny in the pull-throughs as they are usually even much longer with the curves and they are typically along the roadside.  Being tucked into the backins would afford more privacy and you would feel more comfortable in them.  However, in that park the tent sites wouldn't be suitable because they are back in the woods and are designed to haul all tenting equipment back there by foot.  They are called walk-in sites. You'd be parking in the vehicle parking space along the road probably with other vehicles next to you that the tenters brought and you wouldn't have a table, sitting space, campfire ring.

Each park will be different and if you have any concerns about using the tent spaces, call the park for their take on it.  Some just aren't designed for RV camping.

In your future searches you may see designations of trailer sites and RV sites and sometimes they'll state trailer length and RV length.  We never did figure out the difference in these so don't try to choose one over the other because you have a Class B.  You can definitely use any one.  We did.

Unfortunately, you'll soon realize as you travel that there is no uniformity in descriptions of campsites and site measurements.  Sometimes I wonder if the campground designers ever camped in their life!

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You might find it helpful to call one of the parks that only show 50 amp service and ask about coming in with your rig. It could be that the park modernized their sites and they are showing that ankh sites have 50 amp service; there might also be 30 amp service there. Please post back if you find out. 

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It doesn't matter if they have 50a only, since everyone with a 30a RV should be carrying that adapter and the one for 15a outlets.

 

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