Class C vs Class A RV
The R.R.V. Florinada was a Class C, 30 foot RV. It was put on top of a Ford F-450 truck base. It looked like, felt like, and drove like a truck. It was very loud, and very bumpy on the road. We haven't driven a Class A RV, but those should respond more like a luxury bus. I would expect them to be quieter and more luxurious. It also comes with a heftier price tag. A 30 foot Winnebago Vista starts at $147,000, compared to a Class C equivalent, the Winnebago Minnie Winnie starts at $110,000.
If we did this again, we would do one of the Class A rentals.
The campgrounds were all essentially equivalent: large parking lots. The State Parks had more privacy but fewer amenities. They were also setup to nickle and dime you. Paid the entrance fee? Great! Want to swim on the inflatables? $5 dollars an hour. Stay at a Luxury Resort, and that won't be the case. Given that the parking fees range from $50 - $100 a night, plus the cost of the RV itself - close to $10,000 per year depreciation without financing charges. Plus Gas at $100+ per fill up. Plus monthly storage for when not in use - $100 to $200 a month. It's really quite expensive. If you only used the RV 10 days out of the year - that's a $13,000 vacation. Not counting insurance nor maintenance. If you used it over 3 months - I come out to a cost of $321 a day for each of those 3 months of use. Not counting insurance nor maintenance. If one were to do this full time, it comes out to something like $125 a day. Not counting insurance nor maintenance.
For between $125 and $321, it's quite comparable to airfare/auto gas, a car rental, and staying at decent hotels.
Let me remind you again, that customer service was not a priority of the campground staff either. They are setup to nickle and dime you.
Length and Trailers
30 feet is a very good size. The space is cramped, but not unbearable. Each kid, and each adult had room inside to spread out and claim a space as their own. But, a giant 30 foot vehicle with 12-13 foot clearance is not meant for easy getting around. We found this out trying to park in downtown Louisville and going up, down, and turning around on Lookout Mountain. If I did this again, I would trailer a standard car behind the RV. Use the RV to jump from campground to campground, and the car to get around once we were there. This should be viewed in context of the cost of the campgrounds & RV and the concept that if you still have the car, why not just stay in nicer accommodations?
Before beginning the trip, I thought if I bought an RV, I would buy the trailer without the engine that they call a "Fifth Wheel". After seeing them in action though, I wouldn't do this. The cheaper cost of the RV is offset by having to buy a large truck to tow it. At that point you are just in a car trip again, and the great utility of having a bathroom your passengers can use en route is lost.
The kids had a blast. The campgrounds had many activities for them, and the novelty of cooking outside, having a fire, cooking smores, and sleeping above the cab of a truck in your own little hideaway is pretty sweet for the kids.
Overall, I'm happy with the experience even if there were some rough edges. I most certainly would not rule out doing it again, but I would do it differently if we did - with a Class A RV no longer than 30 feet and towing a car.
The Ship's Surgeon would do it with a pop-up tent and do it at a normal camp site.