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.”