10 Year Rule: Why Old RVs May Not Be Welcome at RV Parks

Some older RVs motorhomes or campers may not be welcome at some RV parks because of the 10 year rule. Your RV may be denied entrance or even a reservation because its’ age. Does your motorhome, older fifth wheel, travel trailer or other RV fit in this criteria? 

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RV Park 10 Year Rule
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Guess what? It’s perfectly legal why private RV parks and high-end RV resorts can get away with denying older RVs to park on their properties. Let’s see out why!

Look, we all know that not everyone can afford a brand spankin’ new motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer. And frankly, not everyone wants a new RV.

Some may love the classic RVs while others may prefer an older RV that’s been meticulously taken care showing very little signs of wear. But unfortunately, some high end RV resorts and RV parks may not see it that way.

RV 10 year rule - Small Camper

I know that may sound kind of snooty but private RV park and campground owners have every right to serve whom they want as long as they are within the perimeters of the tenancy laws.

Realize that these RV Parks and Resorts aren’t discriminating against religion, nationality, race, color, marital status, age, family size, handicap or gender; just your RV’s age and/or appearance. 

They just would rather not have Cousin Eddie’s or Breaking Bad mobile meth lab bringing down the neighborhood. But it’s more than just for looks. It’s about keeping their RV park and other fellow campers safe.

Old Tin Can Trailer Camper

The 10 year rule is just a legal way to keep the riff-raff or undesirables out. I agree, that sounds totally judgmental, but perhaps this will shed some light on why.


NOTE: The 10 year rule does not apply to government-funded campgrounds like National Parks or State Park Campgrounds, Army Corps. of Engineers Campgrounds or BLM or public lands. 

Older RV - Travel Trailer

10 Year Rule: Why Old RVs May Not Be Welcome at RV Parks

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RVIA Sticker

RV’s that are not RVIA Certified

Unfortunately some RV’s such as buses, skoolies, hybrids, and self-manufactured RV’s may also fall within the parameters of the 10 year rule.

RV parks and resorts may specify in their site rental policy that RVs and campers must display the RVIA Certification decal which proves that the RV complies with the RV standards adopted by the RV Industry Association (RVIA). It’s a legal way of regulating what kind of RV is welcome.

Physical Appearance

No one wants to park next to an eyesore jalopy with crap piled all around with God knows what crawling in, on or around it. RV parks are supposed to be a temporary home for you to relax and enjoy the outdoors. Especially higher-end RV Parks don’t want their place to look like a junkyard. And if that means enforcing strict standards of cleanliness and appearance, so be it.

Old Travel Trailer Camper

Aging RV Systems, Components and Utilities

Older RVs obviously will have aging utilities, components and systems which are prone to needing repair or replacement. The last thing RV park owners want is older RVs black or gray tank leaking onto their property. Or, they’d prefer not having an RV’s old electric system blowing their pedestals thus becoming a fire hazard.

When an older RV hasn’t been taken care of properly, it becomes a liability that may involve the EPA or break fire codes. These top two reasons are precisely why we strongly encourage RV owners to keep up with regular RV maintenance and utmost care of their RV’s exterior.

Criminal Activity

RV parks and resort owners are implementing criminal background and credit checks on their long(er) term RV park tenants and even month-to-month residents. And that’s a good thing (I guess) because camping is supposed to be fun and safe.

No one should be worrying about who’s next door, what they’re cooking or dealing. Many criminals hide from the law by staying transit and living in old campers. So I guess this is one way for RV park owners to have a bit of legal control on who accesses their property.

Old Abandoned Camper

RV Disposal Cost

It costs Campgrounds and RV parks about  $15,000 to remove and dispose of an old RV or camper that’s been abandoned or rental term is in arrears. Unfortunately, that cost of course, is passed down to customers by raising their rates.

Other RV park restrictions besides the 10 year rule

RV parks can implement other restrictions not just on the age of RV. They are perfectly within their right to limit or ban non-RVIA certified RVs listed above.

But also, RV park owners can stipulate not allowing certain dog breeds, Class A Motorhome only, RV manufacturer specific (ie. Airstream only parks) or senior adult ( 55+ only).

However, through cordial communication, you may be able to convince these RV parks why it would be beneficial for them to invite you in.

RV 10 year rule - Hybrid

Helpful Tips

There’s a few ways you may persuade the RV park or RV resort manager to allow you to park your RV.

1) Email a current photo of your RV – Sometimes, all it takes is a little friendly correspondence. My advice is try contacting them first. If they specify the 10 year rule, ask them if you can email them a photo of your pristine-looking or classic RV.

Be truthful about your RV’s condition. And, assure them that you are willing to pay for any damage your RV may cause. Perhaps forward a copy of your current registration and RV insurance.

2) Send them links to your social media channels – This will give RV park managers and owners, not only a good view of your older RV but also your personal resume.

You may even go for promising them a free campground review on your channel(s) and other online review venues (ie. Campendium, Campground and RV Park Reviews, etc.)

3) Just show up with fingers crossed – If you want to take your chances, just show up with your 10+ year old RV and let the RV park management see for themselves. They may just throw the 10 year rule out the window when they see your gleaming old relic Airstream or Beaver bus!

However, if you can’t seem to convince the RV park or RV resort management that your RV is worthy, simply put your RV in drive and move on down the road.

There are plenty of other RV parks  or campgrounds that will be more welcoming. Our favorites are Military FamCamps, Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, Elks Lodges, Moose Lodges as well as other clubs and fraternities. All of which may require memberships, specified requirements or criteria.

Airstream at Harvest Host

And don’t forget, there are no RV age requirements (within reason) to park your motorhome, fifth wheel and towable camper at:

      • State Parks
      • National Parks
      • Corps of Engineers Parks
      • Military FamCamps
      • and tons of private and public campgrounds

So, what are your thoughts on the RV park 10 year rule? Have you become a victim to it yourself? Have you experienced being parked next to Cousin Eddie? We’d love to read what you have to say and your experiences.

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Old Truck Camper

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One Reply to “10 Year Rule: Why Old RVs May Not Be Welcome at RV Parks”

  1. A very welcome summary, thank you. We generally stay at state, federal, and COE parks because they support the activities (biking, hiking, kayaking, fishing, etc.) that we enjoy, so the 10-year rule has not been an issue. Scary trailers? We’ve stayed in a few small-town RV parks that have a large proportion of long-term campers. These often look like neighborhoods filled with Cousin Eddies. Runner up, a small cargo-trailer conversion that we camped near for a couple of days. I had a chance to visit with the owner one day. He had plumbed and wired it with a breaker box and all. It worked, but really struck me as a fire waiting to happen.

    On a different point, I seem to remember a post you did some time ago about “branding,” but cannot find to re-read. Is it still online?

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