RVers Ask: Where Can You Find Free RV Hookups?
RV camping gives you access to a wide variety of amenities, including electricity and running water. But unless you want to drain your battery or rely on solar power, you’ll probably want to stay somewhere with electrical hookups.
Unfortunately, most places that have RV hookups require a fee, but this isn’t always the case. So you’re probably wondering: Where can I plug in my RV for free?
Believe it or not, there are some free RV parks that provide complimentary hookups. In most cases, this only includes electricity and not water or sewage. But beggars can’t be choosers! It’s a rare find if you can locate a place where you can park for free AND enjoy electrical access. There are also some private institutions that have amenities for RVers, such as casinos.
In most cases, you’ll need to pay to plug in your RV, but if you do some research ahead of time, you may be able to locate a few places that will help you out for a night or two. Otherwise, you’ll need to be prepared to pay a fee, dry camp, or rely on solar panels/a generator. Let’s talk about some places where you can plug in your RV for free.
Public campgrounds with hookups
First of all, you should keep your eye open for publicly managed RV parks. Private parks need to cover their operating costs, so they always charge you to stay overnight. But on the other hand, there are always some city/county parks scattered around the country, and some of these provide free parking and electrical hookups.
It’s always a bit of a gamble if you want to stay at one of these parks. Because it’s publicly owned and there may not be a lot of funds, they are sometimes in pretty rough shape. The electricity also might be spotty, so it’s always a good idea to travel with a surge protector, just in case!
As mentioned above, it’s likely that parks like this will only offer electrical hookups and nothing for water or sewage. But in most cases, they will have public bathrooms you can use if you need them. Water can be hit or miss, so try to top off your tanks before you park for the night. Even if hookups are there, there’s no guarantee that you can plug in your RV for free. Do your research to see if there are any hidden fees or requirements for guests who stay at these parks.
In addition, most public parks like this only allow you to stay for a night or two. Extended camping here could get you in trouble, so you don’t want to mooch off of their hookups for too long. Be sure to look up the campground rules and follow all of them. It’s important to respect these public spaces if you want them to stay available to you and your fellow campers.
Casinos are another potential place that may offer electrical hookups. These businesses want to draw people in, so they offer great deals to travelers. In the case of RVers, this sometimes means that you can enjoy free parking when you visit certain casinos.
However, electrical hookups are not guaranteed in these situations. In many cases, visitors are given free parking spaces but no other amenities. It’s basically parking lot camping, which cuts you off from water, sewage, and electrical access.
This is not always the case though! There are some casinos that may be able to provide you with electrical hookups. Or they might be able to direct you to a nearby campground that offers discounts to casino patrons. So you can’t always rely on casinos to give you a place to plug in your RV for free, but it doesn’t hurt to explore this possibility.
Even if they don’t give you hookups, the casino itself should provide you with bathrooms, running water, and other comforts. Plus, a free overnight parking space is nothing to sneeze at! You may end up spending money at the casino anyway, but it’s still a decent bargain.
Fairgrounds and sporting arenas
Similarly, there are some fairgrounds and sporting arena parking lots that have accommodations for RVers. These locations almost always have massive parking lots, and they include designated spaces for RVs. Sometimes that includes a few hookups!
If you plan to attend a sporting event while you stay there, you’ll almost certainly need to pay for parking/access to the game or fair. You’ll also have to compete with all the other RVers who might be participating in the event, so it will probably be hard to secure a parking spot with electricity.
But during the off-days, there may be a chance to stay here for free and enjoy access to their electrical hookups. Once again, water and sewage are rarely provided, but there should be bathrooms in the area. Make sure you follow all the rules of the venue and keep your space clean. Additionally, you’ll probably only be allowed to stay for a day or two, so don’t get too comfortable in these parking lots!
Use a converter or permanent plug-in at home
Finally, you can plug in your RV for free if you have access to a home electrical system. If you’re visiting someone and want to charge up your RV, you can always ask them if you can hook the vehicle up at their house. You’ll just need an adapter that can connect your RV to a standard home outlet.
For instance, the Kohree RV Adapter Plug is a good option for 30-amp models. Most converters cost $30 or less, so this may be a good investment if you regularly visit friends and family during your travels. However, this option tends to limit the amount of power you can use.
If you want to plug in your RV at your own house, you may want to consider installing a 30-amp or 50-amp plug so you can easily connect everything. You basically have your own private electrical hookup at that point! You can run your RV at full power without worrying about overloading the system or tripping a breaker.
But of course, it’s not totally free if you’re charging it at home because you still need to pay the electrical bill. But it’s still cheaper than camping somewhere and paying for the site and the hookups.
If nothing else works, you can always install some solar panels in your RV so you can have electricity, even when you don’t have access to hookups. A portable generator is also a good investment for many people.
At the end of the day, you’ll usually need to pay at least a bit of money if you want access to a parking spot and electricity, but there are some ways you can minimize these costs. Research all your options when you’re planning a trip!
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