In a previous post, we took a look at big rig RVs. In today’s post, we’re looking at big rig RV parks – parks that are referred to as “big rig friendly” or as having “big rig access”, and what those terms really mean (if anything).
Most importantly, today’s post takes a look at how to find big rig RV parks – and how to make sure they’re actually friendly toward, and accessible to, your big rig RV.
Let’s get rolling!
- 1) What Size RV Is Considered a Big Rig?
- 2) What Is the Largest Size RV Allowed in National Parks?
- 3) What Does “Big Rig Friendly” Mean?
- 4) What Does “Big Rig Access” Mean?
- 5) What Are the Easiest Ways to Find Big Rig RV Parks?
- 6) What is the Most Important Thing to Do When Looking for a Big Rig RV Park?
- 7) Can Big Rigs Stay at State and National Parks?
- 8) Have You Stayed At Any Really Great Big Rig Sites?
What Size RV Is Considered a Big Rig?
Any RV over 40’ in length is generally considered a “big rig RV”. This includes motorhomes, 5th wheels, and any type of RV that spans 40 feet or more.
What Is the Largest Size RV Allowed in National Parks?
While the answer to this question varies in terms of details from park to park, RVs with a maximum length of 27 feet are allowed in most national parks.
Around 98% of National Park campgrounds can accept RVs up to 19’ in length and 90% of national parks permit RVs up to 25’ long.
Many national parks allow far bigger rigs than that, but you really need to check each park as you make your plans. Let’s take a look at a few examples of some famous parks and the lengths of the RVs they can accommodate:
- Acadia National Park in Maine has no restrictions on RV length at any of its campgrounds.
- Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming/Montana/Idaho) has campgrounds that can accommodate 40’ and even 50’ long RVs.
- Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado permits 40-foot rigs.
- Denali National Park in Alaska has an RV length limit of 40 feet.
- Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State offers sites for 35’ RVs and 27’ trailers (maximum).
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee – 40’ for RVs and 35’ for trailers.
- Everglades National Park in Florida can accommodate 45’ rigs.
- Yosemite National Park has nine different campgrounds, and they vary from 27’ to 40’ in terms of the size of the RVs they can accommodate.
- And finally, Grand Canyon National Park has a couple of campgrounds that can accept rigs up to 30’ long (including your vehicle), and one that can accommodate rigs as long as 50’.
What Does “Big Rig Friendly” Mean?
“Big rig friendly” is a term that’s supposed to mean that the campground will be at least fairly easy for big rig owners to navigate – to enter and exit, to drive through, and to park. Unfortunately, in reality, it’s not quite that simple.
One campground owner’s idea of “big rig friendly” is very different from that of another. And in fact, many of the people who designate a campground as “big rig friendly” have never even driven a Class A RV and have little understanding of what it takes to navigate twists and turns, trees and rocks, rough terrain, etc.
So, in the end, “big rig friendly” is a rather subjective term (there’s no defined “standard” or testing body) that is somewhat meaningless UNLESS you confirm a park’s big rig friendliness with people who have previously navigated the park in a big rig.
This is why we stress the importance of reading reviews from your fellow RVers who’ve been in a location before you. They are the best sources of information as to what “big rig friendly” really means from park to park and campground to campground.
What Does “Big Rig Access” Mean?
The same is somewhat true for the term “big rig access”. As we noted throughout our post on big rig RVs, “big rig access” should mean that big rigs have easy (or at least somewhat easy) access to the park or campground.
If in driving into an RV park or campground (and/or navigating to your campsite) you risk damaging your RV, that park is not big rig friendly and it doesn’t offer big rig access, even if they have very long campsites.
If, however, you’re able to reasonably navigate your way into and out of the park and your campsite, then you’ve got big rig access.
As we noted in our post on big rig RVs, reading reviews and walking (or driving your toad car) through the park and to your campsite before you attempt to drive your big rig in are the best ways to determine whether a park or campground has big rig access or not.
What Are the Easiest Ways to Find Big Rig RV Parks?
There are a number of ways to find big rig RV parks and to find out in advance whether they’re truly big rig friendly and offer big rig access. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Allstays is an app that you can download to your smartphone or tablet. The app offers a wide array of filters including some that will indicate big rig accommodations. You can also see reviews from other big rig owners who’ve camped (or attempted to camp) at the locations you’re considering, and their experiences can guide you. And Allstays isn’t just for campgrounds and RV parks. You can search for parking lots where overnighting is allowed, places to shop such as camping stores, Walmarts, grocery stores, stores with fishing gear, etc. And always check those reviews! Fellow RVers with rigs as large as yours and larger may have attempted one entry and found that another entry works better for big rigs, and that information could save you some time and trouble.
RV Trip Wizard
RV Trip Wizard offers similar ways to search and also offers a satellite and terrain view. These, as well as elevation and gradient, are available under “Map Settings”.
This type of information can be very helpful to big rig RV owners and can help you to plan your travels.
Additionally, RV Trip Wizard allows you to customize RV-safe routes to the height and weight of your RV. This allows you to avoid low clearances and steep grades.
RV Trip Wizard offers reviews of campgrounds by fellow RVers, and as always we can’t stress enough just how helpful those reviews can be.
RV Trip Wizard is part of the RV Life suite of tools, and we have a discount coupon if you’re considering signing up (note: the coupon is only valid for the annual membership plan, not the month-to-month offer).
RV Life Pro membership provides access to a suite of valuable tools (each one separately worth the cost of the whole package), including: RV Trip Wizard (trip planner); RV Safe GPS app (for...Show More
RV Life Pro membership provides access to a suite of valuable tools (each one separately worth the cost of the whole package), including: RV Trip Wizard (trip planner); RV Safe GPS app (for RV-specific navigation); CampgroundReviews.com (user reviews of RV Parks & campgrounds); iRV2.com (community forums); MaintainMyRV (maintenance schedule tracking), and RV Masterclass (excellent educational material for all RVers).
Save 25% on an annual subscription to RV Life with discount code “RVGEEKS” (signup on the RV Trip Wizard website and get access to the whole RV Life Pro package). Show Less
Most of us are at least somewhat familiar with Google Maps by now, but you may not realize that Google Maps allows you to use map layers with satellite views. This can be very helpful when trying to determine whether an area will be easily (or not so easily!) navigated by a big rig.
Big Rig Best Bets Guide
Big Rig Best Bets Guide offers both a spiral-bound book or an online version with information about big rig RV parks that have been personally visited by the authors. They include satellite views of every park and embedded Google Map features as well.
You’ll find everything from upscale resorts, to overnight stops along the interstate, to public parks, and more.
Each park listing offers specific site numbers as well as the lengths of the sites along with additional park details such as WiFi information and other park amenities.
What is the Most Important Thing to Do When Looking for a Big Rig RV Park?
The best approach when trip planning is to read reviews to learn what the experiences of other big rig RV owners have been like at various locations.
You’ll want to make sure that entrances, turns, and the approach and length of the site will work for you.
Regardless of what trip planner or app you use, reading reviews from other big rig owners is essential. Once again, many campgrounds and RV parks market themselves as a “big rig RV Park”, as being “big rig friendly”, or as having “big rig access”, but when you arrive you find that there are low hanging branches, or large rocks on curves or at site edges that can cause damage to larger rigs that try to pass through.
And remember that as a big rig owner it’s important to leave reviews based on your stays at various campgrounds and RV parks in an effort to help other big rig owners.
Can Big Rigs Stay at State and National Parks?
The answer to this question is yes – at some state and national parks, but not at others. Here again, it’s imperative that you find a manner of researching this prior to attempting to gain entry at a park that specifies no access for big rigs.
Have You Stayed At Any Really Great Big Rig Sites?
If you’re a big rig owner, we’d love to know your best big rig site experiences, and we’d also like to know if you’ve had difficulty navigating a site that was marketed as “big rig friendly” or as having “big rig access.” If you leave a comment, please be sure to include the size of your rig!
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Saturday 6th of August 2022
We have a 44ft, 13’8” high 5 slide fifth wheel, and can’t thank you enough for this. It doesn’t matter how many questions we have when booking, or upon arriving, we run into a disaster every time. Margaritaville in Auburndale, Florida is great.
RAYMOND C CALDWELL
Saturday 22nd of January 2022
We have a 40' gasser with toad and love to stay at Pacific Shores in Newport Oregon (large lots with beautiful seashore and lighthouse overlook) and Crown Villa in Bend, Oregon (20' wide paver parking pads on large lots and tall pines for shade).
Saturday 22nd of January 2022
Beautiful spot, indeed, Raymond!
Sunday 9th of January 2022
We have a 43' motorhome and have found two Tennessee state parks that have limited big rig access even though each has sites ostensibly large enough for a big rig.
David Crocket Birthplace state park in Limestone (near Johnson City) has a campground with sites long enough for a big rig, but the sites are tight and the roads/aisles between them are difficult to navigate because of the proximity of trees. We camped their without incident, but the process was extremely unpleasant.
Harrison Bay state Park in Harrison (metro Chattanooga) has 3 areas/loops open to RVs. Area A is the only one that works well for big rigs because the slope of many sites in areas B and C effectively reduce their usable length to 25' or less.
Sunday 9th of January 2022
Good to know, Neal! Thanks for the info!
Thursday 6th of January 2022
Mills End Park (Portland, Or) would absolutely not qualify for this article.
Gay Camping Enthusiast
Monday 3rd of January 2022
Another awesome article. I'm from Washington state, and I'm well aware of Mt. Rainier Natl. Park, but I didn't know they allowed RV parking, never mind Big Rig RV parking. Awesome!
Monday 3rd of January 2022
Excellent! We LOVE WA!