RVer Warns State Park Camping Isn’t for Big Rigs

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Camping in a state park can be an incredible experience. Unfortunately, it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you’re driving or hauling a big rig.

While some state parks have spacious sites, that’s not always been our experience. We’ve had a few challenging situations during our travels, especially when we had our massive fifth wheel.

Today, we’re looking at one fellow RVer’s warning and sharing some of the best state parks for big rigs.

Let’s get started!

Camper Advises Against Using State Parks for Large RVs

We came across a post from the owner of a massive 44-foot RV. She started off her post with a warning about how challenging it is navigating such a large rig in state parks.

She shared that it was so difficult for her and her husband that they switched roles. So, now she backs in the rig, and he provides directions from the rear.

However, it got us thinking about state parks and RVs. Many people enjoy that these campgrounds often try to maintain a natural environment.

You’ll likely have a generous amount of vegetation, including trees and bushes. Unfortunately, these can also pose problems in certain circumstances.

A screenshot on a blurry background of a woman explaining how hard it is to fit her 44 foot RV in state park campgrounds.

Pro Tip: Check out How To Easily Find Big Rig RV Parks to save yourself a headache or two when planning your travels.

What Are State Parks?

State parks are public lands owned and maintained by the respective state government. Typically, they provide excellent opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, swimming, fishing, and wildlife viewing.

However, their larger purpose is to preserve the natural environment. This helps avoid habitat loss and other critical vegetation in a region.

The United States contains more than 3,700 state parks spread across the country. California has the most, with approximately 280 units, while Rhode Island has the fewest, with 15.

Like siblings, state parks may share similar features, but no two are alike. Some are larger than others, and others include historical sites, deserts, mountains, or beaches.

They typically receive funding through appropriations from the state, plus entrance and camping fees. Some even receive grants to help with special projects from time to time.

If you want to connect with nature while learning about culture and history, state parks are a great choice. You can make some epic memories with your loved ones.

Are State Parks Not Good for Big RVs?

Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule for state parks and big RVs. The infrastructure at one park will vary considerably from that at another park.

Ultimately, the longer your rig, the fewer campsites that will be available.

As mentioned, state parks often try to avoid cutting down trees whenever possible. This can make it very challenging for drivers, especially those in big rigs.

Trees near the road’s edge or a campsite can be overlooked obstacles. You’ll need to know their odd placement when maneuvering your recreational vehicle.

A poorly placed tree can create issues when setting up your site. When getting parked, it’s essential to be mindful of their location. We’ve heard of fellow RVers getting unhitching and discovering they cannot extend their slides completely due to a tree.

Be aware of these potential issues and factor them into the equation before unhitching!

Learn More: Have you ever wondered Are State Parks Free? Click the link to find out!

A fifth wheel RV being towed in a state park with very low hanging branches brushing the top of the RV.

The Best State Parks for Big RVs

What are the best state parks to consider if you have a big RV? Don’t worry, we’ve found some of the best!

If you want plenty of room for you and your loved ones to spread out, book at one of the sites below.

Fort McAllister State Park -Georgia

Fort McAllister State Park has 67 sites, many of which are pull-through and 50 feet or longer and with full hookups. The Spanish moss hanging from the massive oak trees provides a unique atmosphere.

Here, you’ll set up camp in a natural and relaxing setting next to the Ogeechee River. As an added benefit, you’re only 30 miles from the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia. 

A fifth wheel with a picnic table parked at the campground in Fort McAllister State Park.

Caprock Canyons State Park – Texas

Caprock Canyons State Park sits in Quitaque, Texas, in the northern portion of the Lone Star State, approximately 100 miles southeast of Amarillo.

This is a fantastic option if you’re passing through I-40 and looking for a stop along the way.

You can see bison and bats along the approximately 90 miles of trails. In addition, you can spend time fishing, swimming, and biking. There’s plenty to see and do at Caprock Canyons State Park.

Regarding camping, you’ll find everything from sites with electricity to primitive sites requiring hiking. They have ten 50-Amp sites, 25 30-Amp spots, and several dozen primitive walk-in sites.

You can find it here no matter what time of experience you’re looking for.

St. George Island State Park – Florida

St. George Island State Park lies approximately 80 miles southwest of Tallahassee in the panhandle of Florida.

However, the campground here has a maximum trailer length of 43 feet. If you’ve ever wanted to camp on an island, this is the state park for you and your big rig.

There are plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking,  boating, fishing, and spending time outdoors. The blue waters and soft white sands are the perfect place to settle in and relax.

Additionally, keep your eyes out for dolphins and the many saltwater fish living in the water.

The beach at sunset at St. George Island State Park.

City of Rocks State Park – New Mexico

City of Rocks State Park in Faywood, New Mexico, offers unique and incredible camping opportunities for rigs of all sizes.

You’ll find everything from tiny travel trailers to massive fifth wheels and motorhomes camping amongst tall rock sculptures.

The rocks you see throughout the park are the result of volcanic ash. Over 30 million years, wind and water sculpted the rocks into large pillars that decorate the campground.

They have 35 developed campsites and a handful of water and electric sites. Some are available through reservation, and others are first-come, first-served.

Custer State Park – South Dakota

Custer State Park contains 71,000 acres in the Black Hills of South Dakota. You’ll find plenty of camping, hiking, biking, swimming, and fishing opportunities.

If you can land a spot near the wildlife loop, you’ll even have a chance to see bighorn sheep, elk, and a bison or two.

Unfortunately, you won’t find any sites with full hookups in Custer State Park. The park is a remarkable place to serve as your home base while exploring the Black Hills.

You can easily visit spots like Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, and Devil’s Tower National Monument.

A reflective lake in Custer State Park with rocks in the background and a bright blue sky.

Should Big RVs Avoid State Parks?

It may be tempting to avoid state parks if you’re in a big rig. However, you can still find a campsite even with a larger RV. But the larger your rig, the more critical it will be for you to research. 

Remember to consider the roads in and out and throughout the park. Just because a site says it can fit your RV doesn’t mean it’ll be easy.

Call the state park and ask them about any potential issues when in doubt. They don’t want you and your big rig to experience problems either.

What are your favorite state parks to camp in with your RV?

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