Are RV parks overcrowded?

In this article, we will discuss: Are RV parks overcrowded? We will discuss the pros and cons of RV parks, give you a few useful tips on how to avoid overcrowded campsites and whether to park as an alternative.  

Are RV parks overcrowded?

RV parks can get overcrowded and cramped especially during camping season, April/May – September/October. The fact is that campgrounds make money by renting their plots (with or without amenities), so they do their best to occupy every little space possible. 

The average size of an RV lot is usually nine feet wide by 18 feet long (the full size of a truck), but it is not uncommon to be asked to park in a much smaller space, especially in the US.  

What to do if you have arrived at an overcrowded RV park?

One of the things we hear the most complaints about is the amount of space in an RV park. Roads that are difficult to navigate are bad enough, but small places where you almost touch your neighbour’s pad are even more irritating.

While there isn’t much you can do about it, we do have a couple of suggestions. The first is sure to have your toad unhooked when you arrive. This will make navigating narrow roads much easier. And when it comes to tight spots, consider backing up further into your spot if possible, moving your camper away from the alignment and giving yourself some room.

However, the best solution is to specifically look for campgrounds with large sites and omit those that are within inches of your neighbours. Reading the campground reviews beforehand will give you a better idea of how big the roads and campgrounds are and whether they are well spaced or not!

How to avoid an overcrowded RV park?

Besides the above-mentioned advice, here are some simple tips to avoid overcrowded and cramped RV parks:

  1. Do your research beforehand: read RV parks reviews of forums, Facebook groups or google reviews. 
  1. Call ahead if possible: ask what is the best time of the day to arrive, how many parking spaces they have available, what amenities are on hand, etc. 
  1. Always have a plan B (and C, D): Unless it’s the middle of the night and it would be dangerous for you to continue driving, it is always best to inspect the campground and leave if you don’t like it!
  1. It is best to book your space as far in advance as possible: almost all campsites have a reservation window, make sure you catch yours!
  1. Consider boondocking: it is safe and quite enjoyable if you get prepared for it. More about this practice is below. 

Alternative places to park your RV

In this section, we will review some alternative places where you can legally park your RV in the US. But before moving to the ideas, let’s summarize the norms. 

First of all, in the US, RVs, which by the traffic code enjoy the same rights and duties as common motorists, must respect the vertical and horizontal signs present. They cannot, therefore, park in an area in which there is a no-parking sign and even less a stop sign (but we will see later if the parking prohibitions referring only to campers are legal).

RVs cannot cross with their outline the horizontal signs, that is the lines that delimit the parking lots. This means that we may not have problems parking along the sidewalks (where only the delimitation line of the vehicle width may be present but not of the length), but due to tonnage and dimensions, we will not be able to use the herringbone car parks or those for example present outside many shopping centres and public establishments.

If your camper does not fit within the lines delimiting the parking lot, you will not be entitled to use them. But here we try to use a bit of common sense: a camper knows that he does not drive a small vehicle, and it is right that he tries not to create clutter. So, if you absolutely need it, stop for as little time as possible, park where you don’t mind and don’t take up more space than necessary. 

Be respectful! And remember that, in any case, you are violating the rules and you will not be able to complain in case of warnings or fines, even if this land is owned by private individuals you cannot be sanctioned by the Police.

And now, to the alternative places where you can park your RV:

  1. Paid parking: Know that, if you decide to park your camper in an area marked with blue stripes, you will have to pay 50% more than ordinary vehicles.
  1. In front of houses and shops: The camper who respects the rules listed above can also park in front of personal homes or commercial establishments, except for specific parking regulations and provided that they leave an adequate passage for pedestrians and vehicles.

However, a little common sense is also needed in this case: if possible, do not create discomfort for those who live and work where you have decided to park. The camper is half high, and perhaps it could deprive an accommodation of natural light by shielding the windows with its outline. 

Here, if possible, park elsewhere, or reduce the duration of your stop to a minimum. The same goes for commercial businesses: if you hide the windows of a shop, presumably you damage the shopkeeper … and it’s not nice. Again, try not to disturb more than actually necessary.

For safety, always check the specific regulations of the Municipality where you are located if you decide to park on state-owned land without delimitation of parking because it is possible that ordinances will be adopted that sanction with infringement and removal of the inactive parking of a vehicle on public land extended beyond a certain time limit (sometimes even for only 48h).

  1. On a private plot: You are fully entitled to park your RV on private land or in your garage if you are willing to seek prior authorization from the town hall. In addition, the municipality can add conditions such as not parking near neighbouring lots, hiding the vehicle with hedges, etc.
  1. In National Parks or Boondocking: Boondocking it’s about camping in total autonomy. Some people do it out of necessity; for example on a long trip, they will make overnight stops (called a “transit stop”) at Walmart or rest areas because the purpose of their trip is the destination. Others, on the other hand, do it out of a taste for adventure; they then settle where they stop, as they wish.

When boondocking, the smart thing to do is to choose an authorized place. Wild camping or boondocking is a rather easy leisure activity but they are not allowed everywhere, especially on the seaside, near tourist sites and on private property. Thus, if you do not go to a place dedicated to this kind of activity, do not hesitate to do some research beforehand so as not to risk receiving a fine or being confronted with a muscular evacuation.

The bottom line

There are endless advantages of camping in an RV park: With so many amenities, they can be a break on the road so you don’t have to worry about where to get water, electricity or a Wi-Fi signal, especially if you have to work online during your trip. They are safe places to sleep and are usually in the company of several other vehicles, with which you can always rest calmly.

Since in many cases RV parks offer showers, they are a good solution for those who do not have a bathroom in their vehicle. RV parks are also usually well maintained and clean (although not always), and are generally easily accessible with any type of vehicle.

On the other hand, RV parks tend to be cramped and overcrowded. Sometimes the location is not at all striking and it is simply a small space to park, with few views that are worth much (especially in cities). In addition, it is not uncommon to find campsites with little maintenance and cleanliness. As we already mentioned, in many cases some amenities can be charged as extras, which considerably increases the price per night.

This is why, we hope, our alternative ideas for parking your RV will come in handy!

Please feel free to get in contact if you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on Are RV parks overcrowded?

What is the average size of an RV lot?

The average size of an RV lot is usually nine feet wide by 18 feet long (the full size of a truck).

Are RV lots a good investment?

RV lots are a good long term investment. That is, you have to have patience and do not invest your last resources in this land. In time, it will pay off!

What size RV can park anywhere?

12-inch length RVs can park almost anywhere in the United States. This is almost the ideal length of a motorhome. 

Where can I park an RV?

An RV is perfectly entitled to park in the parking spaces along the roadway. However, its size must allow it, it must not interfere with road traffic or pedestrians. However, due to its size, the motorhome cannot park everywhere.

Where to stop with a motorhome?

A motorhome can stop in town in a parking space and spend the night there. It does not matter whether the motorhome operators are on board or not, as long as they comply with the regulations.


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