RV Parking Guide 101

RV Parking Guide 101

Traveling by RV is a great way to experience the road and explore the country without sacrificing all of the niceties of your home. You’ll be able to stay in your own accommodations if you’d rather not camp outside. You can also cook and use your own restroom, so you can travel comfortably.

RVs offer a great way to travel. However, they aren’t without drawbacks or at least specific considerations. The biggest problem you might face when journeying in a recreational vehicle is where to park it overnight. After all, you can’t drive and sleep at the same time, so you’ll have to stop at some point. But RVs tend to be very large, so they can’t be parked just anywhere.

Where Can You Park An RV Overnight?

Whether you’ve reached your final destination or are just enjoying the journey as you travel cross-country, you’ll eventually have to park your vehicle somewhere for the night. Fortunately, there are actually numerous places that can accommodate anything from a Winnebago to a Forest River RV and every one of the many types of RV in between. Here are a few types of locations where you can keep your RV overnight:

  • Campgrounds
  • RV Parks
  • Certain Business Parking Lots
  • Specific Streets
  • Unconventional Campsites

What to Know About Overnight RV Parking by Location

There are potential options in each of these categories listed above. However, there are also some things you should know before you park that will depend on the parking place that you select. Campsites and street parking, for instance, will offer very different experiences and also will be subject to varying rules and guidelines.


If you want to settle your RV in the thick of nature so that you can sleep among the stars, then a campground is going to be the perfect place. You’ll be able to fall asleep to the sounds of nature and wake up with chirping birds. Campgrounds offer a beautiful opportunity to connect with the earth and enjoy the stunning scenery. Furthermore, they’re often great chances to enjoy the peace and quiet and get in touch with yourself, as well.

However, there are a few different types of locations. Furthermore, there are some things to know before you choose your campground that can really affect your overall experience. Traditional campgrounds have many options, but they are either privately-owned or public campgrounds on land that is owned by the government, such as national parks or areas run by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Private campgrounds are going to be businesses run by people or companies on their own land rather than on government land. Therefore, the chief concern is going to be turning a profit instead of offering a public service. However, this means that the experience is often going to be heightened since campers will be treated as customers, and the focus will be on building a loyal relationship so that visitors will return in the future. To that end, they usually offer the nicest amenities and features of any type of campground so that they are able to provide a competitive experience to encourage repeat business.

Public campgrounds, on the other hand, are typically located on Nation or State Parks, as well as BLM land. They often have fewer amenities; however, sometimes, this can provide a more rustic experience that helps campers better commune with nature. Furthermore, they tend to provide cheaper options, if not ones that are entirely free of charge. However, this type of campground often has to be booked out well in advance because sites fill up quickly.

RV Parks

Once you take your Puma XLE on the road, another great option for overnight parking is at an RV Park. However, if you’re wondering what the differences between these sites and campgrounds are, the answer is that it depends. Sometimes, RV Parks are practically the same as campgrounds, and the distinction comes down to marketing. However, there are some places, like RV Resorts, that will only permit guests that have specific types of recreational vehicles and are not open to those without RVs.

However, no matter what type of RV park you are planning to use, you’ll want to do some research before committing to use their grounds. To start, look at reviews and investigate the reputation of any park that you are considering. If you want to really be sure that they’re a good option, you can always reach out to your RV Dealership to see if they have any recommendations.

The accommodations that the RV Park provides are something else to check on. However, what features and facilities are needed is going to vary from person to person. Similarly, the cost per night is an important factor, but the implications of the price for an RV Park will depend on your budget. However, security and safety features are going to be universally important and should always be investigated before initiating a stay.

Certain Business Parking Lots

If you need to spend the night in an urban or suburban area where campgrounds and RV Parks are either not an option or are full, you can often stay in an ordinary parking lot. That being said, you can’t stay in just any parking lot, because many places will not allow people to use their lots overnight. Therefore, you’ll need to do some research and plan strategically.

Typically, Walmarts are a good option. Many Walmarts have a specific policy to accommodate and permit people to park overnight. However, this is not a universal rule, so you should check with the individual Walmart.

Fortunately, there are other great options as well. These can include establishments such as Cracker Barrel, which has 24-hour security measures in place, and parking spaces that can fit your Rockwood RV. Cabela’s is another solid option, as are truck stops like Flying J. The latter is great as well because they will have useful features, like places to refill propane and dump stations.

Often, casinos or stores like Costco can present opportunities for overnight parking. However, you’ll want to be cautious and aware if choosing to stay in these locations. You may also have luck at non-business parking lots, like those of churches. However, if you opt to stay somewhere like that, you should always call and ask for permission first.

Specific Streets

Street parking can be another option if you’re in a city or town. However, there are a lot of things to think about and plan for first. It’s not advised to just take any random open spot because this can get you in trouble or lead to unsafe situations.

The first thing to know is that residential areas are always the ideal place to park. Not only will they be quieter, so you can actually get some sleep, they’re going to be much less dangerous as well. That being said, not all residential neighborhoods are created equal. You’ll want to find an area that is safe but isn’t too wealthy. If you stay in the nicest neighborhood possible, you’ll likely wind up waking up to a police officer knocking on your window.

There are also some best practices that you should let guide you if you decide to park on the street. Never park in areas that could reasonably make you seem suspicious or a danger. This means don’t plant your RV in schools, parks, playgrounds, etc.

You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t draw attention. It’s hard to disguise a vehicle like a Cherokee RV since they take up so much space. But you’ll want to do as much as possible to minimize your intrusion on the neighborhood and ensure that you aren’t attracting eyes.

Unconventional Campsites

There are also lots of other places for overnight RV parking if you are comfortable breaking with tradition and exploring new opportunities and apps. There are also various websites that can be great resources for locating campsites or setting up accommodations.

For instance, Hipcamp can help connect RV travelers with private campgrounds. It’s a great website to use if you want to find lesser-known spots and hidden gems. However, it will also showcase options at large locations with established reputations as well.

If you’d like to explore possibilities beyond traditional campsites, there are numerous resources that can help you set up a place to stay overnight. Plus, these often will allow you to stay for an affordable price and have a unique experience as well.

Harvest Hosts, for example, is an awesome site that helps RV travelers find businesses, like farms and restaurants, that will allow them to use their parking lot or land to stay the night. Unfortunately, it’s not an option for everyone, as it is only available to those with self-contained RVs. However, if you fall into this category, it can be a great way to find a place to stay for very little money. Harvest Hosts does require a fee before you can use it, but there is typically no firm cost for the accommodations that it facilitates. Instead, you’re just asked to patronize the business in a way that you are comfortable with.

Similarly, Couchsurfing can help connect travelers of any kind with hosts willing to take them in. This is ideal if you want to make a personal connection or new friend and have a unique, warm experience in the town you’re staying in. Many hosts will take pains to welcome their guests, even if they’re just allowing the use of their driveway, and will show you around the area.

There are also tons of apps that can be amazing sources of information to help you on your RV journey. RVParky offers a map of places that can accommodate RVs. It even offers information on the amenities available and past user experiences. Togo RV’s Overnight RV Parking app allows you to see where free overnight parking is possible for a subscription fee. AllStays and Park Advisor are other apps worth looking into, as well.

What Else Should You Know About Traveling by RV?

RVs are great, but they offer a very specific travel experience. This means you’re going to have different opportunities than you would if you were driving, flying, hiking, etc., and planning to stay at a hotel, tent, or other location. However, since they provide a special and unique trip, there are also lots of other things to know and consider before taking a trip in an RV.

You’ll want to consider things like the gas and power needs of a recreational vehicle before investing. You’ll also have to think about where you can find dump sites and places to refill your propane before you embark on your journey. Options like an RV extended warranty can be good to investigate as well since they can help protect your investment. For more information, RV Wholesalers has a blog with lots of great posts. These articles cover everything from the benefits of RVs to top tips to keep in mind before hitting the road.