Can I park my RV anywhere? That’s the question new RVers ask. Given its size, parking parts can be a problem. But the good news is there are a lot of places where you can station your RV for a while. As we’ll show here, the number of parking options has increased considerably.
11 Travel Important Ideas – can i park my rV anywhere?
1. Truck Stops
Truck stops aren’t just for trucks anymore, as many now have accommodation for RVs for free. You won’t get charged for parking since these spots make their money when you buy food, gas and supplies.
These truck stops also have restaurants and shops where you can refurbish your stock. Dump sites are also nearby for your waste tank management. Repair centers, laundry and other amenities are available near truck stops too. Your options include Flying J, Rip Griffin Travel Centers and Pilot Travel Centers.
2. Large Retail Chain Stores
Walmart and a lot of the big retail stores have parking spaces for RVs and these are among the best places to park your vehicle. Bear in mind that retail stores have different policies, and even Walmart policies vary per branch.
If you find a Walmart branch or another retail chain that allows overnight parking, take advantage of it. You’ll be right next to the store and can buy whatever you need. Just like with truck stops, learn the rules and regulations before leaving your vehicle there.
Some restaurants like Cracker Barrel are situated close to freeways where you can park. Popular fast food chains also have parking lots for RVs and other large vehicles. Aside from being near food you also get free Wi-Fi access.
4. RV Parts and Service Spots
There are a lot of RV parts and service centers all around the US so if there’s a problem you don’t have to look far for help. Aside from getting your rig fixed, they sell RV parts and accessories too. You can join these services and avail of discounts, parking and other benefits.
Not all service spots have free parking, but it’s good to bring your RV here for a checkup especially if you’re headed for a long trip to the boondocks. You’ll also want to have your RV inspected after a long trip.
If you happen to be in Vegas, don’t be surprised if most of the casinos have parking spaces for RVs today. And that’s not surprising given the fact that RVs have become more popular and commonplace. Just check the policies of the casinos first to find out how long they accommodate RVs.
6. Small Towns
Contrary to what some may believe, small towns in the US do have parking spaces for RVs. Many of their parks have amenities for an RV overnight stay. Being a small town it’s not too far off the cinema or restaurant so that’s another benefit.
Small town policies on RV parking varies, so don’t assume the rules in one town is applicable to the other. It really doesn’t take a lot of time to clarify the rules anyway. Let the establishment owner know you plan to stay there overnight. Just be polite and everything should be fine.
7. Campgrounds and Parks
For a lot of RVers, a state park, national park or campground are the first things that come to mind. There is plenty of space here, and the facilities are complete with waste tank management and other accommodations.
It is possible to make reservations at campgrounds, and it’s a good idea to do so. These places can get crowded during the summer so make sure you’ve got a spot already. Many parks also have an annual pass. If you avail of this you’ll get discounts on various amenities and waive a lot of the fees.
8. Stay at Golf Courses
If you join RV Golf Club you’ll get free overnight parking. Only members are allowed to park so no need to worry about not having a spot for your RV the next time you drop by.
9. City Convention Centers or Stadiums
A lot of stadiums and convention centers allow you to park if there’s no occasion. However this isn’t always the case so you’ll need to go over the regulations to determine if overnight parking is allowed or not.
10. Rest Areas
The nice thing about rest areas is they have facilities where you can empty your waste tanks. Many also have freshwater tanks though the quality varies from site to site. But if you’re looking to take off some load then rest areas will do just fine.
11. Elks Club and Moose Lodge
If you sign up you’ll be eligible for free parking. These places are known for being clean and well maintained so that’s another advantage. In addition you can also park at shopping centers, malls and large venues.
It’s usually okay to park around those places, but it is better to be safe. Take the time to ask the local authorities and get their permission to ask questions.
10 Tips for Overnight RV Parking
Now that you know the many places you can park, here are some tips to consider. These will make your stay in the parking area more enjoyable.
1. Use the Store or Restaurant
Free parking is possible because those businesses try to make money via the restaurants or stores. That’s why you should throw your support behind them. By helping their establishments you’ll encourage them to support RVers.
2. Don’t Stay Multiple Nights in a Row
Mos RVers don’t usually stay more than a night at the same spot, and that should be the case for you. At most stay two consecutive nights, but if you want to stay in town a bit longer, look for another parking space.
3. Park in the Back or Side of the Lot
Your goal is to be unobtrusive as possible. Do not park your vehicle where it will get in the way of cars and other small vehicles. Do not park your RV near the front door and the close-in spaces should be for customers.
Another reason to park at the side or the back is it doesn’t get as crowded as the front. So when the time comes you decide to leave you don’t have to worry about another vehicle blocking your path.
4. Take Up as Little Space as You Can
This might be a bit tough given the size of your RV, but there are ways such as keeping the slides in. This is definitely what you should do if there are many RVs in the area or you can’t find an exterior spot hanging. No matter what, don’t park your RV along roadways as it might damage your ride.
Another way to cut down on space usage is not to pull the awnings out. You’re parking to get rest so there’s really no need for it.
You can also save space by not setting up the tailgate. Again you’re here to relax and get some sleep so there’s no point in setting up the grill, chairs, rugs, carpets or tables. As mentioned earlier it’s also better to use the restaurants that offer parking.
5. Arrive Late, Leave Early
You’ve got a big rig that takes up a lot of space, so be considerate and don’t park during busy hours. As much as possible don’t park during peak eating and shopping times. Since you’re going there to rest, avoid the peak hours so you can rest too.
6. Don’t Raise a Ruckus
You’ll be more welcome at RV parking lots if you stay quiet. If you followed the tips above you’ll park during non-peak hours, but that’s still not an excuse to make noise. Keep the music low and if you’re entertaining friends don’t make too much noise.
7. Keep Clean
Leave the place as you found it. Don’t leave your thrash in the place and dispose your waste in the appropriate manner. Don’t clutter the place and when you go don’t leave any trace of garbage.
8. Waste Tanks
Dispose waste tanks only if the establishment has the facility to deal with it. Don’t just dump your waste anywhere as that has an adverse effect on the environment. Do not empty your waste tank in drains as it is against the law.
9. Traveling with Pets
If you’ve got pets, clean up after them. Don’t allow them to litter the park and keep dogs occupied so they don’t bark too much in the middle of the night.
10. Talk to the Site Manager
If you’re not sure of the rules regarding pets, waste disposal etc talk to the establishment manager. It won’t hurt to ask and it’s best to clear things up as soon as possible. While you’re talking, inquire about the rules on spaces between RVs and other vehicles.
RV friendly parking lots are not as rare as one may imagine. Now that you know where to place your RV, it’s time to take it out and savor the feeling of being on the road.