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If you are new to RVing or perhaps have recently purchased an RV that is new to you, you may be wondering how RV parks and campgrounds measure length. The length of your RV matters for many reasons, especially while making reservations.
So, how do RV parks measure length?
RV parks and campgrounds measure length differently, depending on their own metrics. In some cases, they include the hitch and other times they don’t. Check with the individual park before arriving to be sure but it’s usually a good idea to stick with the length that your RV manufacturer has stated.
But how can you accurately measure the length of your RV? And does your tow vehicle have anything to do with the overall length of your rig? Let’s take a look at how some RV parks choose to measure length and what you can do to report this length accurately.
How to Measure the Length of Your RV for RV Parks
While some campgrounds and RV parks simply measure the length of their concrete pad in order to determine what size of RV they can accommodate, you may want to measure your RV to make sure you have an accurate number.
It is important to know the overall length of your RV, especially in relation to RV park reservations. They will want you to know the length, which is important to keep in mind especially if you are renting your rig from RVShare or Outdoorsy.
Let’s talk about how you can measure your rig now.
Get a Tape Measure (And Make Sure It’s Long)
You will need a long and accurate tape measure to ensure you are measuring the length of your rig correctly. This may feel tedious at first, but it is one of the only ways to accurately measure your rig for RV park reservations.
Most RV owners recommend measuring the length of your rig from bumper to nose, and including the tongue if you have a travel trailer or other towable rig. This is why you should have a very long tape measure!
Take the measurement twice, just to be sure. You should also measure additional accessories or tow vehicles, should you have them. But more on that later.
Bumper to Bumper Measuring
Measuring from one bumper to another is useful for getting an accurate length. While many RVs don’t have a bumper in front, you can think of your front bumper as your motorcoach’s grill or the tongue jack on your travel trailer.
You may need to use your measuring tape to record two measurements: one from the front to halfway down the side of your rig, then a second measurement from the center to the back. This is only necessary if you have a short tape measure.
You should get help measuring your rig, just to ensure everything is accurate. Have someone hold your tape measure, either on the bumper or on the front of the rig while you stretch it the full length of your RV.
Measure Your Width Too
Did you know that the length of your RV matters at a campground too? While campgrounds or RV parks only measure length, you should know the width of your rig for your own edification as well as making reservations.
The width of your rig matters while you are driving on the road and there are construction zones, or it can matter to different RV parks and campgrounds as well. These reservations don’t often require the width of your RV, but it can come in handy from time to time.
Stretch your tape measure across the front of your RV in order to measure its width. You may want to measure the width of your rig with your slide outs activated as well, just in case you know you will be parking in more narrow locations.
However, you should never drive your RV with the slide outs activated. Your overall width without your slides activated is a more accurate measurement for you to keep in mind.
Measure with Your Tow Vehicle (If You Have One)
While most RV parks and campgrounds are only concerned with the overall length of your RV, you may consider measuring the length of your rig with the tow vehicle attached as well. This can be useful for travel trailers as well as motor homes that are towing a car or boat.
Most of the time, RV parks and campgrounds have additional parking for your tow vehicles or accessories, such as boats. However, some locations may require that your reservation links include your tow vehicle length as well.
It may be wise of you to measure your RV on its own as well as your tow vehicle on its own, and then measure everything all together. Your hitches can add additional length, as well as any other accessories that you may have attached to either your tow vehicle or RV.
As I said, most RV parks and campgrounds take your tow vehicle into account. This means that you can either park it in the RV site or park your tow vehicle elsewhere, depending on the location and their amenities.
Do RV Parks Have a Length Limit?
Yes, many RV parks have a length limit to their RV spots and parking areas. The limits to these parking spots should be clearly marked and laid out for any RVers hoping to make a reservation. However, it never hurts to call ahead and confirm.
The average length limit to most campgrounds and RV parks is roughly 40-45 feet long. Some campgrounds may not be able to accommodate this length, such as state parks or county parks. This is why it is key to know how long your RV is.
RV parks and campgrounds often have a length limit because of their roads and narrow locations, rather than the size of their parking spots. However, some campgrounds are very strict about what size of RV they can fit in their parks.
I always recommend looking at the individual sites online if you are able, or look at them in person to ensure that your rig can fit. You may find that a certain camping spot has no wiggle room on either side due to trees or rocks, and the room behind your cement pad may be blocked.
This is where having a small and lightweight toy hauler can come in handy- you won’t ever have to worry about having a rig that is too long if you go for something under 25 feet!
What is the Best Length of RV for RV Parks?
There is no “best length” of RV for any one RV park or campground. However, if you are hoping to fit just about anywhere, sticking to a rig that is 30 feet or less is ideal. You won’t ever have to worry about how long your rig is if you stick to something smaller.
Many RV parks and campgrounds nowadays are accustomed to rigs that are closer to 40 feet or longer in length. Many motorhomes or Class A rigs are bigger than this, reaching closer to 50 feet at the end of the day.
Some RV parks are also much more strict than others. You may run into more trouble at the state or National Park level, and even some private RV parks have their rules. For example, a lot of private RV parks don’t allow rigs that look a certain way or are a certain amount of years old.
What is the Longest RV Allowed in State Parks?
The longest RV allowed in state parks will depend on the state park. Some state parks are capable of housing rigs up to 45 to 50 feet in length, While others recommend no more than 20 feet in length.
This is why it is always recommended that you call the state park or do your research before booking a reservation. Some parks have ample RV parking, complete with 60 foot long concrete pads. Others are far more rustic, and will not be able to accommodate anything very long or tall.
You will always have more luck fitting in an RV park rather than a state or national park. This is most likely because most state parks prefer to prioritize the natural beauty surrounding them over the comfort of RV campers.
You should always try to park your RV in an RV-designated spot when booking state or national park camping reservations. These parks will clearly state whether or not RVs are welcome, however, and these notices should be heeded.
There are many state or national parks that don’t want RVs camping there, even if you are totally self-contained and capable of boondocking. Not only can RVs cause a large amount of noise and light pollution- they also can’t always fit in certain tight spots!
Is My RV Too Long for National Parks?
You should always pay particular attention to the rules for RVs in national parks. Many national parks offer a variety of different campgrounds, and some campgrounds might be only recommended for tent camping.
You should never try to park or camp in an RV in a campground that does not allow RV camping. Not only do you risk fines or getting kicked out of the park for your reservation, the chances of you finding an RV in any of these spots is slim.
Depending on where you are looking to camp in a national park, many national parks recommend your RV be 25 ft or shorter. This is because most national parks prioritize the natural beauty of the area over the length of your cement pad.
Always use your best judgment and do try not to cheat the system. National and state parks want you to visit and stay in them, but they also want you to understand that not every location is right for RV camping.
Does My Tow Vehicle Count Toward My RV Length?
Yes, your tow vehicle could count toward your overall RV length. Even if some RV parks or campgrounds state that you only need to worry about the overall length of your rig, you should still know how long your RV is with your tow vehicle or additional accessories in tow.
This is because your campsites may not be exactly what you thought it would be, or you may have to move your rig due to reservation mix-ups. You should also know this overall length in case you want to keep your tow vehicle parked near your RV rather than in a spot elsewhere.
Some campground spots may have trees or rocks right up against the end of your concrete pad, where many larger RVs tend to overhang. Without this option for additional length, you may not be able to fit both your RV and your towed vehicle in the spot.
You should also consider the length of your RV accessories, should you have any. These accessories can include bike racks, kayak racks, and any other bumper accessories. You also may have a motor home that is towing your car or boat.
When in doubt, be upfront with the RV park or campgrounds that you are trying to make a reservation in. Some campers are comfortable fudging the truth a bit when it comes to getting what they want, but the last thing you want to do is damage your RV by parking in a spot that is far too small for it.
You should also try to be flexible about where your tow vehicle and other RV accessories remain for the duration of your reservation. Many RV parks and campgrounds can’t accommodate a tow vehicle, an RV, and accessories in a single campsite.
So long as you have measured accurately, you should have no trouble finding campsites and RV park reservations for your rig. If you are planning to camp in national or state parks frequently, perhaps you should consider a rig under 30 feet long!
RV parks measure length in their own unique ways. No matter how they measure things, you should do some measuring yourself! Knowing how long your rig is will make your reservation process smoother, each and every time you decide to hit the road.