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RVs 10 years or older are being turned away from campgrounds. Should this be allowed?

As a massive number of RVers scour the country for a place to camp, more and more RV parks are turning away folks with RVs 10 years old or older. Several years ago we had to send photos of our newly custom-painted Coachmen motorhome to an RV park in Florida before they would let us book. Then, I was so proud of our motorhome I didn’t have a problem sending in the photos. Now, I am not so sure. Do I really want to stay there?

A couple of weeks ago we ran a poll asking if folks had ever been turned away from a campground or service center because of their rig’s age. We got a lot of responses. Here are a few of them:

Yup, they’ve been turned away for having older RVs

These readers have all been turned away at one time or another because their RVs were 10 years old or older. Phil A. now questions if he would even want to stay in such a “snooty” place. “Our reservation was denied by one ‘resort’ in Carson City, NV, this past June. Two more in Reno stated the same rule. The staff member that I spoke with in Carson City explained the park’s insurance carrier made that rule. She didn’t know any more than that. We did find a spot in Carson City for the five days we needed.

“I have also heard that the age rules were derived from safety changes made in the RV industry. I’ve asked for chapter-and-verse references, but no one has come forward to explain.

“In our 6ish years of being full-time in our diesel pusher motorhome, we have seen several rigs of questionable construction and origin. I support a camp owner’s right to refuse service to a rig that is falling apart as it rolls down the road.

“Lastly, the age limit rule causes me to ask ‘Do we really want to stay in such a snooty park?’ Our coach is a 2004 Bounder 38N. No cardboard covering the windows, no window A/C unit propped up with a 2×4.”

Some RV parks are very picky about older RVs

Another reader, Jim, can’t believe how picky some RV parks are. “Yes, in Tombstone, Arizona, of all places, the owner would not accept my 1989 Fleetwood Southwind that has 19,650 original miles and is in perfect exterior condition. Runs great, too. It has six new tires and clean rims. Newly sealed roof, all white. New awning. No cracked windows, no duct tape anywhere. Another park not too far away welcomed me at a little higher rate. Can’t believe how picky some parks are.”

Louis I. was turned away too because his RV was older than 10 years. “Yes, I’ve been turned away from two full-time RV campgrounds in TX, back in 2001, when I retired from the Army. I had a 30′ NuWa RB travel trailer built mid-’80s, towed by a 1988 Chevy Suburban, and was told it was too old for their parks. Finally found a nice park on a lake to live in until I rented a house about 2 years later.”

Is it a “new retro” or an “old retro”?

Stephan couldn’t find any RV parks in Northern California to allow him in until his real, old retro became a “new” retro! “Almost all RV parks in Northern California won’t let you in. I had to lie a little. Told them I have a retro. Lol. A classic.”

Send us the photo if your RV is 10 years old or older

Many folks, like us, have been asked to send photos to the park prior to booking if their RV is more than 10 years old. Sharry B wrote that they had to send photos too. “We have not been turned away, but have been asked twice to submit photos. Our Winnebago Class A motorhome is in very good shape.”

Dave told us about his experience in Canadian RV parks. “I have never been asked, but I live in Canada and do not go to high class RV resorts.”

This KOA didn’t even ask for a photo for an older RV!

Phil and Peggy told us about a KOA that lost their business. “There’s a KOA in Richfield, UT, that will not take our reservation. Our RV is 20 years old but you would not know it from its looks as we’ve kept it up. Their competitors in Salina have been benefiting from their arrogance.

“A few other RV parks have asked us for a picture of the unit before confirming a reservation, but once they’ve seen the picture there’s been no problem. I think the appearance of the rig is more important than its age, but how would they ask that? The KOA in Richfield didn’t even ask for a picture — they must have all the business they want, as is.”

Double standard for peak versus slow season?

Several readers told us about what looks like a double standard when it comes to RVs 10 years old or older. Apparently, rules are rules only during peak season, not when they really need the business.

David P. found this out for himself: “We have a ’90s model fifth wheel and have had numerous situations where they have required a picture or flat refused to allow us. We have had some that want the pictures and state that during the busy season they would not accept us, but since it’s the slow season we were allowed.”

Glen S. also had a similar experience. “In 2009, we inquired about an urban Van Nuys, CA, campground to see if they had space. After letting us know that our 1997 travel trailer was ‘too old,’ they relented and allowed us to camp there for the week we had intended to use. We learned after setting up that because it was the 1st of May, and the movie industry shuts down annually through May, nearly all of their regular customers were leaving the campground to head to their sticks and bricks homes somewhere else. In other words, the campground would have been nearly empty but for those of us with ‘too-old’ rigs! Because there’s always a lesson to be learned: Camp in Van Nuys in May, their age restrictions are looser.”

##RVT1020

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Randel Mowen
2 days ago

This is the RV industry forcing the purchase of new units. Similar to SMOG requirements for vehicles in CA, but ‘eye’ pollution seems to be the excuse this time…

muddster
7 days ago

So lets all do some justice! we need a list available online that has refused us and we will all boycott those parks! they cant just let new rv’s into the park when its good for them… they only reason they will get away with this is because we let them.. stand together and show them we pride the old coaches as much as the new ones.. I grew up in the coach in the first picture we now have a renegade and i have no problem standing by my older units!

Nevaida Howe
7 days ago

We have a 5th wheel 10 years old this year. only used 10 times to go to a music jam each summer for 10 days. Loos like new, Has been covered each winter. How could this be excluded from any park. Our truck is a Ford 350 D only used to pull tie trailer and run to keep the motor in good shape also looks new. I can see it if the motor home is shabby I guess.

Mike
7 days ago

Get an Airstream, they ALL (almost) look alike. From about 2000 to present not much change in outer appearance. Lie about the age like we did as teenagers.

William McGullam Sr.
16 hours ago
Reply to  Mike

Yup you’re right. And since COVID now most States are having everyone doing online registration and printing out their own registration cards. It’s much easier to make a copy, finagle the details, change the model year, and even list the model as “Classic Edition” or Retro Edition” or something similar.

CLeeNick
7 days ago

Personally, I think barring older RV’s from RV parks is ridiculous, and I wouldn’t do so if I owned an RV park. I personally like older classic RV’s. They bring back memories of RV travel with my family back in the 1970’s. We currently own both a 1977 Mobile Traveler Class C motorhome, and a 2019 Passport 197RB travel trailer. Thankfully (as I’ve mentioned in many other posts), out here in the rural southwest USA there is plenty of opportunity for boondocking, and both rigs see far more of that than they have of RV parks or campgrounds, so the issue of RV age is really fairly irrelevant in our situation.

Todd S.
11 days ago

My wife and I were barred from several rv places on our trip through Southern California because we own a hybrid trailer. Their rules were, “No canvas.”. Our rig was three years old and kept in immaculate condition. That was frustrating.

Edward
13 days ago

1. All things being fairly equal with the ownership of a 10+ year old rv, a campground using their discretion in allowing a white owner in and not a black owner, will be accused of discrimination. It’s coming and will make headlines.
2. This whole rv thing seems like more of a chore than going on vacation. Unless you live in this box full time, why would you buy something that constantly gets negative ratings, particularly in this newsletter?

Bangs Oueru
6 days ago
Reply to  Edward

Geez, Edward, why did the Black/White thing pop in here? Has anyone ever been asked about skin color in a reservation request? We have been asked to send pics of our coach but not us!!
Seems like so many people gotta make everything into a racist issue.

Edward
3 days ago
Reply to  Bangs Oueru

Perception that poor people are not white and own old rv’s. This is just another way to keep nonwhites out of parks. Kind of like the steak house with chops at $38 an entree. Who you think is in there.

Sally
18 days ago

Our family is making a trip to MO soon as we bought land out there last year and will start to make improvements this next spring. We are second owners to a well maintained 2004 36 Ft 5vr.

I have been calling for over a month now, and every park I have called in OK, TX, MO that have spots for monthly rent avail-or to be put on a waiting list have turned us away due to being over ten. Most , No exceptions. Only a few said they “might” consider over ten if we send them “good enough looking pictures, all sides outside and inside”

At that point I am just not giving them pictures or money. This whole ordeal has gotten way way out of control. This is no longer just a few parks, it is every park I have called. I just finished sending yet another email to yet another park in OK. I am at a point now where I am leaning on putting our perfectly good 5vr in storage and tent camping though the winter at state parks. what a shame rv life has come to this.

ChiefW78
13 hours ago
Reply to  Sally

Sounds to me more of an opportunity to park and live on your own land while building. You’re going to need a power line and pole/meter for construction anyway. Are you far enough out of town to require a septic? Map it and install it. Why pay for a park and have to drive back and forth just to sleep? My younger brother built his shop first, parked his 5th wheel inside; installed power pole and small septic for 1300sf shop, while clearing trees and building their house Took about a year (big house) in Colorado – Black Forest area. .You’ve got an adventure ahead of you… take advantage and enjoy the ride of your lifetime!
.

ChiefW78
13 hours ago
Reply to  ChiefW78

BTW propane and honey trucks can deliver and pick-up on-site. Again, why pay a park and waste travel time except for groceries? Or why tent in winter when you can RV on your own property? Enjoy!

Colleen S. Phipps
20 days ago

I think this is actually a lot less common than it appears because people often report it based on what someone else told them. It would also be nice to hear both sides of the story. Too many just assume it is a “snobby” park.

Bob Amoroso
21 days ago

Hmmmm first of how to they know you RV is 10 years or older? Do you tell they in the reservation? Do they ask you when calling? Sure I’ve been asked, but I always put down 2016 or so. I’m not under oath here. And, even though my RV is actually a 2007 (Class C) and I too have kept it in pristine condition. The Chevrolet cab hasn’t changed for years so no one can tell by looking at it what year it really is. When it was brand new I was asked for the registration (In San Diego) for proof of the year. I asked them what police department the worked for? And then said your not getting it, but, maybe the temporary license plate might be proof enough. Really though if you were turned down for a site, has anyone been asked for proof of the year? And that San Diego RV park I stayed at rated a 1 star since it was an awful dirty disgusting excuse for a RV park. Glad I boondock and prefer National Forest Service, Regional Park, County Parks and National Parks to private RV parks.

Sally
18 days ago
Reply to  Bob Amoroso

Yes. They ask as soon as you express interest in a Monthly spot. Most have taken my email address and sent an email to list out the imperfections on your coach, to repy with pictures and to reply to and answer their “questionaire” specifically it states :Is the camper over ten years old. These are not Resorts. These are everyday parks.

Heather
21 days ago

As my RV of choice is a truck camper, this is why I mainly boondock.

Tom B
21 days ago

Maybe some with old RV’s are experienced squatters, and like problem tenants, can be hard to get rid of for non-payment etc. Just be advised to tell a white lie if you are among those with a “classic” RV. If they don’t buy that, then move on. BTW , just returned from a trip to Mass., New Hampshire, and Maine, via air and rental car. Beautiful almost empty National Forest Campgrounds in the White Mountains along Hwy 112. No electricity though. State Park in Maine had electricity, not as big campsites though. Wolfe’s Neck State Park, near Freeport Maine, home of LL Bean.

Edward
6 days ago
Reply to  Tom B

I don’t think you can tell a “white” lie anymore. It’s just a lie. All races tell lies. However it does seem that mostly whites purchase rv’s that are junk and then complain about it. I’m embarrassed.

Tommy Molnar
21 days ago

We LIVE in Carson City, NV. I can’t imagine which RV park around here would impose 10 year old restrictions. I still stand by my old belief that you just lie about the age (GASP! Did I really say that?).

Kathy Porter
8 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I live near Carson City too. I see rigs of all ages at the parks there. However, there are state and county parks nearby but I don’t know if they have hookups.

Bwodom
21 days ago

Just this week a fellow camper admired our class c, asking “Gotcha a nice new motor home?” To which we replied, “It’s a 2009.” He was obviously surprised and asked me to repeat. Then he said, “That’s the same year as mine but yours sure looks a lot better!”
I suspect our brand is a higher quality build to begin with and it has been well cared for. I would dare any campground owner to look at it and guess it’s age. Sort of the same with people…can’t always tell from exterior appearances!

Donn
21 days ago

This must be a recent phenomena as I’ve never experienced anything like this and it is now a thing occurring at campgrounds, take note and put it out there for others to read in such publications as this one, Chuck’s most reliable and trustworthy RV newsletter, RVTravel.com. My 1976 20′ towable is alleged to be a “retro collectible” and it’s in meticulously perfect shape. Why would I ever allow it to be otherwise?
Chuck should publish an online review of these nefarious consumption oriented campgrounds which serve only their own anti-environmental purposes and no regard for the genuineness of the life-style.

rvgrandma
22 days ago

For long term I can understand at least wanting to make sure it is fully operational and looks nice. For overnight or a few days, then unless it is a piece of junk, falling apart, missing parts (can’t believe how many older ones I see missing the hot water tank door – then I can see saying no sometimes. I have a 21 year old Class A – it looks better than some of the ones in here (long term) that are not as old.

Crowman
22 days ago

I tell them our 2004 Jayco trailer is 5 years old. You think somebody at the counter knows by sight what year your unit is? Most of the people working in places like that wouldn’t bat an eye when you tell them that. It’s worked Everytime but our trailer looks brand new.

Edward
6 days ago
Reply to  Crowman

Stupeed Americano

Montgomery D. Bonner
22 days ago

In early 90’s had over 10 year old truck camper. The Oasias Campground in Las Vegas then had the 10 year rule, it’s not new, and it’s not discriminatory. I urge you to drive down the main street in Flagstaff, AZ, like you are going to Cracker Barrell, look at the wrecks alongside the road, then ask yourself, would you want to be camped next to one of those in upscale RV park. Now the picture above shows the folks who own that one, love their rv and I’ll bet its cleaner than many of ours. They should have been allowed in the CG. There are exceptions to every rule, but lots of junk should be banned, actually taken off the road. I personally believe RV should have to have a safety inspection evey 5 years, done by the mothership or an authroized service center, i.e., Freightliner, Cummins, etc. That would keep RV up, and not looking like a house crashed into them. If they fail, pulled off road until made safe and road worthy, sorry if yours is a junk trap.

Edward
6 days ago

Hi yeah, that’ll work. And you think there are delays now.

Bob P
22 days ago

We had an 18 year old class A that didn’t look 3. We were never asked how old our unit was so we never experienced being turned down. As a matter of fact most times when we were checking in someone would comment how nice it looked. Of course we never tried to camp in high-faluting places either, and we have stayed in many very nice resorts from FL to TX and back to TN. I think if I were asked that question I doubt if I want to give them my business anyway. I feel the same way about staying at KOA because of the attitude we got from the KOA in Witchita, KS. I’ll not darken their driveway again.

Bariman
22 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

Bob, I live in the Wichita area and there isn’t a KOA here. There is a campground on the westside called All Seasons RV Park which was built around a former KOA campground over 40 yrs ago. There are many RV parks in the country I have seen on my travels that have the familiar KOA office building, but no longer affiliated with the KOA brand.

Tom
22 days ago

I enjoy glamping, and sometimes a COE park.I was asked once for a picture and didn’t mind.