Overnight RV parking is a necessity for RVers because long road trips need breaking up — especially when you are towing a camper behind you. However, the rates for overnight stays at RV parks can sometimes be outlandish. The average cost for a private campground in the U.S. is $38.50 per night, all for a slab of concrete and a few hookups.
Private campground rates sting even more when all you need is a place to park your rig and sleep for a few hours. For this reason, many RVers opt to find free overnight RV parking when they need rest during a long road trip. There are safe places to park your RV for free all over the country. Knowing where you can park your RV for free is a vital skill that no road warrior should be without.
Where can I find free overnight RV parking near me?
Here are three tools for finding places to park your RV for free:
- Allstays app — No RVer should be without this app that will show you all the places — free and otherwise — where you can park your RV overnight. Simply set the app filter to free parking, and you’ll find free overnight RV parking near your location
- Freecampsites.net — A great resource to find free overnight RV parking near you
- Campendium — An exhaustive list of all types of campgrounds and free RV parking
Park your RV overnight for free at Wal-Mart, Cabelas, and Bass Pro Shops
The old standby for free overnight RV parking is the Wal-Mart parking lot. While this can work in a pinch, it’s usually noisy and brightly lit through the night. If you go this route, be sure to double-check with a manager in-store to confirm that it’s okay to park your RV overnight. Most Wal-Marts, Cabelas, and Bass Pro Shops allow overnight RV parking, but not all of them, so make sure you know if your desired location is RV friendly or not.
Harvest Hosts is quickly taking overnight RV parking by storm. Why park overnight in a parking lot when you can bring your self-contained rig and spend the night at the wineries, breweries, and beautiful farms making up the Harvest Hosts network? For a small annual fee, you’ll get access to over a thousand beautiful spots to park your RV overnight for free. As an added bonus, you can often take advantage of amenities such as wine tastings and farmer’s markets at the host site.
Boondockers Welcome is another network like Harvest Hosts that allows free overnight RV parking at cool spots all over the country. Their annual fee is less than Harvest Hosts, and they tend to focus more on residential spots to park your RV for free, rather than vineyards and breweries.
Moochdocking is the fine art of parking with friends or family and mooching off their power and water hookups. While it might sound a bit odd, this can be a wonderful way to visit family and friends you haven’t seen in some time.
If you’re taking a long road trip in your RV, consider planning some moochdocking along the way. Even if you have to adjust your route to make it happen, moochdocking can be a great way to park your RV overnight and catch up with loved ones who you may not have seen in some time.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands
BLM lands are federally owned spaces that often allow free RV parking. These dispersed camping areas are especially prevalent in the Southwest. You could use the Allstays app or jump on the BLM website to find free RV parking near you. Many BLM lands are in some wonderfully scenic areas — so you may want to plan for longer than an overnight stay!
Free overnight RV parking for your make of camper
A little known secret in the world of free overnight RV parking is that some networks offer free parking if you own a particular model of RV.
For example, Airstream owners have long benefitted from courtesy parking. Airstream owners with space publish their names in the courtesy parking directory that is given to all members of the national Airstream club. If you have an Airstream, you can find overnight RV parking near you — and have a fun time with fellow Airstreamers — by taking advantage of this benefit.
Many other makes of RV have similar offerings through their national clubs. The best way to investigate is by reaching out to your RV manufacturer to see if free overnight RV parking is possible in their network.
Knowing where to find free overnight RV parking near you is a skill that no RVer owner or renter should be without. Fortunately, the days where we needed to stay the night in a Wal-Mart parking lot are a thing of the past. By planning your overnight stops with networks like Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome, you can create wonderful memories for you and the family while parking for free overnight.
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