It has been a while since you’ve had some time off, and a change of scenery is just what you need. When a hotel room is too much comfort but roughing it with a sleeping bag in a tent is too much wilderness, a travel trailer has just the right combination of nature and luxury. Before you buy or rent a travel trailer, you need to consider if the RV park at your destination will accommodate your type of travel trailer.
Do RV Parks Allow Travel Trailers? Yes,Most RV parks allow all types of RVs, including travel trailers. You may find some high-end resort RV parks prefer to rent their spaces to Class A, B, or C motorhomes and not to smaller RVs or travel trailers to keep a consistent appearance. Other smaller campgrounds may not be able to accommodate the larger space a travel trailer and the towing vehicle needs.
While it may be tempting to jump in your RV and take off, there are a lot of choices out there and you want to make the right one for your perfect vacation. In most instances, you will have no problem finding a great vacation spot in your RV travel trailer. Below is a guide on what to ask and how to find the perfect RV park.
Why do Some RV Parks Restrict Travel Trailers?
There are a few reasons RV parks and Resorts may not allow travel trailers and other styles of RVs. These restrictions are not always set in stone and most RV parks or resorts have a few campsites set aside for exceptions. If possible, check on their website or call the RV park or resort with your questions. It never hurts to ask.
- Type of RV
- The Ten Year Rule
- Age and Appearance
Type of RV
Some RV Resorts and private RV parks cater specifically to certain types of RVs. These RV parks or resorts may have policies limiting what type of travel trailers and other RVs can stay on their grounds. Their reasons are their own, but generally they are looking for:
- Larger motorhomes
- Classic vintage model travel trailers
- Specific models of RVs such as Airstreams
The Ten-Year Rule
Some private upscale RV parks and RV resorts have a ten-year rule. The idea is that older RVs have a more beat-up, weathered appearance. This means that no matter how well you have maintained your RV if it is over ten years old, you may not be able to stay at your chosen RV park or resort. However, in some instances this rule is made to be broken and a number of parks may make an exception. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Age and Appearance
RV parks or resorts may require a picture of your RV before you make the reservation. They want to make sure your RV is not weathered or beat-up looking. Several RV parks enforce this rule with a posting on their website when you go to make your reservation.
The size of your travel trailer could be an issue as well. A travel trailer consists of the trailer itself and the vehicle towing it. Smaller campgrounds may not have spaces large enough to accommodate both a big travel trailer and the towing vehicle. Make sure to ask before you book your reservation.
What You Need to Know to Start
It is always a good idea to prepare for your trip. You want to spend less time finding a place to park your travel trailer and more time enjoying the journey. Here are some quick tips for step one of planning your adventure include:
- Making Reservations
- Know your RV
Some but not all RV parks take reservations. Do your homework and if you can, make a reservation for a park near what you want to see or do. During the busy season, you may need to try more than one place. Also, online reservations are convenient but not always an option. If you have any doubts, call the RV park for questions and reservations. When you make your reservation, there are some things you need to know and ask. Some information you’ll need includes:
- Information About Your RV
- What are Your Options
- Are They Pet-Friendly
- Lookout for Additional Costs
Information About Your RV
When you make your reservation, you will be asked some questions about your RV. Have the answers handy to make the reservation process as smooth as possible.
- How long is your RV?
- How wide is your RV?
- How much electricity does your RV need?
- What type of hookup will your RV need?
- How old is your RV?
What are Your Options
Some parks that don’t take reservations are first come first serve, so getting there early may mean the difference between a night in an RV park or a night boondocking it in a Walmart parking lot. (boondocking means free dry camping, usually in a parking lot).
Are They Pet-Friendly
If you are bringing your pet, check to see if the park is pet-friendly. Fido may be welcome to stay with you, but he may be restricted from certain areas or paths. Also, there may be additional charges for bringing him along.
Lookout for Additional Costs
When you make your reservation, be sure to ask about additional hidden charges such as:
- Extra people (think kids)
- Extra utility charges. More luxuries usually mean more power draw
- Oversized vehicle charges
- Pet Fees
Know your RV
How well you know your RV can make will make your trip easier and less nerve-wracking. Some questions you should ask yourself include:
- Where are your tanks and hoses?
- How much electricity do you need?
- What are the measurements of your RV?
- Can you drive your RV?
Where are your tanks and hoses?
Yes, it may seem obvious but finding and identifying the water and sewer lines now will make hooking up at the RV park quick and easy.
How much electricity do you need?
Electricity hookups can normally vary between 30-50 amps. More amenities like air conditioning, TV’s, and computers will draw more power. Know what you need before you get to the RV park.
What are the measurements of your RV?
The RV park is going to need this information to assign you the right size campsite. You need to take into consideration the added length of the towing vehicle as well.
Can you drive your RV?
If this is your first time travelling with this type of RV, practicing before you go will help tremendously. Some campsite require you to back into the spot.
Where to Stay
When vacationing with your RV, you need to decide not only what to do on your adventure, but where you to stay as well. To help, let’s look at a few things you need to know:
Where Do You Want to Visit?
- Historic Sites
- Cultural Sites
- Nature Spaces
An RV park is usually located near tourist attractions. Since they are close to these destinations, RV parks both, public and private, may sometimes offer discount tickets and shuttles.
How Long Are You Staying?
- A long weekend
- A multi-week vacation
- A month or two
For a quick getaway, you may only want something simple. However, if you are planning on spending the whole summer, you may want a more permanent feel to your accommodations.
Who’s going with you?
- Only you
- The whole gang
- Your pets
Bringing all your friends could mean more interactions and more noise. If you bring Fido along, he may not be allowed in certain areas or paths. If the kids are coming, will there be enough things to do to avoid boredom?
How much luxury do you want?
- Roughing it
- All the comforts of home
- Luxury all the way
If you are choosing a sumptuous vacation spot, you are going to be looking for different options that a place that is off-the-grid, down and dirty.
Now that we have the basics answered, let’s look at our accommodation choices.
Where Can You Park Travel Trailers
You know what you are looking for, so now you need to consider the different options for the types of places to stay with your RV.
- RV Resorts
- RV Parks
- RV Campground
RV Resorts are just like a normal spa or resort only with RVs instead of hotel rooms. Some RV resorts offer special camping spaces that include patios or more luxury accommodations such as:
- full-service hookups
- swimming pools
- tennis courts
The added cost for these extras make RV resorts more expensive than RV parks or RV campgrounds but the added luxury of the ultimate RV resort, is worth it.
Glamping is glamorous camping. When you glamp, you can stay in a yurt, a treehouse, or even a completely decked-out, fabulous RV. Depending on the options being offered, your stay will be as luxurious as a five-star hotel, but with fishing and campfires. Some places offer glamped out RV rentals so that all you need to do is show up at the RV resort with your marshmallows.
An RV park has some of the luxuries of a RV resort and some of the simplicity of an RV campground. It can feel like home with a different view. Most RV parks have options for full hookups as well as partial hookups. Some RV parks may even have primitive camping areas that are dry and have no hookups at all.
If you want to get away from it all and experience nature in a more traditional way, an RV campground is the way to go. Most RV campgrounds offer hookup options, but some are dry, meaning no hookups at all. Staying at an RV campground means fewer amenities, but a closer connection to nature.
Public Parks Versus Private RV Parks
There are so many choices available when you adventure in your RV. Different places offer different options. Some options are more expensive than others. What you want to do, may help you make the choice between a private or a public RV park.
Private RV parks owned and operated by individuals. They are designed to make a profit. Small RV parks cater to the average RV camper, but smaller private RV parks may not be able to accommodate the large space a big travel trailer or motorhome needs.
Public RV Parks
Public RV parks offer inexpensive camping that is often more primitive and closer to nature than private RV parks or resorts.
RV parks and camping grounds are owned by the American public and managed by various government agencies.
- Local Governments
- State Governments
- Federal Agencies
- National Park Service
- Federal Highway Administration
- United States Forest Service
- United States Department of Transportation
- United States Fish and Wildlife Service
- United States Department of Agriculture
- United States Army
These public lands charge nominal fees for parking and camping in your RV travel trailer. These beautiful, scenic lands are worth the time to explore. Let’s take a look at what’s available.
There are over 800 scenic byways in the United States. These American backroads are managed by the Federal Highway Administration of the United States Department of Transportation.
The National Park Service provides unique and interesting cultural, historic, and scenic, adventures across the United States. The National Park Service not only manages land and wildlife in almost fifty states, but it also manages historic sites and monuments such as the Washington Monument and the National mall in Washington, D.C.
Your local State Park lets you connect to the land and the people in that state. They are a great way to explore the region’s scenery as well as local history and culture.
The U. S. Forest Service is the part of the USDA that protects and maintains the forests and grasslands across the country. It’s mission is “to help sustain forests and grasslands for present and future generation”.
You can camp on the Bureau of Land Management sites for free up to fourteen days. BLM sites are dispersed, meaning there is not an “official” camping area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the same agency that builds and maintains our country’s infrastructure and the same agency that provides hundreds of recreational areas near lakes, ponds, dams, and other water features.
Established by Theodore Roosevelt, National Wildlife Refugees are areas reserved for the conservation of wildlife.
As with any site, but even more so when you are staying in a more primitive or wild site, it is important that you “leave no footprints”. Take out everything you took in.
How to Choose the Right Type of Campsite
You have your travel trailer. You know where you want to go. One more thing you need to consider is what to look for in the campsite itself.
Types of RV Park Hookups
We have mentioned the types of hookups available in each RV parks, resorts, and campgrounds, but what do we really mean? Let’s look at the different ways to bring the comforts of home to your camping experience.
- Full Hookup
- Partial Hookup
- Dry Hookup
A full hookup is just that. It includes everything you need for all three types of hookups, all in one place. Getting all your hookups connected is not complicated, but it does take some time to learn what goes where and do the work.
Power options for full hookup sites vary between RV parks and what you need will be dependent on how many appliances you have plugged in. Most RV parks have electric hookups for 15, 20, 30, and 50 amps. The most common are 30 amps electric hookups. If your RV requires more than 50 amps, check with the RV park for options or consider investing in a portable generator or even cutting back on your screen time.
A water hookup connects you to the facility’s water supply. Once you are connected, you don’t have to rely on your portable water supply, and you have fresh water to cook with and brush your teeth.
If you have a toilet installed in your RV, connecting to a sewer hookup means you can flush the toilet when you need to go. If you don’t have a sewer connection, you’ll need to find a dump station instead.
- Other Hookups
For those RV campers you can’t give up streaming Netflix, some RV resorts and campgrounds offer cable and satellite hookups.
Now that you are all hooked up and connected, you can take a shower, turn on your TV, open your laptop, and brew a cup of coffee all from the comfort of your RV. One thing to remember is that these luxuries cost money and you’ll be paying more for your stay.
A “partial hookup” means the site has water and electricity but no sewer. No sewer means you’ll need to run to the public lavatory. You’ll also have to take your shower there. If you don’t have a sewer connection, you must keep your black and grey water in your sewer tanks until you find an RV dump site.
A dry hookup is exactly that. No power, no water, no sewer. Some primitive spots don’t even have available nearby restroom facilities. If you have reserved a dry hookup at your RV park or campground, make sure to fill up your water tanks or water supply before you arrive. Also, make sure to port your black and grey water out to a RV dump stations when you leave. Some RV parks or campgrounds limit generator use as well.
Arriving at The Campsite: How to Park Your Travel Trailer
Whatever your type of RV, there are two options for getting your RV in place once you arrive at the campsite.
A back-in site at an RV park is just that. You must back-in your RV to the campsite. While this may be daunting at first, back-in sites often have better scenery and more privacy. They are usually less expensive as well.
For bigger RVs, backing into a spot may just not be possible. For those larger RVs and those drivers a little intimidated by backing their RV into place, the pull-thru option is best. These sites you simply drive your vehicle and RV into place. When you are ready to leave, simply drive off.
Things to Do Before You Leave The Park
Some people are list makers while some just keep it in their head. Whichever type you are, there are things you need to check before you leave the RV park.
- Did you turn off everything inside the RV? This includes anything electrical such as TV’s and air conditioners.
- Check the tires before you leave, especially if you have had a long stay.
- Unhook all the hookups on the outside. You don’t want to take off while your sewer, water and electricity are still attached.
- Check your hitch. Make sure all the cables and connections are there. Make sure all the taillights and signal lights are working properly.
- Check around the outside for any trash or debris.
- If there is a dump site available, use it to dispose of any black or grey water.
- Make sure your gas tank is full.
Staying at an RV park in your travel trailer RV can be a fun adventure. Finding the right RV park where you can start your adventure is important but does not have to be stressful. With a little bit of preliminary homework, you can discover the right RV park for a relaxing weekend, an eventful summer, or maybe even a restful retirement.
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