With RV industry leaders forecasting another record-breaking production year in 2022, the number of RVers occupying the road — and campsites — is sure to grow as well.
A surge in rentals is also introducing more first-timers to the prospect of mobile life, enthusiasts who often pursue RV ownership following their positive experience.
Those encountering crowded parking at overflowing campgrounds or seeking a quick round of shuteye should consider these options for overnight parking.
Many, though not all, casinos offer overnight RV parking. Sometimes casino camping is free and other times a small fee is charged. Upon arrival, RVers should make their way to the casino’s guest relations desk and ask for permission to stay; guests may then be directed to a secondary check-in or given terms of the stay, such as registering for a player’s card.
Like Walmart parking, casino parking is typically well lit, with nearby vehicles or other campers coming and going during all hours.
Most Walmart stores allow RVs to be parked overnight. However, some municipalities or individual stores may not welcome a parked rig due to local laws, lack of space or other circumstances. The store’s corporate policy encourages RVers to contact store managers for clearance before parking. Expect the available space to be well lit and potentially noisy. Walmart parking doesn’t include hookup or accommodations, and travelers are expected to keep chairs, awnings, etc. stowed away.
TRUCK STOP/GAS STATION
Truck stops/gas stations are one of the most commonly found overnight parking options, with large lots for easier rig maneuvering, on-site showers, bathrooms and more. Many truck stops will have designated parking areas depending on vehicle type; avoid parking in truck spaces (there are limited options for 18-wheelers) and blocking traffic.
RV company Camping World used to widely offer overnight parking, though some locations now close their fenced-in lots for the evening; some locations continue to offer hookups for water and electric. It’s best to call ahead as each Camping World location is different. Those with RVs to be serviced are usually welcome to park overnight prior to their service date.
Travelers can stay overnight at state-operated rest areas and most travel plazas, as there are few with time restrictions. Because rest areas are open 24 hours a day, RVers who are fatigued or needing a safe spot to pull over can count on rest stops during all times of driving. The stops typically include parking lots and driveways, various building types, restroom facilities, water fountains, picnic areas, vending services, numerous other site amenities and a variety of traveler-related services.
Parking on Bureau of Land Management territory can immerse RVers in nature, miles from the next traveler. Depending on the location, BLM land may include familiar amenities or none at all, with more than 99% of BLM-administered land available for recreational use at no fee.
One of several non-government apps, FreeRoam allows RVers to easily locate BLM and Unites States Forest Service land, with map overlay functions and search filters, such as reviews, rig length, crowdedness, road difficulty, shade, safety and noise.
Depending on the neighborhood, some residential streets allow for the overnight parking of vehicles, a type of stealth camping, which can be an option for travelers in a pinch. Stealth camping is when a person parks in an area not traditionally designated for overnight parking, including residential streets, parks, marinas, parking lots, hospital parking structures, etc.
RVers should check local, state and federal parking guidelines before attempting to stealth camp as some HOA’s and municipalities may have restrictions, such as parked vehicles needing to be moved after a certain period of time.
Some cities will offer free overnight parking in parks or charge a small fee. Travelers should try to take up as few spots as possible and avoid parking in such a way that they’d be blocked in. Using Google Earth views or other maps in advance can help drivers determine if their rig will fit in these sometimes smaller urban settings.