As the RV and van life community keeps growing and growing, it can be harder to find a free spot to stop at for the night. As we have shared before, more and more Walmarts are not allowing overnight RV parking. Well we reached out to the RV community and did some research and discovered 23 overnight spots that you probably haven’t heard of. None of them are Walmarts, Cracker Barrels, truck stops, rest areas or other well known places to park overnight.
Number 12 will surprise you! Watch the full video here!
If we work together as a community of RVers, van lifers, nomads, travelers and truck drivers, we can all have plenty of places to stay at for the night. Lets share the locations we have found and leave them better then when we arrived! We want to be known as the best patrons of these free parking locations.
We want to know if you have used any of these locations, plus what is the most creative or unusual place you were able to park overnight for free? Share those in the video comments! Most of these locations are for staying just one night in between regular camping spots, traveling across country or to scout out the next camp spot. Please don’t stay any longer unless it is an official camping spot or you have permission.
A lot of these RV parking locations will depend on the size of the parking area and the size of your RV, van or vehicle, local ordinances, and restrictions. These are stay at your own risk. We recommend asking if you don’t want that knock on the door in the middle of the night or worse a ticket or a boot on a tire. Other people will say, if you don’t ask, the answer won’t be no. WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THAT!
Plus free does not necessarily mean safe. So be careful of where you decide to park and stay safe! If the area looks sketchy, keep driving!
What app do we use for RV safe GPS directions? RV Life/RV trip Wizard. We love this app! I enter all of our camping reservation locations and dates on my laptop. Then I can easily pull them up on the app on my phone and get RV safe directions. In the early days of RVing, Google maps would send me down roads with low bridges. Not anymore! I entered the height of our RV into the app and now I don’t worry about the route I’m taking. Save 25% off RV Life/RV Trip Wizard with coupon code: ENJOY25
Looking for more free camping and regular camping options, check out The Dyrt Pro app! We have found all of our AWESOME free camping spots this season using The Dyrt pro app. The Dyrt Pro app also features over one million pictures, videos, and written reviews of campgrounds and all 3 layers of U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, & National Park Service areas for free camping. Get a 90-day free trial to check it out! Plus this is the app we used to find free parking location number 20 below.
For other free and low cost RV parking and camping options, check out these videos.
1 – 18 are overnight parking spots that we haven’t stayed at personally, but others in the RV community have reported on. 19 – 23 are the parking spots we have stayed at. Even though I have been RVing for 9 years now, there are so many places we have not tried yet. Here is a list of possible overnight RV parking spots:
- Small Airports, also known as Flamping or fly in camping. This might be more suitable for smaller RVs or tents. To find our more, check out the AOPA.
- Colleges and universities that have RV parking spaces! These are used for tailgating and prospective families scouting out the school. Some have free WIFI!
- Marinas are another possible option when the boats are not in storage.
- Shopping malls! This was a new one to me, but as Cheri and I drove through the Destin Florida area, we did notice an RV parking in a mall parking lot for several days. We just kept wondering, did they ask permission to do that or were they trying to do some stealth camping? Whenever I see an RV in a parking lot, I wonder if they are there for the night and did they ask permission.
- Hospitals, we’ve had several viewers say that this actually works. Makes sense for people visiting a patient.
- Convention centers and arenas. They have large parking lots with RV spots for vendors, concerts, etc.
- Churches. Many of you have had success with this. Once viewer said they actually do this exclusively as they travel through the country.
- Movie theaters are another possible option. We want to know who has actually done this?
- Hotels have large vehicle parking for trucks and guests, or it could be a field nearby for truck parking. You could try asking permission to park for the night.
- Racetracks or NASCAR have parking for RVs during races. Ask if you can park there in between the races.
- Public libraries are another possible option. Let us know if you’ve tried parking overnight in a public library.
- Police stations and fire departments! Really? I got recommendation to call or stop by a police station and to ask where you could park safely and legally overnight. And they also suggested that the police might let you stay in their parking lot right there! That certainly would be the safest place to park. We’ve had several viewers that have actually done this.
- Kmart apparently was the first place to offer overnight parking to RVers even before Walmart. Yes, there are still a few Kmarts open 21 or 33 based on my research.
- Sam’s Club. I know, Sam’s Clubs are owned by Walmart, but apparently some RVers have made Sam’s Club a quick overnight location.
- Costco, Sears and other big box retailers – Yes, there are still 33 Sears locations open! Let us know in the comments if you have used any of these.
- Bankrupt stores – Lots of big box stores like Kmart, Sears and others have gone out of business lately leaving a wide open parking lot. Not sure about this suggestion, security would definitely be a concern.
- On the flip side, warehouses or stores that are under construction or are still for rent. Those would have large, empty parking lots.
- Pharmacies like Walgreens & CVS.
- Food Lion and other grocery stores. I stayed at a Food Lion when I got the RV back from the factory for repairs. I asked management and they said no problem. This was in Summerville South Carolina. So don’t overlook grocery stores with large parking lots.
- Fairgrounds and city parks, some even have hook ups. We just stayed at the Jaycee West Park in Glendive Montana on the way back to Minnesota. We found this on the Dyrt Pro app as well, for $0 per night! This was a beautiful park, quiet, lots of grass and huge oak trees and we were the only ones there for the night.
- Planet Fitness (Planet Docking) or other fitness clubs. Cheri’ and I used to be members of Planet Fitness and have stayed overnight there before. You can check out our experience at Planet Fitness by watching our 30 Day Challenge video series.
- Lowes, Home Depot and other hardware stores. We stayed in a Lowes parking lot several years ago. So large hardware stores are another possible location for a quick overnight RV spot.
- Bass Pro Shops, Cabellas, Dicks and other big sporting goods stores. You can also find these locations on the All Stays app! Cheri and I stayed at a Cabela’s in Minnesota for the night in our previous RV.
That’s all 23 secret or unusual potential overnight RV parking spots. If you have used some of these locations, let us know in the video comments. If you have other quick overnight RV parking spots to recommend, let us know in the video comments as well!
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