Is It Possible to Find Free RV Parking?

As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. But is there such a thing as free RV parking? Actually, yes. While you might not find a free spot that overlooks the ocean with the sound of waves crashing in the background, it is surprisingly easy to find free parking for your RV when out on a road trip. Free spots are a great way to save money when you are only looking for a place to sleep for a few hours before moving on to another location.

Free RV Parking is Available - When You Know Where to Look
Free RV Parking is Available – When You Know Where to Look

When hoping to take advantage of free RV parking, it is best to do your homework ahead of your trip. Locate some possible spots and contact the necessary parties to confirm that free parking is allowed and available. You don’t want to end a long day of driving by finding that you won’t be able to park where you expected, so it is always best to do some research before heading out.

Retail Parking Lots

One of the most well-known places to park your RV for free is Walmart. As you are certainly aware, there are Walmart locations all across the country, so there is a good chance there will be one located along your path. Most locations have huge parking lots, meaning there is plenty of space to park your RV for the night. It is important to note, however, that some cities or municipalities may prohibit overnight parking in places such as a Walmart lot. For that reason, it is best to call the store ahead of time to confirm that overnight parking is allowed on their property.

Besides Walmart, other retailers are known to provide free overnight parking (again, when local laws allow). Camping World is a possible option, as is Kmart. All it will take is a quick phone call to speak with the store manager at any of these retailers to determine if you will be welcome.

Like to Gamble?

More and more casinos are popping up around the country, and they are generally welcoming to RV’ers as well. Plenty of casinos offer free overnight parking, and they may even have a designated spot in the parking lot with electrical hookups for you to use. Of course, if you enjoy playing a casino game from time to time, you can use this as both an entertainment and convenience stop.

Think Like a Trucker

Semi-trucks crisscross the nation’s highways each and every day, and all of those truckers need somewhere to sleep for the night. Truck stops have huge parking lots, plus a variety of amenities that can be appreciated as much by the RV traveler as they are by the trucker. Call truck stop locations such as Flying J to ask if they offer free RV parking at their location. If you are able to find a truck stop to call home for the night, you will be able to gas up in the morning, get a little bit of food, and be on your way. Another benefit to using the truck stop option is the convenient locations they occupy near major freeways.

You probably aren’t going to want to spend all of your RV nights at free locations – after all, there isn’t much to see or do in the parking lot of a retail store. However, for the purposes of getting off the road and getting some sleep, the free options above can certainly get the job done while keeping money in your pocket.

  • 34 years truck driver. At the truck stops most of them have RV parking right around the RV pumps. If you do have to and want to you can park along side the big rigs but remember this a lot of us leave our trucks running so we can have heat or A/C because that is our home when we are on the road from home. Make sure you part between the lines and do NOT hang out either end of you space and if you have a small unit and you see just the tractor in a spot and plenty room- DO NOT SHARE- the same spot. And one more thing DO NOT slide out your slides, I have seen way too many get taken off during the night when a driver is backing into the spot next to you. Please don’t let this scare you off about parking at a truck stop I have seen many family’s enjoy staying there especially the ones with kids (yes the gown up ones too) walking around and checking out our rigs.
    They do have laundry but don’t try to use in the evening that when the drivers are shutting down for the day and be doing there laundry and getting there showers. So try do it in the morning.
    Showers do cost around $5.00 to $9.00 and they are clean after each use, if you get one that is not take the key back to the fuel desk and they will assign you another shower. And yes I have see family’s share the same shower for one price. And please put your trash in the trash cans, unfortunately we do have a few lazy drivers so don’t be one of them.
    I hope this help about the truck stops, if you do have questions please feel free to ask me.
    Sincerely the one and only one “THE WYOMING GHOST RIDER”

    • If you use the pumps that the trucks use, be aware that they are sized to fill a 150 gallon tank in a short time. The nozzles are bigger but will fit into both Dodge and Chevy filler necks – not sure about Fords. Be careful with the fill rate or you will be taking a diesel shower.

    • alot of walmarts won’t even let the trucks that make deliveries to their store stay on their lots at night- it is usually set by the manger and walmart has alot of asshole mangers-

    • The other side of town in Duluth the 24 hr Walmart has no problem with RV’s and truckers. I’ve even seen RV’s and trucks at the small Walmart Neighborhood store parking lots over night in both Tucker and Dunwoody.

  • you left out roadside rest areas. They range inquality from a pick-nic type area with no facilities to a well lit parking area with restrooms and often vending machines. We have even found some with free wi-fi. They are also usally pet friendly with a designated pet walking area. (just clean up after fido)

    • Some states have regulations regarding overnight stays at rest stops. For instance, in the state of Florida you may not overnight park, but you may stop and rest for up to 3 hours, regardless of what time it is.

  • James is not at all wrong about the truck stops, however, Please be mindful that as things are today, there is a severe lack of truck parking through out the country and when a driver is required to stop at the end of his fourteen hour day that he MUST park it for at least ten hours. Please don’t abuse the parking spaces as the trucks CANNOT utilize a campground. Thank you, A retired trucker.

  • I agree with Gary. I avoid truck stops as I feel they are needed more by truckers than RVers. I will stay at Flying Js in the RV section, rest areas, shopping centres and campgrounds.

  • I have stayed at Cracker Barrels on occasion. But I make a point to have a nice meal inside and contact the manager. Safe travel….

  • Ive never found a Waffle house of Huddle house with room for a camper to stop and eat much less spend a few hours.

  • I only stay in truck stops when I do not need to open the slides and its big enough with plenty of open spaces. If its crowded, I keep going to save the space for a truck. I do not mind the noise since I want to run my generator also for the AC. But the fact that a truck will take out the slides is very scary, the only times I open the slides is when the bed is open and people are sleeping there.

  • The best free parking is on the RV lot. I always wanted an RV but realized the last time it will have a good parking spot is the day it leaves the Dealer. Then thought I’d rent one for a vacation. Then realized it takes planning ahead and knowing where you will park the next night the day or two before. Then I realized a zippy little car and a Motel can be like bolt cutters to cut the ball and chain of the large vehicle. Though when I can live full time in an RV I want the big bus!!!

    • Obviously you have not spent a lot of time in motels. I work out of town in different areas every other week so I know motels. The yuck factor was a huge part of my decision making process. Then the thought of vacation costs and the major portion of that was motel rooms. Money spent on a motel is gone forever but an RV is an investment that will pay you back many times. I like not having to remove all the covers and look for bedbugs before I can lay down and sleep.

  • We full-time travel. Most of our camping is in free spots. They free sites are all over, not just at Walmart. Try Costco, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, Rest areas (in some states 12 hour parking is allowed) Around National Parks your may find BLM land with dispersed camping for up to 14 days.

    Many businesses will let you stay in their lot as long as you leave by a certain time in the morning.

    It’s their property, so be respectful and ask permission. Just because their lot is open to the shopping public (even you) it doesn’t mean you have automatic free use over night. Oh, and if you need something buy it there. We stay at Home Depot a lot and I usually go into the store and thank the manager tor the courtesy of staying the night. Some show of appreciation goes a long way.

    Most of the towns that have “NO Overnight Parking ” ordinances don’t bother enforcing them unless the store management complains. Stores now that if you park there they have a better chance of getting your business, so they may be required to put the signs up, but if you ask they will give permission with the caveat that you may be asked to move. If you are asked to move follow the rules and leave.

    Other places? Restaurants (ALWAYS CHECK WITH MANAGER), Winery tasting rooms, and sometimes even golf courses.
    we belong to two membership clubs that allow us to park for free at wineries, tasting rooms (cheese, chocolate, wine, fruit, etc) the price of membership is well worth the savings in camping for the night – or two.

    If you want a referral or more information call or message me.

  • And please be respectful of others if you are parking at a retail store. Park as far away from the store as possible. Don’t roll out the awning, set out the grill and the chairs. If you are truly just looking for a place to spend the night and sleep then you don’t need all that stuff out and about anyway. As for the slide out comments, unfortunately the only way to get from the kitchen/living space to the bedroom in our rig is to extend the slide out. Also can’t get into the bathroom without it extended. But common sense prevails – park on the outer edge of the parking lot with the slide out away from the traffic lane and it shouldn’t be an issue.

    • As with truckers it is not always a safe idea to not stop and get sleep. Sometimes road delays means you are not going to make that days destination. RV parks are not as proliferant as motels are. They are not everywhere.

  • We stayed in our travel trailer overnight in a Walmart parking lot outside of Oakland and found a warning note on our windshield the next morning. No camping allowed!

  • Save yourselft the trouble and stay in a campground I think it’s funny to watch the people drive $100,000 rigs and then worry about trying to save 30 bucks on a campground.

    • Some of those $100k rigs may actually be used and a 1/3 of the price for a lower income person and that is all they own. So saving that $30 could mean the difference between eating that week or not. An average grounded home is over 100k in the cheapest of towns anymore. And rent over $400/mo plus utlities. You need to think about the bigger picture Wyatt.

    • For reasons unknown we’ve found that some campgrounds don’t answer their phones after 5:00 or 6:00 pm, so staying with them is not an option if we arrive in an area late. January of last year my wife and I spent the night in a Gulfport, Mississippi Pilot/Flying J parking lot because none of the five campgrounds that were open to the public there would answer their phones when we called them shortly after 5:00 pm. We had been delayed because of some emergency repairs that were needed on our coach, were tired and needed a good night’s rest to continue driving safely. If RV owners just need a quick night’s sleep, aren’t inconveniencing anyone or breaking laws I see nothing wrong or “cheap” about parking free.