Can you live in a trailer in California?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you live in a trailer in California? We will discuss whether it is legal to live in a trailer in California. We will also discuss the basics of travelling with an RV in California, including where to park. 

Can you live in a trailer in California?

Yes, you can live in a trailer in California, but depending on the city, it can be quite challenging to find parking for your trailer. Most HOAs do not allow stationing the vehicle in your backyard or driveway for more than two days. More similar rules apply in campsites also, which only allow you to park the RV for 10 or 11 consecutive months.

The other aspect to consider is that you cannot register your trailer as a permanent legal residency in California. Even if you make parking arrangements, you will still have to have an official address.  

Is it legal to live in a trailer with a child in California?

Yes, it is legal to live in a trailer with a child in California, and as long as the motorhome is a safe environment for the child, the CPS cannot take your children away. You must ensure your children’s wellbeing whilst living in the RV. This means taking care of the following:

  • That each child has a separate place of sleep;
  • Each child has a seatbelt;
  • The children have access to the toilet facilities and other essential amenities;
  • The children are either attending a local school or registered as being homeschooled;
  • You must ensure doctor visits and the safety of your children at all times. 

Can you live in a trailer park in California all year round?

No, in most situations, you cannot live in a trailer park in California all year round. Most RV parks only allow living 11 months/year. However, there is a way to live in an RV  park all year round. The simplest and most used method is changing the name of the contracts. 

Many people live the whole year in the same campsite changing the name of the rental contract of the plot every six months (or the maximum that the law allows), as long as they are registered in a house, which of course is only possible outside from the campsite.

The second option is to live on a private campsite.

Another option is offered by private campsites, where members can enjoy the facilities for the payment of an annual fee that includes taxes and general expenses. At the same time, electricity and gas are charged according to meter consumption by distributors.

The third option is to live in various campsites throughout the year.

Another option valued by those who have vehicles that allow them to move with all their possessions or who live permanently in a habitable recreational vehicle (home vehicle) or camper vehicle.

Can you go anywhere in a trailer in California?

No, you cannot go anywhere in a trailer in California. Most national parks, camping sites and even some residential streets have a ban on driving a motorhome or towing a car that is too long. For example, Sequoia National Park prohibits vehicles from over 24 feet. Another example, the pretty little town of Carmel-by-the-sea is hardly accessible to RV parking. The city does not want to let camper vans park in its streets. 

Can you sleep anywhere in a trailer in California?

No, you cannot sleep anywhere in a trailer in California. We stress this point because it is very important. Wild camping is prohibited and you risk a fine if a police officer catches you sleeping in your vehicle at an unauthorized location. This is why places are expensive and it is better to book in advance.

If you cannot find a location, some supermarkets accept motorhomes in their parking lot (Walmart). You still have to find a supermarket in the middle of a national park.

How do you find campsites for trailers in California?

To find RV campgrounds, do not hesitate to use certain dedicated platforms and government sites. Koa campsites can help you out and are often very well equipped. The excellent HipCamp lists private and public campsites in the United States in a very simple interface. Awesome!

What are the best RV campsites in California? 

Obviously, some campsites are much nicer than others. The size of the site and its exposure are essential criteria to make the most of your stay.

Here are the names of campsites where we loved staying:

  • Sequoia National Park: Lodgepole Campground-Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park // Azalea Campground
  • Yosemite National Park: Yosemite Lakes RV Resort
  • Los Angeles / Newport Beach: Crystal Cove SP Moro Campground
  • Ventura: KOA Santa Paula
  • Big Sur: Fernwood Resort

Pay attention to the location of the campsites, Americans have an unfortunate tendency to put campsites along the highway … If you want to sleep properly, check the campsites’ reviews on the internet!

Campsite to avoid: KOA Avila/Pismo Beach (campsite bordering the highway, infernal …).

How much does it cost to live in a trailer in California?

Here are a few things to help you budget.

Buying a vehicle:

• Class A: $ 100,000 to $ 500,000 and over

• Class B: $ 80,000 to $ 150,000

• Class C: $ 60,000 to $ 110,000

• Purchase of a fifth-wheel trailer: $ 50,000 to $ 150,000.

• Fuel consumption: 20 to 30 litres per 60 miles for most gasoline vehicles

•Mechanical inspection: approximately $ 600 per year ($ 1,000 for a diesel vehicle)

•Insurance: $ 600 to $ 1,500 per year.

Why live in a trailer in California?

Freedom is the word that best describes life in a trailer. Indeed, this is an unusual home capable of offering the same comfort as that in a classic house, no matter where you are located.

This house on wheels can be set up close to your house or further away as you wish, as it is easily transportable. Having your own trailer is a good idea because:

  • It serves as an affordable, but above all comfortable residence if you are a travel enthusiast.
  • It meets the expectations of nature lovers who want to get closer to it.
  • It is versatile, it can be installed on any free land, on condition, however, that authorization is obtained from the town hall.
  • This is an economical solution, as the occupant does not pay rent.
  • In the tourism sector, this unusual little house is a profitable investment, as it is not necessary to carry out structural work.
  • The savings on energy and heating bills are substantial. Indeed, a trailer can offer superior insulation and waterproofing quality.

In addition to the advantages in terms of aesthetics, this type of accommodation offers good thermal insulation and is environmentally friendly. Finally, it does not require a building permit because of the coating.

Has the idea of ​​having a corner of paradise near you convinced you? Do not hesitate to order your nomadic residence from a professional trailer builder.

He listens to your design expectations and performs quality work. Indeed, he uses carefully selected quality wood and has unparalleled know-how to work with wood and transform it according to the rules of the art.

Available to advise you on the best choice to make and with a variety of trailer models, the expert can carry out your project to perfection.

FAQ on Can you live in a trailer in California?

Is it legal to live in an RV with a child in California?

Yes, it is legal to live in an RV with a child in California, and as long as the motorhome is a safe environment for the child, the CPS cannot take your children away. You must ensure your children’s wellbeing whilst living in the RV

Can you buy land and live in an RV?

Yes, you can buy land and live in an RV, but the legality of this will depend on the state you reside in. Most places do not allow one to live in an RV parked in their backyard, for example. 

Is it legal to live in an RV full time?

It is both legal and illegal to live in an RV full time. It all will depend on where you keep your RV parked and if you managed to make it your full address. You must speak with the HOA or/and the local council and ask whether you need a permit for it. 

Can you claim an RV as a primary residence?

In most states, you can claim an RV as a primary residence for tax purposes. As long as your RV has a bathroom/toilet, kitchen, bedroom – it is considered a home. 

References