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Part of camping is relaxing around the campfire and cracking open a beer. But what about enjoying a drink or two while you’re still on the road? Is drinking alcohol in a moving RV legal?
If you like to enjoy a refreshing alcoholic drink while camping, you will want to understand how open container laws might apply to you.
Can You Drink Alcohol in a Moving RV?
Laws regarding drinking alcohol in moving RVs vary from state to state, the type of RV, and where you consume it inside. While we don’t necessarily think it’s a good idea, some states don’t expressly forbid passengers from drinking in an RV.
One thing is apparent in all states; the driver cannot consume alcohol in any capacity while driving. Additionally, the passenger cannot sit in the front passenger seat while possessing an open container.
Does the RV’s Size Matter for Drinking Laws?
The RV’s size matters in two states when it comes to drinking laws. In Florida and Louisiana, the length of your RV determines how it is classed for open containers. In these two states, RVs over 21 ft in length allow passengers to consume alcohol in the back living area while in motion.
Drinking Laws for Motorized vs. Towable RVs
Drinking laws for motorized RVs such as motorhomes differ for towables such as a fifth wheel. In a motorhome, the open container can’t be in reach of the driver. Even in states where the passenger can have an open container, they must remain in the living area of the RV.
Towable RVs are regarded similarly to trucks. You can stow away open containers in them if out of reach of any person. With that said, it is always best you check local laws before transporting alcohol.
Can You Carry Open Alcohol in a Moving RV?
Yes, RVs are classed similarly to “hired cars,” such as taxis and limos in many states. You can have an opened container stored away in the kitchen or living area of an RV. In some states, they specify that the RV must be over 21 ft in length.
In California, drivers are exempt from prosecution under the open container laws for possessing one in the back of the RV. Passengers can drink in the living area. But again, drivers cannot.
All RV occupants can drink freely once you park the RV, as you are now using it as a residence. Be careful, as it is a bit of a gray area on if overnighting in a parking lot or rest area qualifies as a parked residence or not. As with many things in life, it is always better to err on the side of caution.
Do RVer Alcohol Use Laws Differ By State?
Yes, RV alcohol use laws differ by state. It is essential to verify the state laws where you are. An expensive ticket, or worse, a trip to jail, is not a fun way to start your camping trip.
The United States is large, and it can be hard to keep up with the local alcohol laws where you are. It might surprise you to learn that some counties don’t sell alcohol within the county or city confines. While you can still transport it within these areas, it just goes to show how laws differ from state to state and even county to county.
Regardless of where and when you choose to drink, please do so responsibly. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s your best choice. It may be best that all members of your party wait to partake until you set up at your campsite.
When you do get set up at your camping spot, crack open your drinks and enjoy. Don’t forget to respect fellow campers by following quiet hours to avoid having some unhappy neighbors.