Where Can I Park My RV For Free?

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Written By Jay Clatworthy

Off Grid Camping contributor.

Where Can I Park My RV For Free

Parking an RV for free

There are various legal locations to park your RV for free during camping trips. However, you should observe specific precautions to avoid getting into trouble in particular parking locations.

Store Parking Lots

Some large retail chain stores are commonly known to travelers as a place that offers free parking for your recreational vehicles. These areas are spacious and provide a place where you can conveniently restock your supplies. 

However, there are tips to observe when planning to park in-store parking lots. The primary thing to consider is that not all establishments have the same policy. So make sure to be aware of the different policies before you park your RVs for a certain amount of time, or you might end up paying a fine.

The second tip is to observe the area for signs indicating “No overnight parking,” which implies exactly what it states. You could also ask the manager or personnel in charge whether or not they allow RVs to be parked overnight or if you would have to pay a certain fee.

Even when the answer to that question is “no,” they can still help you by directing you to a site that allows you to park your RV, so always ask first.

Restaurant Parking Lots

If you have purchased or leased a small recreational vehicle, it will be easier for you to look for a parking lot than semi-truck typed RV’s. One of the accessible locations to park your RV during camping trips is on food chain restaurants’ parking area, typically found on freeway exits. Some food chains provide a parking area reserved explicitly for RVs. 

The benefit of parking in these locations is that they offer a venue where you can access reasonable, convenient and affordable food. In addition, almost all restaurants offer free access to their internet connection. However, similar to what was previously mentioned, it is essential to ask permission from authorized personnel if their policy allows RVs to camp overnight in their parking lots. Again, ordinances vary in different locations. 

Truck Stops

Truck stops are present almost everywhere. These are spacious parking areas specifically designed for trucks, RVs, and other large vehicles to stop over for drivers to stay and relax when they are exhausted from driving. You can stay here for a couple of days and enjoy a stop free of charge. 

The benefit of choosing them as a venue for RV camping includes a free and spacious parking area, accessible fuel station in the area, fast-food chains, and convenience stores to restock your essentials. Some of these stops are even equipped with shower facilities and laundry shops. Truck stops are an excellent choice when looking for a spot to park your RVs, especially when it comes to being budget-friendly.

Why do people avoid paid parking for their RV?

Practical

It is a practical choice to look for free parking whenever going RV camping. This is primarily because RVs aren’t cheap to own, maintain, nor lease. One way of cutting down on costs and expenses is, of course, to resort to free parking. 

Accessible parking areas for RVs during overnight stays include truck stops, store and restaurant parking lots, and casinos. Despite the fact that they are free, these areas offer numerous advantages. It’s incredibly advantageous to park your RVs in truck stops, stores, and other places. 

This is because you can quickly restock your daily supplies, enjoy good food in easily accessible areas, and be close to shops that sell the components and accessories you need to maintain your RVs’ functionality. Aside from that, you can access the facilities they have that are absent in your RVs, including shower areas, comfort rooms, internet connection, and many more. 

Also, it is safe to park in these areas because most establishments have security personnel who guard the perimeter.

Avoid crowds, noises, and having privacy.

Some of the benefits of RV camping include having privacy and avoiding noisy crowds. RVs are mostly constructed with sturdy metal walls, so you can really enjoy all the privacy and security you need. These walls cannot be easily penetrated. 

Whenever loud sounds are near the area, the walls serve as a barrier to decrease the noise you may hear from the inside, allowing you space for yourself and your companions to relax with nature and away from crowds. 

Parking your RV in a regular parking lot

It is possible to park your RV in a regular parking lot. However, there are factors to consider before doing so. Different establishments have different policies, so make sure to be aware of those.  

The next factor to think about is the size of your RV. This is vital to consider, as this will prevent any disturbance to the flow of vehicles in the area you plan to park on. 

Lastly, it is crucial to observe the distance and space you plan to park your RV as this ensures that you can adequately maneuver the size of your RV safely in the parking area.

Is it safe to park an RV in front of the house?

Parking your RV in front of your house depends on the city you live in.

There are pieces of equipment and precautions you can take to ensure the safety of your RV. These include an alarm, CCTV, wheel clamp, and additional locking systems, which serve as security features to prevent any loss of items.

Always keep an eye on your RV. Due to their high value, they most likely attract thieves. If possible, park the RV near your house to make sure that you keep a close watch on it. All these precautions will keep your RV safe. However, it is still crucial to follow policies and ordinances before parking them in front of your houses. 

Parking your RV on the street

Certain areas allow you to park freely on the street for some time. However, this matter purely depends on the laws and policies on where you live. 

Some streets only allow you to park your RVs for 72 hours. If ever you think you will exceed the allotted period, it is better to secure a permit to extend your parking time and avoid any violations. 

When you plan to own a recreational vehicle, investing in your own parking lot is important. This is the best way to feel secure knowing that your vehicle is safely parked at a place you call your own. 

The specific laws and rules that you need to remember when parking in your house driveways are RVs’ required distance and housing. 

The universal space when parking your RVs in your driveway is 12 feet away from the sidewalk. This will ensure that you avoid causing any disturbance and delays to your fellow citizens. 

In terms of housing, if your house lot measures 2 acres or more, you must provide fencing around your RVs parking area, either it may be by hedge, fence, or trees. 

However, to fully ensure that you don’t violate any laws and policies, it is crucial to ask authorized personnel and departments about the specific requirements needed to park your recreational vehicle on the street or your driveways.

The best way to find free parking for an RV

Ask the locals

It would help if you asked the locals where to find the best parking areas to accommodate your RVs for free. This is significant to consider, especially when going to new and unfamiliar places. The locals are familiar with the area and know what rules and regulations to follow. They will provide you directions to the best location you can park your recreational vehicle for free.

Find a police officer to ask

It is advisable to proceed to the local police department or look for an office and ask them for a secured location to park your RV for free. This will ensure that you locate a site where you can park your RV safely for free without fear of violating any laws. 

Police officers know where designated areas for your specific vehicles are and the laws regulating the area you plan to stay in. 

Sites and applications for free parking

In this modern world, certain technological advancements are made to assist us in locating specific areas to park our vehicles for free. You can now download apps (GPS) on your smartphones and tablets and access them in finding the nearest location that can accommodate your RVs for free.

One we highly recomend is ‘Wikicamps’ which costs a small one time fee, but has thousands of camping locations included.