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You're thinking about buying a vintage RV, but you're not sure if RV parks will let you park there or if you'll have to park outside.

And those questions aren't unfounded; the newcomers to the world of RVs and those who are just enthusiastic about recreational vehicles often inquire about RV parts allowing older RVs, regardless of how well maintained they might be. Admittedly, purchasing and restoring a vintage vehicle is rewarding in itself, but will you be able to park, or will the park deny you access because your RV is too old.

Luckily, the vast majority of RV parks allow older RVs to park, and only a handful of them enforces something known as a "10-year rule," which, in most cases, only warrants the older vehicle's inspection that would determine that the vehicle is in good condition.

Though it may sound like some made-up rule that saves park staff some paperwork, there are parks that limit or straight out deny access to vehicles older than ten years, and though it may sound like prejudice, we assure you that the rule is justified. Read through the rest of the article to learn why, how, and when RV parks may close their door on you and do they allow older RVs in the first place.

To present you with this information, we cross-referenced knowledge and experience from several dozen RV owners, which allowed us to present you with objective information that would help you determine whether having an older RV is worth being denied access to RV parks.



Do RV Parks Allow Older RVs?

Besides coming with some vintage charm, older RVs are also affordable options for those entering the RV lifestyle while on a budget. However, almost everyone who ever considered buying a used rig has heard of a 10-year rule and the fact that some RV parks don't allow older RVs on their property. So, is there any truth to those claims?

Unfortunately, yes, some upscale commercial and private parks enforce something that's known as the "10-year" rule — implying that RVs older than ten years are too worn out and denied access to parking property. But before we dive into details regarding the said rule, it's worth mentioning the numbers.

Namely, approximately less than 5% of RV parks strictly enforce this rule. The majority of parks don't have a 10-year rule or do have one in place but are willing to make an exception if the RV is in pristine or fairly decent condition. It's also worth mentioning that some parks have rules against 15-year-old RVs.

RV parks are usually managed by reasonable RV enthusiasts who understand that not everyone's in a position to afford a brand-new RV, so apart from the few places that strictly enforce the 10-year rule, most places that have such a policy in place would still inspect an older rig before letting it park. If you plan on visiting a campground or a resort, make sure to inquire about the rule.

If the resort doesn't strictly enforce the rule but would still like to inspect your RV, they might ask for pictures and photos ahead of time. In most cases, inspections comprise of looking for defects such as dents, loose parts, broken windows, duct tape, and leaks. Window AC units are also a big no-no since they're usually not well installed and could compromise personal and communal safety.

The 10-Year Rule

As its name implies, this code states that RVs older than ten years (15 in some cases) are denied access to park property. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that all RVs and guests have a quality experience. As stated above, there are only a few parks that actually enforce this rule regardless of the condition of the RV itself.

This is somewhat of a problem, especially for vintage RV enthusiasts, who tend to keep their RVs in pristine condition, with everything working as per RV manufacturer's specifications — which clearly sets them apart from 20-something-year-old motorhome rolling wrecks. And, of course, many owners of restored and well-maintained RVs feel that this rule is a bit discriminatory.

Most campgrounds that enforce this rule don't do it to discriminate against the owners of well-maintained vintage vehicles. Instead, the 10-year rule is one of the easiest ways to keep rolling wrecks from becoming the resort's permanent residents. That's why most parks like to perform inspections before permitting older rigs onto park property.

The usual reasoning behind 10-year rules stems from the following:

  • Local Tenancy Laws — these govern when a property owner can evict someone for nonpayment. Depending on the location, these laws can occasionally be applied to RV parks and mobile home resorts, and campgrounds. The 10-year rule is usually applied in places that are more tenant-friendly and in which it can take months to legally evict a broken-down RV from a park.
    As stated above, older RVs have a higher chance of breaking down and becoming immovable fixtures, which is why business owners decided to implement the 10-year rule in the first place.
  • Intended Use — Just like brick-and-mortar neighborhoods may be managed by Homeowner's Association with bylaws stating everything from the color you can paint your home to the length of your laws, RV parks may have a particular aesthetic in mind.
    And there are certain parks that are intended for Airstreams, high-end motor coaches, or vintage RVs only. The age of the recreational vehicle may affect the atmosphere that a part owner tries to create.
    Some places impose limitations on modifications, such as van and bus conversions, school bus conversions, customs RVs, or RVs without RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) sticker. And lastly, there are some parks that require private membership.
  • Problems in the Past — Most rules are associated with justifications and backstories of how said rules came to be, and adopting a 10-year rule is no different. It's possible that the park owner had previously dealt with problems such as an older RV breaking down in their park, leaving oil stains on concrete padding, or having a malfunctioning plumbing system that made a nasty mess.
    Or perhaps a campground is attempting to filter out older RVs because they feel there are now too many of them there.
  • Supply and Demand — Due to the scarcity of RV parking space, a park may use the RV's age as a legal criterion for admission.

Don't Get Discouraged

You should consider the 10-year rule before buying a used RV, but that should discourage you from your purchase. If there are any particular places or campgrounds you want to visit, get in touch with them in advance to find out if they follow this rule. You'll probably be able to park an older vehicle as long as it's kept up correctly and has no visible damage.

Take several photos of your RV and keep them on your phone to speed up the procedure at campgrounds that might have this regulation. In this manner, you can quickly transmit pictures of your vehicle to the campsite if necessary. Additionally, you might want to try the following:

Find Alternatives in the Area — There is always a private parking option in an area in which you have to be, and some places even have free overnight parking. You can also find an option that's a bit further away and drive in to attend whatever you need to do.

Call the Park — Contact the park, especially if you believe your RV is cool, renovated, modernized, or otherwise in excellent condition for its age. Sometimes they don't actually enforce the regulation; they merely have it on the books in case something goes wrong. Additionally, the rule may not always be applicable to transients — those staying for just a few days.

Show Up — If the park doesn't ask your RV age during booking, there's no actual reason to disclose that information, and some people feel okay just turning up and taking a "Don't ask — don't tell" attitude to the whole thing.

Ultimately, most parks don't enforce the 10-year rule, but if you want to travel and frequent higher-end campgrounds and resorts, you might have to deal with this rule. Of course, this isn't a problem with a newer RV, but vintage owners might run into some issues with camp policies. In most cases, you'll be fine, as long as your RV doesn't have any apparent damage and isn't leaking fluids when it isn't supposed to.