This article was written in partnership with Family Motor Coach Association.
Whether you’re a full-time or part-time, living in an RV can quickly get expensive. Sure, some benefits make up for the price tag—you get to follow the warm weather as the seasons change, you can wake up to different panoramic views outside of your bed every morning, and you have the opportunity to break out of a “traditional” lifestyle.
Overnight Parking Lots
When you’re trying to travel as many miles as you can in a given day, and you aren’t worried about anything but covering ground, the idea of paying $50 or more per night to stay at an RV park is an unwelcome prospect. Unfortunately, campsites that charge this much are becoming commonplace. Fortunately, we have composed a list of places that offer free, overnight parking for RVs. These places allow RVers to pull off the road and rest for a few hours without breaking the bank.
- Walmart– You’ve probably heard the rumors that you can boondock camp in a Walmart parking lot overnight, and we’re here to (sort of) confirm that. However, you should ALWAYS ask permission before you “wallydock” at Walmart. We recommend that you read this guide to Wallydocking so you know what to expect.
- Cracker Barrel – Cracker Barrel restaurants are known for their country-style home cooking and southern hospitality. Part of that southern hospitality extends beyond the rocking chair-covered front porch and into their parking lots. Most Cracker Barrels have RV parking in the back to provide travelers with a place to rest their eyes. And most importantly: don’t forget to fuel up with breakfast in the morning before hitting the road!
- Flying J Truck Stops – These truck stops aren’t just reserved for semi-truck drivers. Flying J Truck Stops are great places to refuel your RV and enjoy the amenities of an oversized parking space for a few hours. The stations are large enough that you can easily manage to maneuver your rig around the parking lots, and some even have RV dumping stations.
Army Corps of Engineers
The Army Corps of Engineers manages lakes, dams, and waterways across the country for public use in the form of camping and other recreational activities. These well maintained campgrounds are inside large plots of land and usually sit off the beaten path, offering a serene, yet accommodating, experience for all kinds of RVers. While some lack full hook-ups, most at least offer a paved and level parking space for your camper.
Part of what keeps these campgrounds so nice is the fact that they are hard to find and less traveled than the popular campgrounds that you see across the country. Family Motor Coach Association created this guide to help you research and locate these popular, yet elusive, COE campgrounds.
Similar to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has sites across America that are accessible for public recreation and camping. These are enormous plots of land, totaling nearly 250 million acres.
The US Government allows people to go out onto this land and camp for free. They aren’t “campgrounds” as much as designated camping spaces where you can park your RV. One of the additional upshots of these spaces is the amount of solitude they offer. One can stay at one of these sites and not see anybody around for miles. You can read about these designated spaces and reserve spots (if reservations are available) here.
If you’re trying to save money, going to a casino might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but many casinos offer free overnight RV parking. Sure, at the end of the day they are still expecting to get your money, but spending the same amount you’d spend at a campground on the slot machines can be an exciting alternative to a night around the campfire. And who knows? You might even win big!
To find a list of casinos that allow RV camping, check out CasinoCamper.