Do You Need a Special License to Drive an RV?

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When you see a large luxury RV driving down the road, it’s natural to wonder, ‘do you need a special license to drive an RV?’ With modern motorhomes being comparable in size to semi-trucks, it’s a legitimate question to ask. 

For most RVs, you’ll only need a valid driver’s license to rent an RV and drive it legally, but some states or RV types will require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or another type of special license. 

Whether you’re looking to rent a class A motorhome with Good Sam RV Rentals or you’re shopping for a sizable RV yourself, here’s what you need to know about driving and maneuvering recreational vehicles.

What Are The Different Types of RVs?

If you’re new here, let’s begin with an overview of the various RV types and classes:  

Motorized RVs

  • Class A RVs: The largest motorhomes, sometimes stretching up to 40 feet long. 
  • Class B RVs: The most compact motorhomes and the best options for van life.
  • Class C RVs: The “Goldilocks” of motorhomes. Most are easier to drive than class A RVs while offering more amenities and room than class B RVs.

Towable Campers

Towable campers include travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, and pop-up campers. Truck campers are kind of in their own category, but they still rely on you having a truck that can handle the camper’s weight. 

Because these types of campers require a truck or SUV rated to tow them safely, you’ll generally only need a class C driver’s license to tow them. However, some states do require additional licensing for driving larger towables over a certain weight. 

What is a Special License?

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Photo by Camping World

Driver’s licenses can be broken into commercial and non-commercial categories. Most of us received a non-commercial class C license when we completed our driver’s test unless we took the extra time to get a class M license for operating motorcycles. 

But there are commercial licenses (CDLs) that you may need to drive an RV legally in your state.

Commercial License Types

  • Class A CDL: For combined commercial vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) exceeding 26,001 pounds, so long as the towed vehicle weighs more than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class B CDL: For single commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) exceeding 26,001 pounds or towing a commercial vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds.
  • Class C CDL: Different from a non-CDL class C, this license is required for single vehicles with a GVWR of fewer than 26,001 pounds, a towed vehicle weighing less than 10,000 pounds, or a vehicle transporting 16 or more passengers.

Certain states may use different letters for licenses that have similar requirements. Your state DMV’s website is your best resource for licensing requirements in your area. 

Which States Require a Commercial License to Drive an RV?

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It’s important to recognize that while some RVs meet these weight criteria, RV stands for “recreational vehicle” – not “commercial vehicle.” If your RV weighs less than 26,000 pounds, you won’t need a CDL in any state. 

If it weighs more than 26,000 pounds, here’s a breakdown of the state CDL requirements that apply to very few RV owners and renters.   

State License Requirement
Arkansas CDL for driving or towing vehicles over 26,000 pounds
Connecticut Class B CDL for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds 

Class A CDL for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

Hawaii Class B CDL for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds. 

Class A CDL for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

Kansas Class B CDL for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds. 

Class A CDL for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

New Mexico Class B CDL for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds. 

Class A CDL for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

Washington, D.C. Class B CDL for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds. 

Class A CDL for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

Wisconsin CDL for vehicles over 45 feet in length

Which States Require a Special Non-Commercial License to Drive an RV?

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Even if you don’t need a CDL in your home state, you may still need a special license to operate an RV or a towable camper. If your RV weighs less than 26,000 or you’re towing less than 10,000 pounds, you probably don’t need a special non-commercial license. 

If your recreational vehicle doesn’t meet those criteria, here’s a list of additional requirements in certain states. 

State Licensing Requirement
California Class B license for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds or 40 feet

Class A for towing more than 10,000 pounds

Maryland Class B for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds
Michigan RR recreational endorsement for towing a fifth wheel plus a trailer
North Carolina Class B for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds

Class A for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

Nevada Class B for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds

Class A for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

J endorsement for towing more than 10,000 pounds if GCWR is less than 26,000 pounds

New York Recreational vehicle or R endorsement for vehicles over 26,000 pounds
Pennsylvania Class B for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds

Class A for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

South Carolina Class E for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds

Class F for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

Texas Class B for single vehicles over 26,000 pounds

Class A for multiple vehicles with GCWR over 26,000 pounds

Wyoming Class B for vehicles over 26,000 pounds and towing less than 10,000 pounds

Class A for vehicles over 26,000 pounds and towing more than 10,000 pounds

Which States Don’t Require a Special License to Drive an RV?

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Photo by Camping World

It’s essentially all the rest! But if you want to ensure you’re in the clear, here’s the list of states where no commercial license is needed to operate any recreational vehicle: 

Alabama Indiana Montana South Dakota
Alaska Iowa Nebraska Tennessee
Arizona Kentucky New Hampshire Utah
Colorado Louisiana New Jersey Vermont
Delaware Maine North Dakota Virginia
Florida Massachusetts Ohio Washington
Georgia Minnesota Oklahoma West Virginia
Idaho Mississippi Oregon
Illinois Missouri Rhode Island

How to Avoid Getting a Special License to Drive an RV

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Whether you’re interested in renting or speaking with a Camping World Personal Shopper about buying an RV, there’s one simple solution to avoid needing a special driver’s license: go with a smaller type of RV. Camper vans, compact class C RVs, and small towable campers are the best options if you have less experience driving a larger vehicle or towing a trailer. 

Here are a few more resources to help you learn about driving and maneuvering RVs into campsites: 


Once again, check with your local DMV to ensure you meet all licensing requirements for driving an RV. And get familiar with these RV rules, regulations, and road restrictions to prepare for your next road trip. 

Did you have to get a special license to drive an RV in your state? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Tucker Ballister is a Technical Content Writer for Camping World and a lover of the open road. You can check out more of his adventures and outdoor advice at thebackpackguide.com.

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