It’s Still Possible 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 LIFE 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 LIFE 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!
Read more: Do You Know When To Avoid Free Overnight RV Parking?
Chelsea Gonzales is a full-time RVer, freelance writer, and roadschooling mama who loves sharing her expertise about RVing with kids, roadschooling, and full-time RVing. The entrepreneurial and free-spirited author is also artistic director of the Aistear Mobile Irish Dance Academy, and currently travels with her family in a 27-foot travel trailer. Chelsea’s informational articles about full-time RVing, raising children on the road, camping, and destination features appear on her blog, Wonder Wherever We Wander. throughout the RV LIFE network, and in RV industry media outlets such as Outdoorsy, Coach-Net, and RV Share.
david greenberg says
The best one to use FREE is RVparky
Diane Hermanson says
One of our pet peeves during all of our camping years:
RVers putting down their stabilizer jacks and leaving big gouges in the blacktop/gravel/ground. We always put 1X12 wood slabs under our jacks, some people use plastic pieces made specifically for the jacks but many do not. When they try to lift their jacks, the jacks are stuck in the blacktop or mud. This is an issue we do not see addressed in many RV blogs.
Many truck stops have parking for RVs
Richard Hubert says
Actually – we have stayed at some Walmarts which are prettier and more private than many RV parks we have stayed.
While often many RV parks pack RVs tightly together so they are often feet – or even inches – apart (so you end up looking directly into your neighbors windows) – we have stayed at several Walmarts where were able to park along the perimeter of their parking lot facing a nice field, woods, or pleasant treed & grassy area.
As for Casinos – yes many offer free overnight RV parking, and virtually all we have stayed at were in large lots in very peaceful settings – well away from the main Casino entrance so there was no noise. We even stayed at one particularly large Casino parking lot which had huge, well marked out spaces – and free 50 amp power pedestals! Most Casinos also provide 24/7 security patrols, and all that we have stayed we spotlessly clean. We stay at Casinos in our RV whenever possible!
Jerry Stumpf says
I am a long time RVer and appreciate your insight. It is sad we have to tell folks to clean up after their self, isn’t it? Common courtesy says to actually “police” your area and pick up debris you find laying around your site.
Again thanks for the thoughts you put into this post!
Ginny Ivanoff says
OMG…you missed one of my favorites: Pilot/Flying J stations. Not only can you park there for free, but I have used the laundry/shower facilities (at non rush time for truckers).
michael a hinde says
I would like to see Canada included in some of these articles too! It’s not always snowdrifts up here in the Great White North!!