When you’re living the spontaneous and easy-going RV lifestyle, you never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you need to take a break from driving. And you don’t want to shell out cash for a campsite every time you want to get some rest! Staying in locations that permit overnight parking can give you the time you need to reenergize, without draining your wallet. For help with locating free or affordable RV parking, check out these resources below!
Budget With Boondocking
Also known as dry camping or wild camping, boondocking is designed for those who are willing to rough it. You can park for free on areas of BLM land and USFS land, which is located extensively throughout the western part of the United States, and throughout some parts of the east. Call the office for the area you intend on staying at for information on directions, road conditions, and any necessary permits. Apps are also available to help you locate public land that allows for recreational camping, so you can park your RV in a beautifully scenic spot without paying a penny! And make sure to bring along insect repellent, such as these DIY Citronella Candles, since you'll most likely want to lounge outside and take in the peaceful views.
Parking Lots Are Penny Savers
There are plenty of other less-remote places that will permit you to park your RV, making it more convenient when traveling along major roadways. Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel, Camping World, and Sam's Club are all known for allowing RVers to stay in their parking lots overnight. Rest stops and truck stops such as Flying J are also other viable options. If overnight RV parking is not permitted, there will most likely be signs to let it be known, so keep an eye out for them. Other less obvious places include cemeteries, fair grounds, churches, nightclubs, movie theaters, and casinos. Call or ask a manager for permission whenever possible. If you don’t receive permission to park, you could be in jeopardy of receiving a parking violation. But if you are respectful, inconspicuous, and you keep your stay short, it’s not very likely to be a problem. If you plan to go this route, bring along some great board games for old-fashioned fun that doesn't require Wi-Fi or electricity!
Join a Cost-Cutting RV Club
This option won’t be free, but it could help to make parking your RV during travel more affordable. There are a variety of clubs to choose from so do your research to find one that fits your interests and travel tendencies. Good Sam Club offers discounts on applicable campgrounds, while Harvest Hosts offers RVers farms and wineries to park at overnight. Memberships to these clubs will cost you something, but they’ll also probably save you something down the road. Decide for yourself if this method is cost effective and worth it for you. If you're allowed to have a campfire while in one of these spots, make this delicious Campfire Meatloaf that will please your whole family! Follow it up with these Campfire Apple Treats for a satisfying (and somewhat healthy) dessert!
Tips For Locating Places To Park
- Call the non-emergency police number for the area you’re in and ask about places where overnight parking is permitted. They are available 24 hours a day and can verify legality so you can put your rig in park with the peace of mind knowing you won’t be getting ticketed for it.
- Use maps or a National Geographic atlas to locate BLM land or USFS land for boondocking.
- Ask fellow RVers for insights about the area and where to park your rig.
- Websites, such as Boondockers Welcome, can help you locate dry camping sites, while other fee-required sites can help you locate less-remote places along your route.
When it comes to locating free or affordable RV parking, just pay attention to surrounding signs, ask permission whenever possible, and be inconspicuous, even if you’re permitted. You don’t want to ruin a free parking place for future RVers! If you are respectful and don’t overstay your welcome, you should be able to experience the beauty of America through your RV windows with little trouble and with very little money spent! Do you have any other tips for locating free and affordable RV parking? Share your tips and secret spots in the comments!