How to Stay at Campground Alternatives
Do you have a piece of land you’re considering parking your RV on? Perhaps a friend has invited you to park at their place, or maybe you just want to put your RV in your yard while your parents come to visit?
Whatever the case, it’s important that you know the ins and outs of RV parking on private property before you jump in.
6 Tips For RV Parking on Privately Owned Land
From city rules to the regulations of homeowners associations (HOAs), there are rules you should be aware of when it comes to RV parking on private property. Additionally, there are things to consider that could affect where you park your RV, how long you leave it, and maybe even if you do it at all.
We aren’t saying all this to discourage you. In our opinion, the more you can use your RV, the better. However, it is a good idea to know these things going in rather than finding them out the hard way. That’s what this article is for.
1. Know the rules of RV parking on private property
First, it’s important to learn the law of the land. Many towns and visitors have rules about whether or not an RV can be parked on private property, particularly if you live in the middle of the city. Other places don’t mind if people park RVs on their own land, but have rules about how long it can stay there or even where it can be parked. To learn the rules where you live, you’ll need to do a bit of research online.
Once you know the city will allow you to park your rig on your land, the next question to ask is whether your neighborhood has a homeowners association. If so, they likely have some restrictions when it comes to parking an RV on your property. It’s best to look this up in order to avoid fines.
2. Choose your spot wisely
Once you’re sure parking your rig on your property is allowed, the next thing to consider is where you’ll park it. You’ll also want to hunk about how you’ll get into the yard. It’s important to think about whether or not your RV can even make it onto your land. Driving the RV up or down a very steep driveway may result in a scraped back end. Meanwhile, attempting to drive through a ditch might mean getting stuck.
As far as parking goes, the front yard is generally the easiest spot. That said, if you prefer your RV to be less visible, you might consider a side yard or backyard instead.
Keep in mind that parking on a slope isn’t a great plan. Doing so can damage the RV fridge and could result in misreadings on your tank sensors. Besides, it won’t be comfortable for anyone staying in the motorhome or trailer. For this reason, you’ll need to choose a nice, flat section of land.
It’s best to avoid areas that see a lot of drainage, as this can result in very soft ground that the RV will sink into, leaving you stuck. Adding gravel or a concrete pad can help avoid this issue.
If you plan to use water from a faucet on the house or plug into an outlet on your house, you will also need to make sure your parking spot is close enough for you to reach those amenities. Of course, you can always use more hose and a longer extension cord if need be.
Once you find the perfect spot for your RV, you might consider building a carport to protect the rig while it’s parked. This will help your roof and seals last longer and help prevent water damage.
3. Think about how to dump tanks
Dumping your black and gray water tanks is the next thing you’ll want to think about. In some cases, because you’re on your own land, it might be acceptable to dump small amounts of gray water directly into the grass. However, this is something you’ll want to do sparingly, as it will lead to flies swarming the area and stinky smells. Additionally, unless you use all-biodegradable soap, it is bad for the environment.
Since you’ll need to get rid of black water as well anyway, we recommend finding another solution. This might mean driving the RV to a local dump station once a week or so—see Sanidumps.com or RV LIFE Trip Wizard for options local to you—or it could mean putting in a small septic system.
In some places, it might be possible to tie an RV dump into the city sewage system, but this is something you’d need to get approved. It might also be possible to tie the dump into your own septic system if you have one. In fact, you can even dump your RV tanks into the septic cleanout in most cases.
4. Decide how to get electricity
Electricity is another thing to consider. If you already have electricity on your property, this is as simple as having a 30- or 50-amp hookup added to your current system. If your RV will only be parked on your property temporarily, it’s also possible to get an adapter to plug into a 15- or 20-amp outlet. Just be aware that you won’t be able to run things like the air conditioner with such a setup unless you add a soft starter to your A/C system.
No electricity on your property? No problem. In that case, you will need to invest in a generator to run your RV or use the one that is already onboard, in the case of most motorhomes. Another option is to create a large battery bank, install an inverter, and keep it all charged up with solar. We recommend a combination of both setups in order to ensure you always have power without spending a fortune on fuel.
5. Keep weather in mind
What is the weather like on your property? If you’ll be leaving your RV parked on your land for the long term, this is something you’ll want to keep in mind.
If you tend to have high winds, strapping the rig down might be a good idea. Meanwhile, those who live in very sunny or rainy areas (or places that see a lot of hail) will definitely want to consider covered storage such as a garage or carport.
6. Store your rig properly
If you aren’t planning on being in your RV while it’s parked on your land, you’ll want to ensure you store it properly so it’s ready to go for your next trip. If you won’t be building a carport, consider an RV cover for protection.
Make sure you remove all food from the RV to avoid pest invasions and exploding cans. It’s also a good idea to winterize the water system in order to prevent water lines from bursting.
How to find RV parking on private property
Some people don’t have land of their own, but prefer parking on private property rather than staying at campgrounds. Wondering how to try this out for yourself? We recommend checking out services like Boondockers Welcome and HipCamp. Another option is to ask about staying on the land of friends and family. Just make sure you keep all these tips in mind when you do!
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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.
Michael Doherty says
7) If you park in grass (taller is worse) you’ll risk a lot of rodents or other vermin getting into you rig.
8) If you have solar panels on the roof, you’ll probably want to park where you have sun at least part of the day to keep your house battery properly charged.
william grainge says
sure seem like basic common sense to me
John Hamel says
I offend use a macerator with a garden hose to dump my black tank into a septic take clean out. Inexpensive and easy to use. I have heard of people putting the hose directly into a toilet.
Michael Doherty says
Yes it does seem like common sense. But I recently had a friend that bought an expensive LiFePo4 battery and put solar on the roof of his trailer to keep it charged and then proceed to camp under trees in the shade. On their first outing I got a call saying they were out of power and their slide was stuck out and their trailer jack was inoperable. Common sense? You decide…..
“Common sense is the least common of all senses”
I am surprised this article didn’t address insurance issues. If I park my RV at a friend’s place (not paying them – not written agreement) and a bad storm comes through and causes damage, whose insurance covers that? Does it matter to the insurance company if I am staying in it at the time?
I have heard some horror stories of ways insurance companies work to wiggle out of paying on a claim…
If you’re parking on a friend’s place not paying to do so and would even consider using their insurance to cover your storm damage you’re a sorry excuse for a friend.