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Old 08-24-2009, 09:32 PM   #1
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California state parks and trailer length

Well, I suppose this is boondocking, but not in the sense of those beautiful fantasy photos of a single Airstream next to a lake...

We are well on the way toward purchasing our first Airstream, in fact our first RV ever. One factor of many is choosing what length. I think the 25 FB is my ideal floorplan - walk around queen bed, a nice living area at the back, sofa, generous kitchen space, and lots of windows!

I think that, at least until we retire (10 or so years away) I think we will be doing a lot of weekend and long weekend trips, to western state and national parks. Plus a few longer journeys thrown in. Coming from family experience of tent camping, I've not wrapped my head around the KOA full hookup scene yet, but I'm sure we'll take advantage of private campgrounds as well.

Many California state parks have a 24 foot limit on trailers. Thus, it seems, the choices may be somewhat limited. And, as there may be fewer sites capable of the bigger equipment, it may be harder to find such sites.

What's the experience of this group on getting into the average CA state park or NFS sites? is it a challenge with the 25?

We're learning quickly there are trade-offs in the selection of a trailer. the trick is finding what's important, and what may seem important now, might not be later....

Thanks to this forum, it has been a wealth of information! I feel that we are at the very beginning of a fantastic journey!


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Old 08-24-2009, 09:56 PM   #2
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Our 24' has had no problem even with the car in the campsite. Of course campsites come in different lengths and widths. A fellow forum member has taken his 32 footer in but 'some' rangers are unyielding.

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Old 08-24-2009, 09:57 PM   #3
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We have a 27 FB (28 feet) and have had NO issues in CA for camping spots. Granted, there are some smaller spots but if they take trailers, the state parks almost always have spots that will take a longer trailer.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:24 PM   #4
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Many ca state parks have 24' limit ... Where do you get that from?

However deciding what your total lenght is might be up to you... Do the 24' include the hitch? Right there, your 25' (actually 26') is only 23'

the biggest problem with CA parks might not be the lenght it might be IF THEY ARE STILL OPEN!!!! Over 50% of ca parks will close after labor day due to the budget crisis if not everyone starts supporting them !
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:58 PM   #5
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Thanks so much for the replies... I hear ya about the funding crisis. I hope there will be something left for us, our kids, and our grandkids to enjoy some day...

I used this as a reference on trailer length limits...

Recreational Vehicle Maximum Length Information

All in all, most take 25 and greater, however there are a few limited at 24 that we would look forward to visiting. Is it enough to drive our purchase decision? don't know yet.

do they go by living space? or overall length? It's overall length, I suppose, which is more meaningful in terms of clearance and maneuverability...

As well, Yosemite appears to have mostly 24' sites, with perhaps a dozen capable of longer equipment. I figure there'd be a lot of demand for those 12 sites!

There's a lot I don't understand about the rules -
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Old 08-25-2009, 08:52 PM   #6
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Not only is the future of state parks unclear, one has to wonder what 10 years of inflation and higher fuel prices may do to RV'ing as we know it. We also started tent camping when young, a camper van in the middle years, and now an Airstream upon retirement. Have never regretted a moment of it. The main thing is not the gear, but the travel and outdoor lifestyle. Great comfort and convenience are available in something less than the 25FB, and during your working years you may use it a lot more if it is easy to get out on the road with. It may be good to start with a smaller RV.
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Old 08-25-2009, 10:18 PM   #7
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The length rules are made for the idiots or should I say less skilled at driving their rigs around. I've seen em, we've all seen em, bitchin and moaning at each other and then leaving the spot empty because the don't know what they're doing.
I routinely cram my 32 into spots others walk, run, drive away from.Oh that tree will scratch my shiny new drainpipe, what no hookups, bears, they got bears here? the water is 50 feet away? it goes on forever.
NEVER tell a ranger how long airstream tells you the trailer is. Measure your drainpipe inside from the rear window to the front window and use that as your starting point. Reduce your length as you become more experienced.
and even I would not be so bold as to try to shoehorn my 32 into D.L. Bliss state park.
I've yet to see a ranger whip out a tape measure, as a matter of fact I offered one up to a real gem of a ranger a few years back. I should have disarmed the lame brain and had the sherrif arrest the magot.Only one bad ranger, all the rest are great folks.
yup I'm wound up tonite.

My opinion is slanted can you tell.

One thing for sure, the California state parks are nice places.

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Old 08-25-2009, 10:38 PM   #8
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Here is a link to the California State Parks web site that provides a guideline for trailer length in state park campgrounds: Recreational Vehicle Maximum Length Information

California State Parks really need to take a lesson from Oregon State Parks on catering to the larger trailers/RV's, as well as providing campsites for tents! My suspicion is that California's new camping rates will price most tent campers out, and the trailer & RV campers will be the ones paying the new rates, ranging from $25-$65 per night. In case you are wondering....Seacliff State Beach is the one that will be going for $65/night, but it does include hook-ups.
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:20 PM   #9
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when the talk size you can leave your gal and park your car someplace else if the space size is too small. WE love our22 footer but we do not full time. She is our home away from home. Calif has the most state parks and country campgrounds as well.
I think you are probably fine if you do not mind parking the car someoplace if that is a problem. If now buy1 foot smaller and continue the search. Most us never stay with our lst trailer as once you go on the road your needs may different to what you originally thought.
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:11 AM   #10
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I think the 25' is ideal for northern CA parks. My 31' can make it around both camping loops at Patrick's Point SP, though I need a lot of space for my F250 to make a back-in. It seems like many times a tree or rock is in the wrong place opposite of the site.
Besides objects on the other side of the site creating an interesting backing situation, some of the loops can have tight curves, especially in the redwood parks. I won't take my airstream down in the lower loops at Prairie Creek SP. So far I've always found room up in the meadow. Burlington SP, south of Eureka, says it takes 31'. I've camped there once. That was enough. I don't like curving around the redwoods with my airstream. I've also had construction in parks give me some interesting configurations. At Burlington, I had to make a sharp turn with a redwood tree on one side and a chain link fence on the other. At Burney Falls SP, I had holes on both sides of the road, and tight turns. These always happen off season, the only time I stop at CA SP. My 31' airstream will also scrape easily with any little dip, which are common in some parks. The 29' airstream doesn't have this problem. Also, some parks camp loop roads are on grades, like Jeddediah Smith, which means backing uphill to a site. -just some things to think about...
Clear Lake SP is a good place close to you. All the sites are double width and short, which means you have to unhook.
The 25' is one size that you can keep, and probably not feel you need to get a longer one in the future.

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