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How to RV State Parks on Limited Hookups: Maximizing Your Water, Power, and Sewer Systems

Hey there, fellow RV enthusiasts! It’s Darlene and Barry here, and today we’re diving into one of our favorite topics: how to RV state parks like a pro, even with limited hookups. 

As full-time RVers, we’ve learned a thing or two about maximizing our water, power, and sewer systems while camping in some of the most beautiful state parks across the country. It’s not always easy, especially with a larger rig, but with a little creativity and the right strategies, you can enjoy all the benefits of state park camping without sacrificing your comfort or your sanity. So, grab a drink, settle in, and let’s explore the ins and outs of RVing in state parks with limited hookups!

State Park Camping: The Pros and Cons

RV Lost Dutchman State ParkState park camping offers a unique and rewarding experience for RVers, with stunning scenery, spacious sites, and plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. In our experience, state parks are often less crowded and more affordable than private campgrounds, with rates ranging from $15 to $30 per night. However, the trade-off is that most state parks offer limited hookups, which means you’ll need to be proactive in managing your water, power, and waste systems. In fact, a large part of this article is about how to manage your water, energy and sewer systems on limited hookups.

One of the biggest advantages of state park camping is the natural beauty that surrounds you. We’ve stayed at several state parks across the country and have always been impressed by the well-maintained trails, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife. Many state parks also offer educational programs and activities for all ages, making them a great choice for families. However, it’s important to note that state parks can get busy during peak seasons and holidays, so be sure to book your site well in advance.

Water Management Tips for Extended State Park Stays

Conserving water is key when RVing in state parks with limited hookups. One of the first things we noticed when staying at state parks is that our kitchen sink would fill up much faster than anything else, due to cooking and cleaning. To mitigate this, we recommend using paper plates and bowls whenever possible to cut down on dishwashing. When you do need to wash dishes, use a collapsible dish bin inside your sink to catch the water, and dispose of it properly.

Another water-saving tip is to use wet wipes and hand sanitizer for quick cleanups, instead of always relying on running water. When it comes to showering, consider using the park’s facilities if they are well-maintained, as this will help conserve your RV’s fresh water supply. If you do shower in your RV, use a low-flow showerhead and turn the water off while lathering up. By being mindful of your water usage, you can significantly extend your stay in a state park without needing to constantly refill your tanks.

🔹Collapsible Bin/ Wash Tub 

🔹Parchment Paper Sheets. 

Using a Water Bladder to Extend Your Fresh Water Supply

Rv Water bladderWhen RVing in state parks with limited hookups, a water bladder can be a game-changer. We use a 60-gallon Aquatank II water bladder, which allows us to easily transport water from the park’s fill station back to our RV. The bladder fits conveniently in the back of our truck and can be filled up as needed.

To use the water bladder, we first place it in the truck bed and fill it up at the park’s water station. Then, we use a 12V water pump to transfer the water from the bladder into our RV’s fresh water tank. It’s important to have a designated fresh water hose for this purpose, to avoid any contamination. By using a water bladder, we can significantly extend our stays in state parks without worrying about running out of fresh water.

🔹Water Splitter  

🔹Water Pump  

🔹 3/4″ Male GHT x 1/2″ NPT Female Connector, Brass Garden Hose Fitting  

🔹Water Bladder 

🔹Water Flow Meter. 

🔹Newport Trolling Motor Smart Battery Box Power Center Newport Trolling Motor Smart Battery Box Power Center

How to Maximize Your 30amp Power Supply While State Park Camping

Many state parks offer 30amp electric hookups, which can be a challenge if you have a 50amp RV. To make the most of your 30amp power supply, you’ll need to be strategic about which appliances and electronics you use simultaneously. We recommend investing in a 50amp to 30amp power adapter (often called a “dogbone”) to connect your RV to the park’s power pedestal.

When running on 30amps, prioritize your essential appliances, such as your refrigerator, water heater, and air conditioner (if needed). Avoid running multiple high-wattage appliances at the same time, such as your microwave, hair dryer, or space heater. If you have a solar setup, like our Victron system, you can use it to supplement your power needs and take some of the strain off your 30amp connection. By being mindful of your power usage and having the right gear, you can comfortably camp in state parks with 30amp service.

🔹Dogbone 30 to 50 power extension 

🔹Power Watchdog Surge Protector EMS–  

Waste Management Strategies for RVing in State Parks

RV Waste Tote Properly managing your waste is crucial when RVing in state parks with limited hookups. One of the most effective strategies we’ve found is to use a portable waste tank (also known as a “blue boy”) to transport waste from your RV to the park’s dump station. We use a 36-gallon Camco portable waste tank, which fits conveniently in the back of our truck.

To further extend our stays, we also recommend using a few water-saving techniques in your RV’s bathroom. These include:

  • Using doggie poo bags for toilet paper disposal
  • Placing a bucket in your shower to catch the water while it heats up, then using that water for flushing
  • Installing a low-flow showerhead to conserve water
  • Showering in the park shower house when the facilities are adequate

By implementing these waste management strategies, you can significantly extend your state park stays without needing to constantly pack up and move your RV to the dump station.

🔹Doggie Poo Bags. 

🔹RV Tank Waste Tote 

🔹Camco RV Tote Tank Gauge RV Tote Tank Gauge  

RV Budget TrackerFREE RV Budget Tracking Spreadsheet: A Tool to Help You Start Full-Time RV Living

Budgeting is a crucial aspect of full-time RV living, but it can be challenging to know where to start. To help you plan and track your expenses, we’ve created a FREE RV budget tracking spreadsheet that you can download here. This spreadsheet allows you to input your income and expenses, set monthly and yearly budgets, and monitor your spending. Using this tool, you can ensure that your finances remain on track as you navigate the full-time RV lifestyle.

Choosing the Right State Parks for Your RV Setup

Dead Horse Ranch State ParkWhen choosing a state park for your RV camping trip, it’s important to consider your specific setup and needs. As owners of a 44-foot toy hauler, we initially thought that state park camping might be out of reach for us due to length restrictions. However, we’ve learned that this isn’t always the case. Many state parks offer longer spots that can accommodate larger rigs, but you may need to do some research to find them.

When searching for suitable campsites, we look for spots that are at least 35 feet long and have open space behind them. This allows us to position our RV so that the back jacks hang off the end of the pad, giving us a little extra room. It’s important to note that not all state parks will have sites like this, so it’s crucial to check the park’s website, use Google Earth, or call ahead to inquire about site lengths and any specific restrictions.

In addition to site length, consider the park’s proximity to your desired activities and attractions. If you plan on doing a lot of hiking or fishing, look for parks with well-maintained trails and lakes. If you have kids, choose a park with family-friendly amenities like playgrounds and swimming areas. By doing your research and choosing the right state park for your needs, you can ensure a more enjoyable and stress-free camping experience, even with a larger rig.

Embracing the Beauty of State Parks: Why Limited Hookups Are Worth It

Despite the challenges of limited hookups, state park camping offers a unique and rewarding experience that we believe is well worth the effort. By immersing yourself in the natural beauty of these parks, you can escape the crowds and noise of private campgrounds and enjoy a more peaceful and authentic outdoor experience.

State parks also offer a wide range of activities and attractions that you won’t find at most private campgrounds, such as:

  • Scenic hiking and biking trails
  • Fishing and boating on pristine lakes and rivers
  • Wildlife watching and nature photography opportunities
  • Educational programs and ranger-led activities
  • Stargazing and campfire gatherings under the night sky


By embracing the beauty and adventure of state park camping, you can create lasting memories and deepen your appreciation for the great outdoors. And with the right strategies and gear for managing limited hookups, you can enjoy all the comforts of home while still experiencing the rugged charm of these natural wonderlands.

Wow, we’ve covered a lot of ground today! From the pros and cons of state park camping to the nitty-gritty of water bladders and waste management, I hope you’re feeling more confident and excited about tackling the challenges of limited hookups. Remember, it’s all about being proactive, resourceful, and embracing the adventure of RV living. With the right mindset and the right gear, you can turn any state park into your own personal oasis.

So, what are you waiting for? Start researching those state parks, stock up on your essential gear, and hit the road! Trust us, there’s nothing quite like waking up to the sound of birdsong and the smell of pine trees, knowing that you’re living life on your own terms. And if you ever need a little inspiration or advice along the way, just remember that we’re here for you. Subscribe to our channel, join our community, and let’s keep exploring this amazing world together. Until next time, happy camping, and always remember to live like there’s no tomorrow!


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