When it comes to RV camping, you will want to make sure you follow the rules at each camping location that you visit.
These rules include following any length restrictions for your RV that is put forth by the campsite you choose to visit. Those requirements can vary depending on what park you are visiting.
How do RV parks measure length?
To measure the length of an RV, you have to measure the exterior length of the RV, width, and sometimes the trailer and hitch. Measuring this way will give you an accurate idea of the size of your RV, and whether or not you meet those requirements for the park.
Check out our helpful guide to measuring your RV!
How to Measure Your RV Correctly for Park Rules:
When you are measuring the length of your RV to fit a certain campsite’s regulations, you will want to measure the exterior size of your RV.
The exterior size measurement is what campsites care about when they place their restrictions. When you measure the length of your trailer, you will want to measure the overall length of your RV.
This is the exterior length including the trailer and hitch.
If you have a motorhome, the overall length is what is measured from one bumper to the other bumper.
If you have to measure the width of your RV, you will want to make sure that you measure it with any and all slide-outs fully extended. This will give you an accurate size for your RV to help ensure you have enough space on any campsite you decide to stay on.
How to Measure:
When measuring your RV, or otherwise determining the size, you will want to get out a tape measure and measure the length yourself.
RV dealerships and companies often fudge and underestimate the numbers when it comes to the size of your RV, so you will want to make sure that you measure yourself so that you know the actual length of the RV.
Know Whether You Need to Include a Trailer
When you are finding out the requirements for each travel site, you will want to make sure their length requirement is with the trailer or without.
Some RV parks are measuring for more than space. Instead, they are also trying to make sure that you can make the necessary turns to get into the site that you need to, especially for “back-in” sites.
What’s the Ideal Size for Visiting RV Parks?
The ideal size for going to an RV park is between 25 and 30 feet in length. This will allow you to make sure that you fit into most places you want to go to, and will be easier to navigate while driving, without sacrificing living space and comfort.
How Do I Choose the Right Size?
When choosing an RV, you want to make sure that you take a few things into consideration.
Weight is an important consideration to make when buying an RV, especially if it is a camper that you need to tow. If you have to tow it, you will want to make sure it is not heavier than you can tow.
You also want to look at the floorplan when buying an RV. A good layout will get you more space in a smaller RV. This can help to maximize the space that you have while keeping the size of your RV down to fit in most campsites.
One major feature that can help, is having slide outs. This can help you create more space in an RV that is shorter in length. Most RV campsites do not have a width restriction, so you have more availability when it comes to the width of your RV.
Having a shorter length and maximizing on slide outs can also help when it comes to navigating your trailer on the street and in the smaller turns that are required in campsites.
You will not have to consider height as much of a factor. This is only important when it comes to low clearance bridges, and there are not too many of those that you shouldn’t fit under.
Is There a Maximum RV Size for RV Parks?
There is no overall maximum size for RV parks, as this varies from park to park. You will want to make sure that you check with the site that you are staying at and make sure that they will have room for you and an available site.
This is true even if you own a smaller-sized RV. Some campgrounds are “tent-only” or have spaces that are “tent-only”. This means that you will want to make sure that you have an RV approved space no matter what the size of the vehicle you own.
Most RV parks do not allow RVs that are over 40 to 45 feet in length.
This is a consideration that you will want to make when you are looking into purchasing one.
It is a good idea to know what types of parks you want to visit and their size restrictions before you commit to a big RV. A larger size can be very tempting, especially when it comes to fitting in more people and additional amenities.
However, this won’t mean anything if you can’t take your vacation where you want.
It is also likely that you will want to pay attention to the size of your overall setup. If you own an RV that requires you to tow it, you might have to unhook your vehicle and park it in a different place or a different spot on the campground if it hangs over.
Some parks offer different parking solutions for your vehicles, while at others you will just have to try to fit your vehicle on your campsite, unhooked from your camper.
For more information, check out our article about RV Parks and whether or not they are Open Year Round! (General Rules)
What Size RV’s are Allowed in National Parks?
Each National Park has a size restriction for their RV campsites. The average size that is permitted is approximately 27 feet but there is a range of accepted lengths when it comes to National Parks.
The National Parks have size restrictions that range between 20 and 40 feet in length. This restriction varies depending on what park you stay at, as well as the availability.
The ideal size for an RV to take to a National Park is around 35 feet in length.
In addition to knowing how long your RV can be to fit in the campsite, or around the camp roads, you will also want to make sure that you can maneuver your RV to the National Park or campsite that you are headed to.
Some campsites, especially those in or near the mountains, can feature narrow roads and tight turns that are tough to maneuver around with a large RV.
Some locations only have a few sites that will fit up to 40 feet RVs. When you book your reservation you will want to let them know what size vehicle you are operating.
This way they can let you know whether or not they will have an available space open for you.
How do KOA Campgrounds Measure Length?
KOA campgrounds also want you to follow their length restrictions so that you fit in the spots that are provided.
If you are looking to stay at one of these campsites, they offer a large available range.
KOA campsites can fit RVs that are all the way up to 45 feet in length.
However, like National Parks. You will want to make sure that you let them know the size of your RV before you make the reservation so that you know that there will be an available campsite for you and your RV’s size.
KOA can not only provide for a wide range of sizes, but they also provide different types of campsites. These types include “back-in” or “pull-through”.
This will help to make it easier to accommodate larger sizes and are more user-friendly to those with larger vehicles.
At a KOA campground, you could also get a site that comes with a patio, patio furniture, and other available amenities.
Making sure that you know the length of your vehicle and the restrictions of your designated campsite is essential for any RV owner.
If you are not upfront with the campsite and you do not fit into a site, or you cannot drive through the campground, you might get turned away from your reservation.
You will want to know the exact length of your vehicle and tow/trailer if that is the type of setup you have. You will want to make sure that you purchase an RV that will fit in the locations that you want to travel to. This will help you enjoy your RV in all the ways that you want.
When in doubt, when looking for an RV you will want to go with a smaller size with a good floor plan or slide outs.
No matter what size your RV is, you will always want to make sure it is discussed when renting out a campsite. Some campsites have limited availability for certain sizes as well as tent-only campsites that you will not be able to park your RV on at all. Letting the campsite know what you intend to bring can ensure that they have a space for you.
Making sure your RV is not too big, and being upfront with the campsite owners, will allow you to be sure to have a great camping experience in your RV!
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Shelby Sullivan is our specialist when it comes to pontoon boats and recreational watercraft. She is often found sailing the freshwater lakes of Michigan. She is also a light-traveler who enjoys camping and traveling the world. Read more about Shelby here.