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Seeking thoughts on campgrounds and length


kmergen

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Hoping to get a few opinions and thoughts on the difference between a 32 ft class C and something a little less than 30 ft as it relates to getting into state and national parks. In your experience, will a 32 ft class C prohibit staying at many state and national campgrounds...as opposed to having something in the 26-28 ft range?

 

We'll be east of Texas 95% of the time if that matters (Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, North Carolina, etc, etc).

 

I'll search the forum and also look up some individual parks and see if I can find out a little more, but was hoping to leverage the experience of those on the forum.

Thanks!

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From my experience.. I would say the access cut-off's would probably be 25', 29', and 35' for locations that have limited site lengths. That doesn't mean though that a location that has a 24' limit listed won't accommodate a longer rig. You really have to call and ask, however, under 25' access should be pretty much unrestricted no matter where you go. 29'.. their might be some parks you wouldn't be able to fit in.. but fairly few. 35'.. you're choices might start to get a little more restrictive, but you'll have options. Many newly renovated parks can handle pretty anything.

 

That being said. If you find the "perfect" rig for YOU.. and it's 32'. I wouldn't NOT buy it. You'll have plenty of options.. you'll just need to do a little more leg work. However.. if you're the type that travels and stays a day at a time on the fly and want to be able to pull in wherever opportunity strikes.. then I would try to stay under 25'.

 

YMMV

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We worried about this when we started. We ended up with a 5th wheel that was 33.5ft. Never ever had an issues anywhere. Ni deep in the backwoods boondooking but other wise fine. National parks with our 40ft DP have not been an issue. Some state parks were tight on road with the DP

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Since you'll be in the eastern states, pick out some campgrounds that you think you'll go and look for site/road information on them. You can even get a satellite picture of them on Google Earth. If you've been to the state parks previously, you probably know what the sites are like.

 

We've done eastern state parks successfully along with Corp of Engineer parks. We haven't done forest service in the east.

 

Like nana25k above, we went from a 33' 5th wheel to a 40' motorhome and since we were mainly in the western states we had our favorites with the 33' and we returned to them with our 40'. In the west, we always found excellent forest service campgrounds to stay. We've also stayed in major national parks such as Yellowstone, Rocky Mtn., Grand Teton, Glacier, Zion, Grand Canyon and many others. State parks haven't been a problem in the west except for California but we just find a national forest nearby.

 

With a big rig we found we can find a site anywhere but definitely not every campground. However, there are enough options that we always find a place.

 

Bottom line - it just depends on where exactly you want to stay and if there are options nearby.

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In your experience, will a 32 ft class C prohibit staying at many state and national campgrounds...as opposed to having something in the 26-28 ft range?

With more than 30 years of RV travels, we have very rarely seen state parks where you could not spend the night with a 32' motorhome, assuming reasonably good driving skills. Realize that site length is only a small part of length related issues as narrow streets, tight turns, obstructions at the site entry, and other physical problems are far more problematic than the actual length of the RV pad. In the vast majority of sites it is quite possible to allow the rear of the RV to extend well beyond the parking pad, so long as the wheels fit onto it. Getting into sites in smaller parks is far more frequently the limiting factor and that is to a large degree a function of the driving skills of the person driving.

 

We traveled nearly 12 years in a 36' class A and I can only recall one time having no sites available that we could fit into in a state park. I have seen several situations in national parks that the access roads limited the RV length to less than what we were, but even then it didn't mean that we could not go there, only that we were limited in campground choices. I suspect that a difference in length from 26' to 32' would possibly prevent you from getting into no more than 5% of the state park campsites, at the very most.

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I agree with Kirk, the length of your trailer may be the least of your problems. I was pulling a small 24 foot fifth wheel a few years back and rented the last available site in a national forest campground in Sedona Arizona.

There was a narrow, winding, tree-lined, one-way road and my site was perpendicular to it, and if that wasn't bad enough the Forest Service was thoughtful enough to put boulders on each side of the entrance to my site. You talk about a mess ! My backing skills are very limited and that site was my worst nightmare, the only thing lacking was a cliff to back off of.

I got in it, but it took a long time and it was ugly to watch. So unless you're a retired trucker with mega backing skills I would say narrow roads and poorly thought out sites would be your biggest problem.

theboondork

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I have to agree. I don't think it's always the actual pad sizes, but access. One particular park that comes to mind (Marigold park) has quite wide open spaces and really large pads, but the entrance drive is narrow, quite steep, and then levels off sharply. If you have a rig with low clearance or too many feet out the backside of your rear axle you'll undoubtedly bottom out. They strictly enforce their size and type limits although once you get in we've had a 24' TT, full size pickup and another 4-door sedan all parked in-line on the actual campsite pad.

 

Geography matters. You'll probably see less restrictions East of TX.

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I think the real difference is........

 

Do you want to camp anywhere you want?? or

 

Are you ok camping where you can fit??

 

We have a 31 foot 5th wheel. It is a great vehicle to live in. I always want to know where I am going to land for the night. And I always want to do it before dark.

 

We also have a 17 Casita trailer. With it I don't worry about a campsite for the night. I have even camped pulled off to the side of a Forest Service road. Even with that it is sometimes difficult to get into a NPS or FS camping spur. It took me a half hour to get it into a handicapped spot in a Forest Service campground in Arizona. So far, I have fit everywhere with the Casita, but sometimes it is an adventure.

 

All that said a Class C is much easier to manuver than a 5th wheel or trailer for most people. Even though my Casita is ONLY 17 feet when you add the truck the whole rig becomes 41 feet!!

 

You will love living in a 32 foot Class C. You will love driving and parking a 25 foot Class C. In either case, you will have an easier time with the Class C than a trailer/ truck combination.

 

Good luck....you know Class C's are easy to rent. You might want to rent for a couple of nights and see if you can stick it somewhere!! Stay on county roads, lots of insurance companies will not pay for tows on Forest Service roads!!

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Our decision was based on moving often or staying awhile. We like the later and try to stop for a couple of weeks wherever we go. We have a 35 foot fifth wheel wanting the slide outs and a living room experience. Sure there's places we can't stay, but it hasn't been a problem. Take a few minutes with RVParky, Good Sam's or TripAdvisor and you'll have a good idea if the campground is a fit for your rig.

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Also remember that besides fitting, or not fitting, into specific campgrounds sites - you also have to 'fit into' the coach. In this regards, the tradeoff of maybe missing a few sites, or campgrounds. Needs to be factored against having the comfortable space to carry what you need, and live in - while on extended travels.

 

Only you can determine where the pendulum swings between being able to live in RV vs fitting into a site.

 

That being said, I'll jump in with those that have had minor problems with a 40' DP. Of course, we've always been West of the Mississippi - so my story will probably change once we get some East of the river experience:)! Even so, just plan accordingly and be prepared to skip some places, or as we do, stay elsewhere and comeback and enjoy with your toad or two truck.

 

Best of luck to you,

Smitty

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Thanks everyone for all the great replies and thoughts! After the feedback, we thought things over, sat in a variety of sizes....and decided that we'd be happier in one that has a little more room as we'll be in it probably 9 months of the year.

 

The original plan for the past year has been to sell the S&B and get a huge new 5th wheel, but our situation changed and by going with a less expensive used class C, we'll be able to keep our home base to come back to occasionally and will also give my mother who's getting up in years a nice home to stay in.

 

It's not fanciest I realize, but we found a 2013 "new to us" 32 foot 3100ss Sunseeker that the family fell in love with, so we're picking it up tomorrow afternoon. The wife likes the full body paint, while the 9 year old daughter loves the bunk over the cab and is excited to get started on some adventures as we explore the country.

 

Thanks again and watch out as I have a feeling the questions we may have will only multiply exponentially after tomorrow :-)

 

-John, Laurel and Reagan

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I would take all the lengths that are published for a CG with a grain of salt. We stopped at a COE CG, limit was 32'. You could have fit 75' into most sites with no problem. The hosts didn't understand where the 32' came from. This has happened to us more than once.

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It's not fanciest I realize, but we found a 2013 "new to us" 32 foot 3100ss Sunseeker that the family fell in love with, so we're picking it up tomorrow afternoon. The wife likes the full body paint, while the 9 year old daughter loves the bunk over the cab and is excited to get started on some adventures as we explore the country.

We learned a long time ago that the smaller, gasoline powered motorhomes get you to the same places and the things that you can see and experience are the very same as what those in the massive diesel pusher rigs experience. If you are happy in your RV that is all that matters so never let the "experts" convince you that you need something else.

 

The one thing to be careful of is the weight ratings of the RV and I strongly advise that you get it weighed as soon as you are loaded for travel as weight and weight distribution play a major role in safety and handling. Remember that this RV has only 14,500# of GVWR so plan carefully and enjoy your travels! And do share your experiences as you go with all of us here. :D

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we found a 2013 "new to us" 32 foot 3100ss Sunseeker that the family fell in love with, so we're picking it up tomorrow afternoon.

Congratulations! This looks to me like a very livable floor plan. I love the tiny shelves beside the bed that give you a place to put your clock and glasses. Enjoy your travels.

 

Linda Sand

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