Where Can You Drive Your RC Car? – The Complete Guide

RChobby Lab Profile Picture Ted Dulles
Reviewed by Kristen Ward
Updated on
Reviewed by Kristen Ward

Remote control cars and trucks bring hours of enjoyment for hobbyists young and old. As the popularity of RC vehicles grows, new enthusiasts continually join the ranks looking for help getting started.

One of the most common questions asked by new RC fans is “where can I drive my RC car?”

The answer to that question depends greatly on the type of vehicle you choose. Purpose-built racing buggies blast around tracks at incredible speeds, while towering monster trucks eagerly tackle backyard trails and obstacles. Small-scale models meant for indoor use would get stuck in grass or damaged on rough terrain.

In this complete guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about picking safe, designated areas for running your radio controlled machine, including:

Let’s dig in!

Matching Vehicles to Appropriate Surfaces

Remote control vehicles are designed with specific purposes in mind, whether blazing around oval tracks or traversing gravel pits and grass. While you can certainly run many RC cars outside their intended realm, doing so often negatively impacts handling or risks harming vulnerable components.

Always take vehicle design and surface material into careful consideration before choosing driving spots. High-traction red clay, for example, would quickly clog and wear down the precisely-tuned drivetrain of an on-road racing machine. Here’s a closer look at pairing common car types with ideal surfaces:

On-Road RC Cars

On-road cars live for the smooth, grippy tracks they’re named after. Mostly race-oriented 2WD and 4WD models, their low ride height, stiff suspension, and vulnerable gearboxes make them ill-suited for off-road terrain.

Ideal Surfaces:

  • Asphalt
  • Concrete
  • High-grip carpet
  • Smooth tile

Basically any hard, flat surface works well and prevents grit/debris intrusion. Avoid surfaces with big cracks/gaps which can stop them instantly.

Off-Road/Rally RC Cars

The extreme opposite of on-road platforms, off-road and rally cars handle just about anything with towering ground clearance, long suspension travel, and robust protection.

Ideal Surfaces:

  • Dirt
  • Gravel
  • Grass
  • Packed clay
  • Low carpet

Off-road trucks devour rocky, uneven terrain. Rally cars split time between tarmac and loose surfaces. Keep them away from deep ruts/objects they could bottom out on.

RC Rock Crawlers

Slow, ultra-realistic, and built for impossible ascents – that’s the rock crawler ethos. Giant, soft tires and articulating chassis provide insane traction just about anywhere for centimeter-by-centimeter climbs.

Ideal Surfaces:

  • Rocks
  • Dirt mounds
  • Fallen trees
  • Steep hills

Crawlers aren’t limited by surface so much as scale. Their low top speed and technical maneuvers require very specific terrain features to be fully enjoyed.

RC Monster Trucks

Bigger equals better for these RC beasts, built to leap and crash over anything in their path. While they can tackle most surfaces, their high-speed running style demands lots of room to move.

Ideal Surfaces:

  • Dirt
  • Long grass
  • Packed sand
  • Low scrub

Monsters love wide open spaces to hit maximum speed between obstacles. Places with big dirt jumps are positively prime real estate.

RC Short Course Trucks

Splitting the difference between stadium racing and bashing fun, short course trucks strike a nimble, versatile balance. Their truck tires and longer shocks handle off-road better than a typical race buggy.

Ideal Surfaces:

  • Dirt ovals
  • Medium grass
  • Clay tracks
  • Hardpack dirt

Transition smoothly from loose and slick to high bite tracks with a short course model. They’re limited only by lower ground clearance versus dedicated off-road platforms.

RC Car Locations – Where to Safely Bash and Race?

Picking locations to enjoy RC vehicles requires nearly as much consideration as choosing your car and surface. Tiny indoor models would get pulverized driving outside areas meant for 5th scale beasts.

Always make safety the number one priority when deciding where to meet for bashing or racing sessions by scoping these parameters:

Space – Is the area large enough to accommodate vehicle size and speed? Does it allow safe runoff room?

Access – Are you allowed to drive models in this location? Is it out of public thoroughfares?

Obstacles – Does the terrain match your RC’s capabilities? Are jumps and gaps appropriate?

Here are some prime spots to consider for racing and bashing when factors align:


For casual running and practice, backyards work splendidly. Their controlled nature prevents interfering with unassuming passersby while offering obstacles to hone skills. Just be mindful of property limits and potential annoyances.


Private access

Tunable terrain

Low speed operation


Property boundaries

Annoying pets/people

Limited space

Basketball/Tennis Courts

Enclosed courts keep RC vehicles safely away from pedestrians while paved surfaces mimic raceway grip. Watch for cracks between cement though, which can grab traction.


Controlled access

Smooth tarmac

Fenced perimeter


Limited run-off

Access hours

Grip dependent on weather

BMX/Skate Parks

Purpose built spots offer sweet jumps and technical sections that many RC models long to hit. Just be respectful of area users which may have priority, and mind vert ramp limits.


Obstacle variety

Multiple surface options

Runoff room


Right-of-way debates

Hard crashes

Questionable legality

Dirt Ovals

Nothing replicates full-throttle race action more than a banked dirt speedway. Their groomed oval shape is endlessly fun using both dedicated stadium trucks and upgraded off-road platforms.


Freedom to run

Smooth speed

Jumps and whoops


Limited sizes


Weather closures

Parking Lots

For casual running, parking lots provide miles of wide open pavement absent vehicles during off hours. Just mind gaps between slabs and pedestrians cutting through.


Unlimited run-off room

High speeds

Slick for drifting


Avoiding curbs

Debris hazards

Security concerns

In the right conditions, big vacant parking lots represent RC nirvana with endless layout potential using traffic cones. Search for a known hotspot or scout remote, industrial areas.

General RC Car Driving Etiquette

Common sense goes a long way to not only protecting your prized RC vehicle but keeping access open to appreciated bashing grounds.

No matter if running at full-tilt or crawling along, being considerate of surroundings prevents interference and complaints.

Here are handy etiquette tips for safely and courteously enjoying RC:

  • Scout terrain before unleashing new RC models to prevent getting stuck or damaging undersides
  • Stay in vehicle lanes in mixed-use areas and don’t obstruct other parties
  • Limit noise where it may disturb people or wildlife
  • Clean up debris that could harm wildlife or equipment
  • Keep line of sight to avoid losing control or visibility
  • Ask permission before assuming off-limit property is OK

While it’s tempting to push boundaries in the name of RC excitement, being thoughtful helps the hobby maintain its stellar reputation.

Pack out what you bring in, offer right-of-way to disciplines using intended-purpose venues, and promptly address concerns.

Final Thoughts

One of the best qualities of RC vehicles is the versatility they offer for customizing buggy setups and running surfaces.

With smart planning considering car design and location restrictions, it’s possible to safely bash just about anywhere your imagination takes you.

We hope these tips give you ideas of fresh spots to try while avoiding costly and embarrassing mistakes associated with improper RC operation.

Comment below if you have favorite surface and venue combinations not mentioned here or dares for us to test!

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Written By Ted Dulles

I'm Ted Dulles, an avid RC hobbyist extraordinaire! My passion for the world of remote-controlled (RC) models ignited in 2018. Just a year later, fueled by this passion, I took a bold step and opened my own RC shop in California. I have a deep fascination with all kinds of RC models – be it cars, planes, or boats. I'm always eager to take on new challenges and absolutely love the thrill and excitement that come with this hobby.

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