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Old 07-27-2006, 10:55 PM   #1
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Trailer length & state park campsites

It has often been mentioned that state park, state forest & national forest sites have shorter campsite slots than a commercial campground. Thus trailer lengths of 24-25 feet are said to be a compromise maximum for fitting into more public campgrounds. Online reservation systems may not always list a site's parking length; then the phone reservation services might have lengths. Unless I call far in advance we often pick from sites that might be 42' combined length for trailer & tow vehicle. I am speaking of sites with electric hookups. While walking loops we'll see maybe 3 or 4 sites that could take a 28' trailer in a 60-unit campground. Length restrictions seem to be looser with park campgrounds that have fewer trees. These pictures were taken at Savanna Portage State Park in north-central Minnesota; this is an old style park with campsites relatively close together.

This last weekend we had a 40' site and the attached pictures show us squeezed in there. My Safari is 25' 11" and the truck is 19' long. The first picture shows the parked truck in relation to the road. The second shows how I had to overlap the truck to fit. I could have put the trailer about 2' farther into the site but the large oak seen to the left of the panoramic photo would have prevented me from opening the awning.

Mentions of this subject often bring responses about park campgrounds where 19' or 22' would be most appropriate. I have seen short campsites like that but in our area they are usually mixed with sites in the low to mid 40' range. Loops without electric are definitely tuned to smaller trailers & pop-ups. It is harder to find electric hookups in state/nat'l forests in our area; the sites are shorter and frequently have lower overhanging branches.

Parks do have some sites for longer trailers but you'd better do your homework far in advance for weekends or popular destinations. Can others please post what they have tended to find? Comments on National Parks would be especially appropriate. Thank you!
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:31 AM   #2
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In Washington State the website information is sketch at best. With out personally surveying the campground it's impossible to know. For one thing they don't really distinguish between MH parking an trailer parking. They list small medium and large but when you look at the length designation it jumps from like 18' to 45' so what the heck happened to "medium". The costs for camping are as high or higher than comercial camp grounds. So why stay at the State Parks? Well, they seem to have a monopoly on things like ocean front property for one! It's a bit frustrating that with the prime spots they have the facilities don't justify the cost but then they do provide benifits to the general public (i.e. non RV owners) that commercial camp grounds are not required to provide.
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Old 07-28-2006, 12:34 AM   #3
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If I recall, Yosemite National Park has a variety of lengths of sites for camping in the "valley". When you make your reservation a requirement is given for the size of your trailer. They only show sites "open" that are as large or larger than what you tell them you need. I think Yellowstone might do that as well. But then, I haven't been to a National Park where there were hookups and such that I recall. Just getting a larger trailer backed into some of the spots could be tricky...

I remember camping last year at Great Basin National Park (Utah/Nevada) and we had trouble finding a spot big enough to accommodate our teardrop trailer! There were larger trailers, but the sites for smaller units were more interesting.

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Old 07-28-2006, 01:20 AM   #4
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Indiana State Parks reservation system does an excellent job of letting you know how long all of the sights are. We have camped at several parks in Indiana and have never been in a too short space yet.

We recently traveled to South Dakota, and on the way to our destination we stayed at a state park in SD (Vermilion Lake) and one in Minnesota (Myre Big Island) and at both we were able to select from sights (with electric) that were 45' or longer.
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Old 07-28-2006, 03:45 AM   #5
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Hey, that looks like the campsite I'm going to this weekend! Oh, but I'm in Virginia.
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Old 07-28-2006, 06:36 AM   #6
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Where?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rseagle
Hey, that looks like the campsite I'm going to this weekend! Oh, but I'm in Virginia.
Hey there Bob. Where are you camping in the Commonwealth this weekend? We're moving to VA two weeks from tomorrow and can't wait. The state parks are awesome and always allow for TV parking when stating trailer length accomodations. Our AS is currently at Highland Haven Airstream Park.
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Old 07-28-2006, 08:50 AM   #7
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Most of the state park sites in Missouri are accessable via the Missouri Department of Natural Resources web site. Site pictures and lengths are also available. With my trailer being 31' long, I've not had a problem in Missouri or at the Corp of Engineer's parks that are present on many of the lakes in Missouri and Illinois.

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Old 07-28-2006, 10:58 AM   #8
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One option that I have thought about but have not done because our unit is only 19', is to park the tow vehicle elsewhere.

I've noticed that some, not all, parks offer overflow parking. If I had a longer trailer I might consider getting anything needed from the TV and park in one of those areas.

Personally, I wouldn't mind occasionally looking out the front wrap-around windows to ponder nature, or the campers fighting accross the way. Our view is always the butt-end of our tow vehicle, but I don't mind staring at the back of my Eurovan. That's what got me thinkin'...

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Old 07-28-2006, 11:00 AM   #9
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Thumbs up Great thread idea!


We've had great luck at National parks like Shenandoah, Ocracoke (Hatteras National Seashore), The Smokies, and others. Sure we can't fit in all the sites, but there are many lovely ones that work for a 28' trailer. Bob you are so right about doing your homework and getting reservations! We prefer to keep the tow vehicle with us, but if we have to park it elsewhere we will--so far haven't had to do that most online res systems describe it well, trouble is when you don't have good descriptions or no site specific reservations...
Nice to read all the great info!! Michigan's state park campsite info on line is pretty accurate. There are some really cool places that we are too big for in MI, but overall it works. Our 28' trailer has been great for most state and national parks.
The hardest things are not always listed on the websites, for example on the reserveusa.com we've noticed that the grade of the campsite isn't always accurate so any size trailer might be a problem. I mean when the driveway is too steep for a trailer, you can see deep gouges on the pavement, etc.

We've also noticed that the hardest part for our size trailer isn't always the campsite itself, but the tight turns in the campground I can think of two places that illustrate this point, one being Hungry Mother State Park in Va the other Kanawa State Forest in West Virginia. Still it worked out. I'm lucky hubby is the main driver for the tricky stuff !
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Hey there Bob. Where are you camping in the Commonwealth this weekend?
We're going to Cave Mountain Lake in the Jefferson National Forest. It's about an hour north of Roanoke off I-81 near Natural Bridge.

After a week there, we're heading to Galax for the 71st Annual Old Time Fiddler's Convention and WBCCI Special Event Rally.
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Old 07-28-2006, 01:19 PM   #11
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In Minnesota the length restriction is defined as measured from the front of the tow vehicle to the end of the trailer.

Crazylev brings up a good question. Is this true nationwide? Crazylev's plan of parking the tow vehicle elsewhere might make it harder to measure, but would not make him legal in Minnesota.
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Old 07-28-2006, 03:34 PM   #12
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My two cents, 2 1/2 months in to a 6 month Airstream Expedition and I have found:

Florida State Parks and Pennsylvania State Parks underestimate what can fit where -- we had sites with a stated maximum of 30' that would have easily swallowed up a 34'.

Virginia Parks are pretty much dead on -- if it says 30', better be 30' or less.

New York State Parks are pretty tight and the interior roads are a challenge.

Canadian National Parks (at least Fundy) assigned us a site that was huge! Had our 31' Sovereign, the Titan and still could have put up a Cirque de Soleil tent. Most of the sites we saw in biking around were similiarly "super-sized".

Have found the Trailer Life Guide to be pretty accurate as to what fits where in commercial parks.

On an unrelated note: we have found that with gas costing what it does, we haven't needed reservations anywhere (except 4th July Weekend) -- we just show up around 2:00 pm or so and no problems...

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Old 07-28-2006, 04:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tin sista
We've also noticed that the hardest part for our size trailer isn't always the campsite itself, but the tight turns in the campground I can think of two places that illustrate this point, one being Hungry Mother State Park in Va the other Kanawa State Forest in West Virginia. Still it worked out. I'm lucky hubby is the main driver for the tricky stuff !
Ditto @ Ft. Wilderness at Disney World!
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Old 07-28-2006, 05:08 PM   #14
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So many of the states are going to the Reserve America system. We have it here in Wisconsin they are putting it in Kentucky, it's in Florida and all National Parks, and Army Corp CampGrounds. I not certain how many other states have it now but there is a lot. The operators are somewhere in Canada and obviously can not know every state's parks. The states supply a list of sites for each campground along with restrictions as to length, level, shade, tent only etc. we have situations here in Wisconsin with sites large enough for our motor home but they are designated tent only and we can not reserve the site. The opposite can and does happen fortunately never to us. Sadly with Reserve America there is no way to check with the park.
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