How To Find Free Overnight RV Parking
Traveling in an RV is awesome for a variety of reasons. We love that we have our home with us wherever we go, meaning we can cook, shower, or sleep anywhere we see fit. We also appreciate the fact that we’re always able to finish the day in our own bed no matter where we wander. That said, the thing we love most about RV travel is the ability to save tons of money by avoiding expensive hotel stays.
Of course, there are still campground and RV park fees to consider. However, those can be avoided, making your RV adventures even more affordable. That’s right, it’s totally possible to find overnight RV parking that costs exactly $0 a night, and sometimes these are the most scenic campsites out there.
Want to give free camping a try? Here are our top tips for finding free overnight RV parking wherever you roam.
Places that offer free overnight parking
The first thing to know is that there are a few usual go-to free overnight RV parking spots that RVers look for when they just need a place to stay for a single night. These particular places will not be the prettiest or most comfortable of your RV stays.
However, they are free and tend to be fairly easy to find, making them ideal to use as a quick overnight between travel days. You can find most of these locations while planning your route on RV Trip Wizard.
These places include:
BLM and USFS
Obviously, it is nice of these businesses to allow overnight RV parking in their lots. However, as we mentioned, those are far from the prettiest or most comfortable places to stay. If you’re looking for somewhere to park your RV for more than a single night, we recommend checking into camping on land owned by the government. This includes land owned by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Forest Service.
These lands have both designated campgrounds and areas for dispersed camping. In some cases, a permit is required and can be obtained for free at a nearby office. Generally, campers are allowed to stay up to 14 nights in one location.
Free online resources
Another option for finding free overnight RV parking is to check out some of the articles we’ve written in the past. Our post about free campgrounds with hookups in Texas is a helpful one, as is the one about free campgrounds with hookups in Kansas.
We have many more articles on free camping and boondocking. Do a search and see what you can come up with!
Join Boondockers Welcome
Okay, so technically Boondockers Welcome isn’t 100% free. However, it is so inexpensive, it could almost be considered free.
Boondockers Welcome is a camping membership that gives members the opportunity to camp in the driveways and backyards of fellow campers. The cost to join is a mere $50 for an entire year, meaning it pays for itself within only a night or two of camping.
There are a huge number of hosts all across the country too, so finding somewhere to stay with this membership is rarely a problem. Many of these hosts allow longer stays of 5 nights, and some even offer water or electric.
Free overnight parking etiquette
Once you find a free overnight RV parking spot, you will want to make sure you know and follow general free camping etiquette. This will help ensure that site stays free for all RVers in the future.
General guidelines are as follows:
- Pack it in, pack it out — Don’t leave garbage or anything else behind.
- Keep quiet during quiet hours — Don’t run generators or make loud noise late at night or early in the morning.
- Respect the neighbors — Use common courtesy, giving space between sites when possible and minding your manners.
- Care for wildlife — If you’re camping in the wilderness, respect the wilderness. Give wild animals space, don’t harm plants, and leave everything as you find it.
- Don’t set up camp in parking lots — If you’ll be staying overnight in a parking lot, avoid putting out chairs, grills, awnings, or slides.
Use the right tools
If you don’t want to join a membership club and don’t have time to dig through articles or websites for the right campsites for you, the right tools are what you need. Fortunately we know exactly what those tools are, and we’re happy to share them with you.
The first thing you’ll want to do is hop over to RV Trip Wizard or download the RV LIFE App and create an account. From there, you can start planning a trip and use the search functions to find all kinds of campsites along the way. These include free and cheap overnight RV parking.
Use the filtering options to narrow down your search based on campground type and price. Next, decide whether or not a stop is for you by reading the included reviews. This is our favorite way to find free camping!