RV Parking Laws: California Parking Permits You Need to Know

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RVing has gone beyond adventurous retirees.

Lots of millennials are traveling looking for versatile travel experiences.

Some RVers know all the RV parking laws, while some hit the highway without knowing the rules, Take a minute to understand the RV parking laws in California.

It’s unlawful to park your recreational vehicle (RV) on any park or public street unless the chief of police or his designee issues you RV parking permits and RV guest permits. You’re not permitted to park avenue or public way in California between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Living the recreational vehicle (RV) lifestyle is a huge responsibility, but knowing the RV parking laws in California can make you a responsible RV owner and operator.

Various regulations strictly applied to RVers Apart from the initial financial investment.

Knowing and understanding California traffic laws, rules of local storage facilities, and community parking ordinances are all part of living life.

California-specific traffic and road laws

Members of the RV community are found within California and even around several states. 

As a result, the rules that apply to RVers in some states might not apply to owners In California.

There are newly introduced ordinances, rule changes, and revisions that are bound to occur at any time which complicates the whole issue.

If you are traveling, it’s nearly impossible to know each state’s law. There are some general rules and standards to keep in mind that are the same in all-state:

  • California maintains a height limit of 14’ for all RVs, but restrictions of 13’6” are quite common in other states.
  • The length of your trailer is likely limited to 40’ to 45’. Those Motorhomes which have separate trailers are limited to a total length of 50’ to 65’.
  • California law requires the presence of a breakaway switch and a safety chain for securing your RV. Trailers more than 3,000 lbs need additional brakes
  • California and other states like Massachusetts and Maryland do not allow the transportation of LP gas to some points, especially within tunneled highways. You’ll look for other states as an alternate route if your RV uses LP for any appliances.
  • California doesn’t allow long-term RV parking on the street in front of any house.

Note: RV Parking laws are in place to ensure you enjoy your trip and for your safety, your passengers, and the other drivers on the nation’s roadway.

Failure to abide by these laws could result in fines or, in repeated cases of serious violations, it could result in loss of driving privileges.

Storage laws and local parking (RV Parking Laws)

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The rules are never enough, so there are local parking laws, ordinances, or restrictions that you have to operate in compliance with.

In other states, there might be a bit different local laws, so try to understand the local rules of any neighborhoods you intend to visit.

California does allow overnight recreational vehicle parking on some streets, but other cities don’t allow this practice.

These state-design rest areas feature parking that is especially for  RVers, but the availability of the space is often limited.

Long-term recreational vehicle storage is also a finicky subject. California allows the storage of private RVs on your property; some homeowners or community associations have their own rules.

Some require a covering or even a permanent structure to house your recreational vehicle during its downtime.

Parking a recreational vehicle in a restricted area or not abiding by their rules and regulations, might result in a hefty ticket.

California recreational vehicle Parking Guidelines

Storage: Motorhome or trailer, one mobile home, and camper may be stored on a property if it’s parked on an impervious surface, and provided that no business is conducted, and no living quarters shall be maintained while a recreational vehicle is parked or stored.

Parking of any vehicle should be visible to the public, whether in the lawn or landscape area of any front or street side, unless on an impervious surface:

  • Impervious surfaces include grouted continuous brick, concrete, turf block asphalt, cobblestone, or any similar, dustless, and durable surface upon approval of the development director of the community.
  • The existing driveways on the impervious surface, shall not be more than forty percent of the entire front or street-side yard area. The area between the runners will be counted as part of the total surfacing area if the concrete runners are utilized.

RV parking permits

1). Chief of Police or his designee can issue recreational vehicle permits and RV guest permits and has the right to revoke such permits if there is any violation of the law because they have the authority.

2). Persons holding a valid recreational vehicle permit or guest permit issued by the authority may park the RV for which the permit was issued on the street in a residential area during the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m, provided the RV is parked along the curb line, for which the permit is valid and issued.

The recreational vehicle permit holder may park along the curb line of either of the streets on the block on which the residence is located, provided the residence is located on a corner.

3). A recreational vehicle permit or a guest permit does not give any vehicle to authority to park in a location or manner that is otherwise prohibited by the CA Vehicle Code.

4). A recreational vehicle permit or a guest permit does not guarantee available space for parking at any time.

Issuance of RV permit

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  1. A recreational vehicle permit cannot be issued by the chief of police or his designee if the following -findings are made:
  • When the applicant does not reside in the city;
  • If the resident does not authorize the use of such a vehicle;
  • If the recreational vehicle permit has been issued already to the resident;
  • If there are public safety related to parking of RV on the street on which the parking would be provided, including but not limited to a narrow street which can safely accommodate the recreational vehicle;
  • If the applicant provides false information.
  • A recreational vehicle permit cannot be issued by the chief of police or his designee for the out-of-town visitor if the following -findings are made:
  • The out-of-town is, not the registered owner of the RV or does not have the license to use such a vehicle;
  • If there are public safeties concerning the parking of the RV on the street on which the parking would be provided, but not limited to a narrow street that can safely accommodate the recreational vehicle;
  • The street which prohibits the parking of all vehicles;
  • If the applicant provides false information.
  • If the out-of-town visitor is not visiting the resident on the application;
  • The area listed on the application has already exceeded the number of days allowed for an RV permit for guests in the previous year

Violations of California RV Packing Laws

Violations of these laws shall be an infraction, and such an individual will be subject to towing, citation, or both. Parking citations are appealed under California Vehicle Code Section 40215 et seq.

Revocation of RV parking permit

The police or his designee will have the authority to revoke a recreational vehicle permit or guest permit in the following circumstances:

  • If there is a case to deny the permission in the first instance;
  • The RV has fallen into a state of disrepair or has become a public nuisance;
  • The RV has created a disturbance to the neighborhood in which it is used;
  • The RV has become inoperable;
  • If there is a two parking citation issued for the RV associated with the permit;
  • There has been evidence that the RV is being used as a mobile home.
  • The chief of police or his designee has to give notice of revocation in writing to the permittee postulating the date of the cancellation; the date should be at least two days after the date of service.
  • The permittee has every right to appeal the notice of revocation, except the appeal shall be to the city manager with no right of review to the city council.


Planning your recreational vehicle parking and storage ahead of time will make traveling in your recreational vehicle and your off-season much more enjoyable.

To save yourself from getting trapped on the other side of the law, spend some time studying these road and parking laws in your state or city.

Do this before embarking on any trip within the United States – with your RV – whether it’s Class A, Class B, or Class C.

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