Ten Year Rule

 Posted by at 12:11 am  Nick's Blog
May 282011

After reading my blog The View Is The Same, from a couple of days ago, a reader sent me an e-mail expressing her concerns that she might be turned away from a lot of campgrounds that have a rule banning any RVs older than ten years.

This is a topic that comes up from time to time, and to hear the RV salesmen tell it, unless you buy a brand new (or slightly used, if that’s what they’re peddling) RV, you will find yourself wandering aimlessly, an outcast turned away at every RV park in the country, unloved and unwelcome.

Yeah, it sure sounds grim for those who can’t afford, or chose not to, invest the money into a new RV, doesn’t it? I mean, a Flying J truck stop or Wal-Mart parking lot is okay for an overnight stay now and then, but who wants to live there?

Well, the good news is that while there are some RV parks that have, and enforce, a ten year rule, there are many, many, many more who will welcome the owners of older RVs with open arms. We fulltimed in a homebuilt 1976 MCI bus conversion for over eight years, and stayed in all kinds of RV parks, from upscale “resorts” to small Mom and Pop places, in every corner of this country. In all that time, we were never turned away when we pulled into a campground.

That included campgrounds that did have a ten year rule. At those places, we called ahead and told them what we drove, we were polite, and always said we understood if they did not feel comfortable with a bus as old as ours. In every instance, we were invited to come by, and when we arrived, they glanced out the window at our bus, and said no problem. Our bus was old, but it looked good, which helped. And I believe if we would have just shown up unannounced, or acted hostile or defensive, the reception would have been different. It’s that old thing about catching more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Now, while I said we were never turned away at any RV park we went to in our old bus, I am sure that there were some resorts that would not have allowed us in. The flip side of the coin is that we probably would not have wanted to go to any of those places, or felt comfortable in them anyway. We’re not into snobbery, and from what I’ve seen of the resorts that cater to the elite, we’d feel like outsiders. Give me a friendly campground where I can sit out under my awning, and the folks walking their dogs stop to say hi.

So, as I told the lady who wrote me about the ten year rule, yes, it does exist. And no, it’s nothing to be worried about. I promise that you’ll find a place to park wherever you travel in your RV, and if you wind up in an RV site next to us, be sure to say hello. Better yet, drag your lawn chair over, and we’ll visit as we watch the world drive by.

Bad Nick doesn’t care where we stay, as long as I let him near the keyboard once in a while. Yesterday he took over, and posted a new Bad Nick Blog titled Setting A Bad Precedent. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the snake, and the snake didn’t have a leg to stand on.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  25 Responses to “Ten Year Rule”

  1. How do they know? I mean, our motor home is 16 years old, but looks pretty close to the ones the same manufacturer is making today, except no slides. So far, we’ve never been turned away. We plan to keep this one. It runs well, we know every nook, cranny, and moving part. There are some beautiful MHs out there with a lot of spiffy decorative extras now, but we’ve never seen one that’s made us want to buy up. I’ll let you know, though, if we ever get turned away. Happy travels!

  2. Nick, You often mention the options in your blog …. National Parks, COE, State Parks, County Parks, Townships Parks, City Parks, Fair Grounds, … any publicly owned parks I forgot? I don’t think you could stay in all of them in one lifetime 😉

  3. Vehicle age is just one filtering device that some folks think helps them keep their facility a little “focused” on “their kind of people”. Frankly, there are parks that don’t allow anything but motorhomes, No HDTs, and others that don’t mention anything about limits in the rules until one shows up in their registration area.

    This is not really any different than towns that decree no RV parking in public lots, like WalMarts or on the streets. The attitude is the same and exclusionary and exists to some degree all over the place. One will occasionally stumble across such ill-managed bigotry but there are always alternatives… just don’t waste your time trying to “win!”

  4. The park we are in here in Carson City was listed as having a 10 year rule. When I talked to them on the phone (as our MH is just 10 years old) they admitted the owner had changed it to a 15 year rule. Most 10-year rule parks will allow exceptions “at the discretion of management.”

  5. Nick, I loved your quote for the day, but you do realize “It wasn’t the apple in the tree, it was the pair on the ground.”

  6. One park we stayed at had a 10 yr rule. Turned out it was the local politicos. They were afraid of a “trailer park” in their area. So the township only allowed the RV park if it had the 10 yr rule and a time limit for staying at the park. In other words no one could “live” at the park. The park staff & management did not check age or really time sent there. As long as your rig was presentable you were allowed in. So it’s not always the CG trying to be upscale and picky sometimes it’s the locals who are afraid of us, “trailer trash.”

  7. I think that as long as your rig is not covered in mildew and held together with duct tape, there are very few parks that will turn you away. Now “RV Resorts” may be a different story, but we generally avoid them, anyway. We traveled for the last 3 years in a 1993 Foretravel that had people scratching their heads about what exactly it was. They were amazed at it’s age. We have recently “upgraded” to a ’95 Foretravel that had a full body paint done in 2008. If anyone asks, we say that it is an ’08 and no one knows the difference. I think the other commenters are correct when they say that the “10 year rule” is usually the local politicos trying to legislate good taste.

  8. I think the real issue is how the RV looks and is maintained rather than the specific number of years. We expect RV parks to maintain their facilities and keep them nice looking and in good working order so it shouldn’t be too much to expect that people keep their RVs maintained and cleaned up. Most people paying to stay at a park don’t really want to park next to a broken down vehicle held together with duct tape, mildew, and cardboard in the windows. I’ve seen lots of well maintained, clean, shiny rigs that might have been 15 or 20 years old but their owners “cared” for them.

  9. Good post Nick. I’ve known about the 10 year rule for some time and often was concerned with our 1999 National even though we weren’t full timing. I know, I’m an alarmist. I will say that I understand the intent (for most of them i assume it’s there intent) of the rule; however, I’m glad to see that even those will allow some management discretion. I’ve seen some pretty new ones that I’d have rather they had found another site……and that wasn’t b/c of the RV age! Maybe there should be a ‘no snobbish RVers’ rule?

  10. Agree with all….. 13th year full-time in our ’92 Safari, never an issue. Plenty of elboe grease helps, I’m sure.
    Did read about a poor guy who was refusd admission to a “class A only” park when he tried to enter with his class C Featherlite!!?

  11. Nick, we just finished working 3 rallies near Elkhart & heard more times than can remember:” We will put 10,000/ 20,000 or more in the RV to upgrade it because 150,000 (or more) is too much difference to trade.” Seems this never ending recession will produce many 10 year plus rigs out here. I believe most have that rule with no intention of enforcing it unless the rig is too unsightly.

  12. I am in the market for a Class A motor home and went looking at some RV slaes lots here in Arizona. I went to Mesa RV and I told them I was looking for a class A and had only so much to spend. He told me he had only newer versions and I told him I found a very nice 1992 Monoco this mornign for the amount I was willing to spend andf he said good luck gettign into any National Parks because they do not allow RV’s older than 10 years. I think he was very uinethical because he then tried to sell me on one that was 9 years old.

    Is it true that I can not get into any National Parks with an RV older than 10 years?

  13. My brother baught my moms motor home Cruise Air 11 and still looks real good. My brother called a RV park they told him no RV park would take a RV older then 1999. Can you tell me where in Arizona phoenix or some where around phoenix that has a RV park that takes one older then 1999. Thank you

  14. Barbara, our Winnebago is 12 years old and we’ve never had a problem. Go to East Mesa and Apache Junction on the east side of the Phoenix metro area. There are RV parks everywhere there that will make your brother feel welcome. This last winter we spent several weeks at Santa Fe RV Park on Ironwood Drive in Apache Junction. It’s very nice. Address is1800 N Ironwood Drive and phone is (480) 983-3299. Tell them I sent you.

  15. all of the camp grounds in columbia, south carolina will not let in old campers, my husband has a job there, and we don’t have any where to go for long term stay, my old camper is better than all of the new ones

  16. Does anyone know of any rv parks in the orange County California area that take older rvs? I am purchasing a vintage 1972 aristocrat.

  17. I have a 1966 travel trailer and need to find a park I can stay in until I can get the new shop open and find a house. Could be 3-6 months. It needs to be in or very near Buckey Az. How do I find a place?


  18. We have a 1980 JAYCO Jaymini Class C that has with stood the test of times ,it has been maintained pretty much all its life ,were continuing to do the same ,looks and bettr than most newer Class C ,It has aluminum body which is nice (,not fiberglass like most and the fiber usually delaminates )had a job offer up in Flagstaff called a few parks and didnt give me the time of day,may have to drive to them so they can visualize , maybe outside of flagstaff , Williams, Winslow,dont know, may have to boondock any suggestions?

  19. comment,,,question Where in downtown Los Angles will the accept a clean 1984 RV 25′ good condition everything works

  20. I have a 1988 fleetwood bounder. Its not in horrible shape but I do live in it and im in California. Sadly I cant find any park or anywhere to take me. Im on ssi disability but I take good care of my rig and car. Any suggestions??! Im near San Francisco and all say no. Plz help!

  21. I am sorry but in some areas.. YES you do have to worry about it. I am in the North Bay area of San Francisco. I am in a Vintage 1964 Trotwood, lovingly restored.. and have come across MANY RV parks that will not allow any rig older than 10 years. INCLUDING Vintage and the ones that do, it is not for long term.

    Now my rig is payed for. But someone who spent $100K+ on a rig, use it maybe a month out of a year.. then told they cant park it anywhere before it is even paid for, is ludicrous. What if a Hotel turned you down because your Suitcases were not brand new. or a parking garage would not let you park there because your car is older than they like? it is discrimination… If you can afford the rate, you should be allowed to stay.. Period.

  22. Jennifer, If you are on the NORTH Bay.. you can stay at some of the Fairgrounds, And I can recommend Alexander Valley RV Park in Healdsburg.. give them a call.

  23. How much remodeling would one have to do to an older 5th wheel before the year would no longer be relevant? If it is essentially gutted and everything redone would it not be “new”? How does one rebuild and retitle?

  24. Help. Discouraged! Committed to help my son/wife with newborn grandson Nov-Mar in Oxnard CA. But can’t find an RV park that will let me as I have a 2006 RV?!? It’s in great shape but they don’t care. It’s a Class C & 26 ft. I don’t know what to do?!?

  25. We also have a 86 Alumina w/solar panels and I’m finding no place is welcoming us!! Can somebody please let us know where in west phx-avondale-buckey …we can be
    Accepted (

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