10 Places to Easily Park Overnight (2023)

Camping has become so popular that it has become a competition to find places to park your RV. Most campsites are full long before you arrive at your favorite destination.

As for the trip along the way, you’d be lucky to find a place to pull over for the night. Well, we can’t help you avoid procrastination in making those reservations for your vacation spot.

But we might be able to assist you in finding overnight lodging if your journey takes several days. See if you can incorporate any of the following 10 suggestions for overnight parking in your next camping excursion.

Can You Sleep in an RV Anywhere?

If you intend to pull over and catch a nap anywhere, you may find an expensive parking ticket on your windshield or be awakened in the middle of the night by that dreaded knock on the door.

Because of traffic flow, municipal laws, private property, and neighborhood watch programs, sleeping in an RV is strictly limited. So be prepared beforehand with the knowledge of places along your route where you can legally park overnight. We have listed several ideas below.

Where Is the Safest Place to Sleep in Your Car?

If you’re traveling by car, it is important to find a safe place to get a good night’s rest. Car camping can be more vulnerable than staying in an RV with a ready-made bed, bath, and kitchen facilities.

One of the most secure places would be a casino parking lot. Security patrols are constantly alert and restroom facilities are usually open until 2:00 a.m. or even later.

10 Places to Easily Park Overnight

If you’re on your way to a vacation destination in your RV, you may have a multi-day trip ahead of you before you reach your campground. Stopping each night and setting up camp may not be the most appealing option, time-wise or cost-wise.

All you may need for those intermingling nights is a place to pull over and get a good night’s sleep before moving on. Here are 10 locations that can offer you just that – a stopping spot for a nominal (and in many cases, free) cost:

(Video) 10 FREE Places to RV Park Overnight

1. Walmart Parking Lots

The number one place to stay overnight is a Walmart parking lot. It’s always good to call in advance and ask permission. Many jurisdictions have outlawed overnight parking with laws instigated by local campgrounds that see the practice as competition for their paid campsites.

But there are still many Walmarts that allow overnight parking. When asked, they will usually tell you what part of the parking lot to move to.

And remember good RV etiquette: don’t put down stabilizing jacks or put out slides while parking overnight. You don’t want to appear to be “setting up camp.” Another good practice is to leave the parking lot in better shape than when you came. Pick up trash or put carts in their place. This will continue the goodwill between RVers and Walmarts.

Pro Tip: Here are The Don’ts of Walmart Camping.

2. Cracker Barrel Parking Lots

Cracker Barrels like having RVers stay with them overnight so much that many have painted RV parking spaces in their lots. Always call and ask permission first.

The manager will most likely tell you to park after they close for the evening. They’re the perfect spot to hang around in the morning, as RVers become customers for a hearty breakfast!

WARNING: Is Cracker Barrel Pulling The Plug on Free Camping?

3. Casino Parking Lots

Many gambling establishments welcome overnight stays on their extensive grounds. Again, call in advance. They’ll send you to the least busy part of their property, but you will almost always find it a pleasant stay.

Many casinos have 24-hour security patrols, and to make you a patron, they may give you a player’s card loaded with $10 in gambling money and even credit for a good breakfast. Some of these businesses have appealed to so many RVers that they have built their own RV campgrounds on the property.

(Video) Van Life - Top 10 Free Overnight Parking Spots

4. BLM Land

For a usually quiet, relaxing stay, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campsites are the most comfortable places to stop. Most are far off the beaten path, so noise is not an issue. There are no services, including no toilets or other amenities, but you can actually camp on BLM land.

Take out your slides, set up your grill, and stick around for up to 14 days in the same place. You do need to access the BLM website at www.blm.gov to locate such public lands, but if the spot you choose is not an official campground, the cost is usually free.

5. Truck Stops

Parking overnight at a truck stop is not the best option for overnight stays, but it can be helpful if there are no other places to park. If you do decide to park at one, prepare for the constant noise of refrigerator trucks and those revving up to leave.

Also, be respectful of the truck parking area and don’t use it. Ask an attendant where you may park to stay out of the way because truckers depend upon truck stops to get their required rest before continuing with their job.

A couple of benefits of staying at a truck stop include nice clean showers and lots of snacks. There may even be a restaurant on site.

6. Rest Stops and Welcome Centers

Highway rest stops and state welcome centers are usually good places to stop for a rest. However, these rest stops are not areas where you would put out your slides and set up your lawn chairs.

They are for catching some shut-eye, then moving on. Many have clean restrooms, snack machines, and even dog walk areas.

7. Hotel Parking Lot

Some hotel and motel parking lots look like great options since they are already full of vehicles and usually have good safety lighting. But before you pull in, be sure to call the front desk and ask permission.

(Video) The Secret to finding overnight motorhome parking near you

You may find some pushback from them, as they see your RV as competition for the room they could sell you. Many will let you stay if you assure them you are just stopping for some rest and will be out early in the morning.

8. Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome

Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome are basically databases that list businesses and RV owners willing to let you park at their location free of charge. With Harvest Hosts, you can stay at participating vineyards, farms, breweries, museums, ranches, and even golf courses for one night and sometimes more. You must be in a self-contained rig (no car or tent campers), and there are usually no hookups.

However, you’ll be asked to purchase something while staying at the location. For instance, you may buy a museum tour or get a bottle of wine at a winery.

The cost per year is around $100 and $140 to include golf courses in the membership.

Boondockers Welcome charges a yearly fee of $50 to stay at the homes of RVers who usually have limited hookups available and, at the very least, a nice spot on their property to park. It’s a great way to meet other RVers and share camping experiences and favorite destinations while learning about local attractions.

9. Residential Streets

Parking on a side street in a town is a bit more involved, as you will need to do some research about specific laws for each place you visit. Many streets have “No Overnight Parking” signs, but some off-street parking may not be labeled.

The best way to discover open parking areas is to look at the municipality’s website regarding parking restrictions. Then drive around during daylight hours to scout possibilities.

10. Driveway of a Friend or Family Member

Moochdocking, otherwise known as camping in a friend’s driveway, is a great way to visit loved ones without imposing too much.

They don’t have to donate a guest room or feel obligated to prepare breakfast for you. If you hook up to their electricity, it might be good form to offer them some money for the service. They might love it if you invited them (to their driveway) for dinner prepared in your RV kitchen.

(Video) 11 Places You Can Park Your RV Overnight For FREE!

How Do You Find Places to Park Overnight?

You can find all the locations listed above with a bit of research. In fact, many camping apps have a filter for “free locations” or “overnight parking.” Be sure to peruse AllStays Pro, either on their iPhone app or online. You’ll find everything from campsites to camping services like propane and fuel stations and dump stations.

Campendium is another favorite website where campsites across the country are reviewed for their accessibility, price, noise level, and even cellular service availability.

Just remember to contact locations directly before you arrive to make sure they will allow you to stay so that you can enjoy a peaceful night’s rest when you get there.

Where are your go-to places to park overnight?

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(Video) How to find an overnight park up in the UK…

FAQs

Where is the safest place to park your car overnight? ›

7 Places You Can Park Overnight & Sleep On A Road Trip
  • Walmart. ...
  • Casinos. ...
  • Rest Stops. ...
  • Welcome Information Centers. ...
  • BLM Land. ...
  • Grocery Stores, Shopping Malls & Fast Food Outlets, Parking Lots. ...
  • City Street Parking.
11 Jun 2019

Where can I sleep in my car legally in Utah? ›

Rest areas are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and thus are available for use overnight. Rest areas are intended to combat driver fatigue, and thus resting and sleeping is permitted as long as it is being done for the purpose of combating driving fatigue.

Where can I sleep in my car Ontario? ›

In Ontario, there is no law against sleeping in a car, however, your car would have to be parked in some place where overnight parking is allowed. Sleeping in your car in your own driveway is one thing.

How can a woman sleep in the car? ›

Always lock your doors and keep your car keys and defense spray nearby when you are sleeping and make sure to park in an area with a clear exit; don't block yourself in. Don't leave anything set up outside of your car, so if you do need to leave, you can do so quickly and not have to waste time packing.

Can you sleep overnight in a car park? ›

Be careful with car parks too. Some may lock their gates overnight or have a 24-hour charging system in place – which could make for an expensive night's stay. Some car parks also implement local bylaws that prevent overnight stays, especially in town centres or coastal locations.

Can you legally sleep in your car? ›

Yes, it's perfectly legal to sleep in your car, as long as you stick to a couple of rules: You must be safely parked, and not in violation of any parking restrictions. You mustn't be above the drink drive limit or under the influence of drugs.

Where should I sleep if I live in a car? ›

Here are ways to stay safe when sleeping in your car: Park near a light pole. Park in the shade to help keep the car cooler. Avoid sleeping on the side of the road because it's less safe, and you could get hit while parked.

Is it legal to live in your car? ›

Living in your car is typically allowed in most states, as long as you follow the local loitering ordinances and avoid trespassing on private areas. You will need to find multiple locations where it is legal to park your car, whether you intend to remain for a short time or long-term.

Can you sleep in a Walmart parking lot? ›

The short answer is that, according to Walmart's corporate website, Walmart does still allow overnight parking in 2022. However, there are some caveats to this, and when you look at the policy in practice, overnight camping rules vary widely from store to store.

Can I live in my car in Utah? ›

It's legal to live in your car, it just is illegal to camp in some areas such as public streets or parking lots. Many private businesses also disallow camping or restrict the amount of days you can camp.

Can you sleep in Walmart parking lots in Canada? ›

Parking overnight at Walmart is a well known free camping option in Canada. There's nothing fancy about it, but parking at Walmart can definitely be convenient on long road trips and while exploring urban areas.

Can I sleep in my car with the windows up? ›

Contrary to some beliefs, a car isn't airtight. So you can sleep in your car with the windows up without any issues to your health. The main issue you may have with sleeping in your car with the windows up deals with your comfort level. With the windows up, you aren't going to get much ventilation.

Can you get a ticket for sleeping in your car in Ontario? ›

In general, there are no laws prohibiting you from sleeping in your car. But you need to follow parking signs at rest areas, parking lots and on main streets to determine whether extended parking is allowed.

Is sleeping in a car homeless? ›

In the HUD definition for homeless, cars are “not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation.” Though vans are not mentioned, generally speaking, they are “not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation.” Thus, persons sleeping overnight in cars or vans are homeless.

How do homeless people survive with cars? ›

10 Tips for Living out of Your Vehicle
  1. Stay organized. ...
  2. Take a good cooler. ...
  3. Get a power inverter for your car charger. ...
  4. Keep quick meals on hand. ...
  5. Take lots of baby wipes. ...
  6. Take some air fresheners. ...
  7. Make a really really good playlist. ...
  8. Sleep in national forests.

How do couples sleep in car? ›

Bring some extra blankets or a sleeping bag to wrap yourself around with. Recline the front seat so you can lie down like you usually would when sleeping in a bed. Alternatively, you can curl up in the back seat, which may not be so different from sleeping on a couch.

What car can you sleep in? ›

Best cars for sleeping in
  • Honda Jazz.
  • Honda Civic Tourer.
  • Ford Grand Tourneo Connect.
  • Mini Clubman.
  • Skoda Superb Estate.
  • Citroen Berlingo.
  • Seat Ateca.
  • Audi Q5.

Can you sleep in Laybys? ›

For example, if a landowner has granted you the authority to park in their layby, then it is legal for you to sleep overnight in your campervan. It is when you haven't received permission from a landowner that the laws around sleeping in your campervan can get confusing.

How long can you safely sleep in a car? ›

It is generally safe to sleep in your car overnight, providing the engine is turned off and you're parked in a secure location. Cars are not airtight, meaning oxygen can enter the vehicle during the night to allow comfortable breathing, even when the windows and doors are closed.

Why is it forbidden to sleep in car? ›

There's no specific federal law that expressly forbids sleeping in your car. However, there are federal laws that indirectly limit the instances in which sleeping in your car is legal: Private Property Laws: Trespassing on private property is a quick way to make sleeping in your car illegal.

Can you be fined for sleeping in your car? ›

The short answer is yes, it is legal to sleep in your car, but there are important considerations to keep in mind before you do so.

Can a passenger sleep in a car? ›

Unless you're under the weather or exceptionally exhausted, it's considered bad form to fall asleep as a passenger. Your job is to keep the driver company and offer assistance when necessary.

How do homeless people keep cars warm? ›

Stockpile blankets and sleeping bags.

These will be essential when you are sleeping outside, but can also keep you warm in a car or in a more protected shelter. Wrap yourself with blankets and then get into the sleeping bag for maximum warmth.

How much money can you save by living in your car? ›

Potential savings: $1,200

If you live at an apartment complex, you may have to pay for parking. It's also common to pay for parking if you work downtown in a big city, and parking can be expensive. Reina estimates annual savings on parking passes to be $1,200 with one less car.

Where should I shower if I live in a car? ›

Where to Take a Shower
  • Choose a fitness center brand that has locations open 24 hours a day. This offers the most freedom, and you can often get away with parking at these locations overnight.
  • A fitness center membership is only good for one person, you. You will have to buy a membership for each person in your vehicle.
24 Dec 2021

How can I keep my car warm without heat? ›

How to Stay Warm When Your Car Heater Is Not Working
  1. Park in the garage. ...
  2. Cover the windshield. ...
  3. Stock up on hand warming packets. ...
  4. Buy a heater or seat cover that plugs into your car. ...
  5. Keep blankets in the back seat. ...
  6. Take along a warm beverage.
22 Jan 2018

Why do people sleep in the Walmart parking lot? ›

Sometimes, people end up in a Walmart's parking lot because they cannot think of anywhere else to go, or have made it part of their routine. Almost everyone spending the night has a story to tell. They are traveling across the country, or visiting a particular spot.

Why does Walmart allow people to sleep in the parking lot? ›

Walmart has long valued its RV-dwelling and road-tripping customers. For this reason, Walmart corporate is fine when store managers allow people to sleep in the parking lot. The official site adds, “Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws.

Where can I park my RV to live for free? ›

How To Find Free Overnight RV Parking
  • Truck Stops. Truck stops are one of the most common places where you can park your RV for the night and get some rest without having to pay. ...
  • Walmart Parking Lots. ...
  • National Parks. ...
  • Big Box Stores. ...
  • BLM Land. ...
  • Backcountry Camping. ...
  • Dry Camping.
29 Oct 2020

How long can you sleep in a car before suffocating? ›

You cannot suffocate in a car because the car is not airtight. Even with the windows up, your car may get humid, stuffy, or uncomfortable if you're sleeping. But the chances of you suffocating are zero.

How can I sleep in my car without freezing it? ›

Everyone has a different setup, but these basics will get you cozy in no time.
  1. Fold down your back seats. Make sure your seats fold down fully and lay flat enough to sleep on.
  2. Add insulation. ...
  3. Throw in a mattress. ...
  4. Build your bedding. ...
  5. Pick the right pajamas. ...
  6. Heat it up. ...
  7. Crack your windows. ...
  8. Dream of fresh pow.
25 Jan 2021

Is sleeping in a car rough sleeping? ›

Rough sleeping is the most visible form of homelessness. It is typically associated with sleeping outside, but also refers to sleeping in a place not designed for living such as an empty building or a car. Some people are at a higher risk of rough sleeping than others.

Can you sleep overnight in Utah rest areas? ›

Utah encourages drowsy drivers to take a break. Rest areas are provided to the traveling public for this purpose. All rest areas are posted for no overnight camping. However, extended stays are permitted and are monitored by the on-site staff and the Highway Patrol.

How can I make money living in a car? ›

How to Make Money With Your Car
  1. Drive for a Ridesharing App. Becoming a ridesharing driver is a no-nonsense way to make money with your car. ...
  2. Deliver Food. ...
  3. Deliver Other Goods. ...
  4. Wrap Your Car in Advertising. ...
  5. Rent Out Your Car When You're Not Using It. ...
  6. Help People Move.
26 Oct 2022

Can you live in a van in Utah? ›

With more than 35 million acres of public lands, dirt roads galore, and plenty of room to spread out, there's no place like Utah for van lifers.

Can you camp for free in Canada? ›

Free camping in Canada is known as boondocking, dry camping or wild camping, and can be found all over Canada. Don't let high fees and crowded campgrounds keep you from going on a backcountry camping adventure; free camping in Canada is totally possible and it will boost your budget.

What is Boondocking at Walmart? ›

Boondocking simply means camping in your RV with water, electric, or sewer hookups. This style of camping is typically free, or a small fee is paid to a city, state, or national park for staying on the land. There are other terms for boondocking, including dry camping, moochdocking, lot docking, and more.

Is Boondocking legal in Canada? ›

Wild camping, also known as boondocking, and standing free with a motorhome are partly allowed in Canada. In cities, provincial and national parks, it is strictly prohibited. However, on public land, it is permitted with a few restrictions. Wild camping is always allowed in Canada if it is not prohibited.

How long can a person survive in a closed car? ›

Car exhaust emits carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide gases (in case the AC is on) that might kill an adult instantly. “If you sit inside a locked car for 30 minutes, you would feel suffocated.

How long can a person last in a hot car? ›

Their study estimates that even in a shaded vehicle, a 2-year-old child's core temperature could reach a dangerous—and potentially deadly—104° F in a little less than 2 hours.

Where can I park my car to sleep near me? ›

7 Places You Can Park Overnight & Sleep On A Road Trip
  • Walmart. ...
  • Casinos. ...
  • Rest Stops. ...
  • Welcome Information Centers. ...
  • BLM Land. ...
  • Grocery Stores, Shopping Malls & Fast Food Outlets, Parking Lots. ...
  • City Street Parking.
11 Jun 2019

Can you sleep in the backseat of your car drunk? ›

According to California law, a driver can be arrested for a DUI if they are found sleeping inside their vehicle while intoxicated. In fact, the legislature in California created a separate law that allows for an arrest for sleeping in a car (even if not running) to be authorized by law.

Do traffic wardens have to wait 5 minutes? ›

Traffic wardens must give motorists a grace period of up to 10 minutes after their parking ticket expires. This applies to both council and private car parks.

Where is the safest place to leave your car? ›

What are some safe places to leave your car overnight?
  • Big-box stores (especially if they're open 24 hours)
  • Casinos (if available and open 24 hours)
  • Highway rest stops.
  • Local Welcome Center parking lot.
  • Public land that allows overnight camping.

Is a car safer in a garage? ›

Keeping your car in your driveway leaves more exposure to potential thieves, compared to a locked garage. However, the inclusion of extra security devices to your home such as a front porch motion detecting light or a shingle drive that creates noise when walked on, makes your car a higher risk target for thieves.

Is it safe to sleep in a car? ›

Is it safe to sleep in a car? It is generally safe to sleep in your car overnight, providing the engine is turned off and you're parked in a secure location. Cars are not airtight, meaning oxygen can enter the vehicle during the night to allow comfortable breathing, even when the windows and doors are closed.

Should you crack a window when sleeping in your car? ›

DO: Leave a sunroof or front window slightly cracked open. This makes it easier to breathe, and if you're camping with someone, won't subject you to the smell of each and every breathe he or she takes. Plus, it helps avoid condensation building up all over the windows. DON'T: Leave the windows fully open!

What is the safest space in a car? ›

Assuming a passenger is properly using their seatbelt or car seat or booster for a child, the rear middle seat is currently the safest seat in a car.

Will a garaged car last longer? ›

Because a garage keeps a vehicle warm, the fluid and oil are kept in a stable condition which leads to an engine that runs better than one that is kept outside.

What should you not store in your car? ›

7 Items You Should Never Leave In Your Car
  • Food & Drink. A bottle of wine sealed with a cork is just the beginning. ...
  • Aerosol Cans. ...
  • Sunscreen. ...
  • Lighters. ...
  • Plastic Bottles. ...
  • Batteries. ...
  • Electronics.

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