13 Overnight RV Parking Tips

campervan with milky way at night

13 Overnight RV Parking Tips

Are you about to take an overnight RV trip and need some place to park and rest? Many people do this, while others wonder about free overnight RV parking. Specifically, they want to know where they can do this. There’s no rulebook that lists the places you can park your motorhome, but we have the next best thing. We talked with many of the RV owners we know and got some rock solid tips from them. If you need to park overnight, this information will help you plan your next RV trip.

Overnight RV Parking at Campgrounds and Parks

Anyone who lives the RV life knows that campgrounds and parks are the best place to stop overnight. You get water, sewer, and electricity hookups at these places, but those benefits come at a cost. If you’ve grown accustomed to the easy life, these places might be your best bet. There’s another benefit to stopping overnight at campgrounds and parks. These places are great if you need to empty your waste tanks and refill water tanks.

If you plan an overnight stay at a campground or park, it’s best to plan this well in advance. Spring, summer, and fall are common RV seasons. During these times, parks and campgrounds fill up quickly with long-term guests. If you plan show up one night without reservations, you might have to seek other accommodations. Be sure to check each park’s rules and fees, including how late you can arrive.

Overnight RV Parking at Businesses

Overnight RV parking at Walmart is a thing, and so is parking at other big box retail stores. These businesses are known to be RV-friendly. There’s a catch, though. Just because some businesses allow RVs to park overnight, it doesn’t mean all locations do. Many franchise stores might have different rules than corporate locations.  While every Cabela’s might look the same to you, the differences between franchise and corporate stores could mean the difference between when you park there overnight or not.

There are a few factors that can affect whether you can park at a Walmart or similar store. For example, busy season can be a huge reason why some stores might turn away RV owners. They can’t give up the parking spots needed to accommodate RVs during this time. Also, some stores don’t allow it at all. These business will have “no overnight parking” signs hung in its lot. Please heed this, since it would be illegal if you didn’t. If you’re in doubt, call the store and speak to the manager about the overnight parking policies.    

Other Overnight RV Parking Options

There are more options for overnight RV parking than the ones listed above.  In each case, we recommend you don’t just show up out of the blue.  Do yourself a favor and call the owners or managers ahead of time.  They will appreciate that you put some thought into this, and are more likely to give you permission to park there.  Here is a short list of places you might be able to park your RV overnight:

  • Some city convention centers and stadiums let RV owners park overnight for free. Note: This is only on days when the center does not have an event going on.  Before using this as an option, do your research and speak with someone at these places to understand the overnight parking policies.
  • Truck stops can be a great place to park overnight. Some of these businesses even have separate RV parking, which keeps you away from the big rigs that idle throughout the night.  Another benefit of staying at a truck stop is the easy access to fuel and food if you need them.  Some of these centers even have dump sites.
  • Rest areas are a possibility for overnight RV stays. Some of these centers have a place to dump waste tanks.  It’s a good way to get some rest and lighten the load on your motorhome.
  • If you’re a member of an Elks Club or Moose Lodge, you might be able to park for free in some club lots. Other clubs might ask for a fee or donation. Amenities will likely vary from club to club.
  • Parking lots in malls, shopping centers, and churches all are options. It’s always best to check with the manager of these places to make sure you and your camper will be welcome.

Overnight RV Parking Tips

Knowing where to park your RV overnight is only have the equation. RV owners need to understand that parking etiquette is just as important. When you park your motorhome overnight, you’re doing so as a guest. A good guest should always have respect for his/her host, and the host’s property. Being a good guest leaves a good impression. This encourages these businesses to continue to allow RV owners to park there overnight.

To help you leave a favorable impression, here are 10 overnight RV parking tips to help you be a good guest wherever you stay:

  1. If you’re staying at a business such as a truck stop or restaurant, you should patronize that establishment. By rewarding their generosity with your business, the owners of these places will continue to extend a hand to the RV community.
  2. Don’t stay many nights in a row. One to two nights should be the maximum, or else you’ll wear out your welcome.  What’s worse, these places might not let you come back the next time you roll through their area.
  3. Be considerate of businesses by arriving late and leaving early. Also, don’t take up more spaces than you need to because the business needs those for customers.
  4. Be sure to park in the back or side lots, which are away from the business’s front door. The closer parking spaces should be reserved for the store’s customers.  Parking away from the store will also make leaving easier.
  5. Don’t pull out the awnings or sides when parking overnight. Never forget that you are a guest who’s using this as a place to park and get some sleep.
  6. Be a good guest by keeping your music and entertainment noises to a minimum.
  7. Do not leave a mess. Pick up any trash you might have left before you leave in the morning and properly dispose it.
  8. Don’t dump waste tanks into nearby sewer or storm drains because this is against the law.
  9. If you travel with a dog, clean up after it. You also should take it for a walk so that it remains relaxed and quiet throughout the night.
  10. No one is more responsible for your safety than you, so pay attention to your surroundings. Not all neighborhoods are the same, and not every store has security.  If you pull into a business and something doesn’t feel right, don’t stay there.

Hopefully, all these tips will help you choose the best place to park your RV overnight, and ensure that your stay there is a good one.  Signal Connect hopes you have a wonderful time on your next RV trip!

Bonus Tip: DIRECTV for Your RV

You know what makes any overnight RV stay fun and relaxing?  Having DIRECTV in your RV, camper, or motorhome.  It’s true!  You can get DIRECTV satellite television in your recreational vehicle.  You’ll be able to enjoy all of your favorite news, sports, and entertainment program from the widest variety of channels available.  It’s all a matter of choosing a programming package and satellite TV equipment, then getting it installed and activated. Since Signal Connect is an AT&T Authorized Retailer, we can help you with every step of that process. If you’re interested in getting DIRECTV for your RV, you probably have some questions. Give us a call at 866.726.4182. We’ll tell you anything and everything you want to know making satellite TV a part of your RV life.