15 Great Overnight Parking Options (Other Than Walmart Camping)
Walmart stores have long been a favorite overnight parking option for road-weary RVers. Over the past few years, it’s become increasingly difficult to find a Walmart that welcomes overnighting RVs. The change comes on the heels of a huge spike in the popularity of RVs.
There are still Walmarts around that welcome RVers, but Walmart camping isn’t the only option. There are many other safe, budget-friendly overnight options when you need a break from the highway.
It’s super easy to find these overnight parking options, campgrounds, rest areas, and more while planning your trip with RV LIFE Trip Wizard. We’ve listed 15 awesome overnight parking options that are worth checking into.
1. Harvest Hosts
A Harvest Hosts membership allows you to overnight at thousands of wineries, breweries, museums, farms, and golf courses throughout the USA and Canada. The $99 flat-fee membership allows you to stay overnight at as many of its host locations as you want.
Some locations are pet-friendly, while others aren’t. The only catch is that your rig has to be fully self-contained, and guests are strongly encouraged to make a purchase to support the host business.
Unlike Walmart camping, you’ll usually be camping in a peaceful place where you can really rest. You should call ahead to your host and let them know you are coming.
2. Boondockers Welcome
Boondockers Welcome is very much like Harvest Hosts, except the hosts are friendly RVers who like meeting other RV travelers and hosting them on their property. There are more than 3,000 Boondocker Welcome hosts, all over North America.
RVers who stay with Boondockers Welcome often say it’s a great way to make new friends. Boondockers Welcome is usually just for one-night stays, although some locations will welcome you to stay for more than one night.
The rules are simple: you must have a self-contained RV that can sustain you for the duration of your stay. With that being said, some Boondockers Welcome hosts offer some level of power or water hookups for a small fee.
3. Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shops
Most Cabela’s stores and Bass Pro Shops welcome overnight RV parking. Some stores even offer a dump station and freshwater filling station. Always ask if it’s okay to park overnight and where they want you to park.
It’s a good idea to show your host that you appreciate having a free place to park overnight by buying something in their store. Since both Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops sell a huge selection of outdoor gear including camping and RV supplies, this isn’t hard to do.
4. Cracker Barrel
Whether you want to end your driving day with a legendary meal or get some rest before starting the day with an amazing breakfast, Cracker Barrel is there for you.
Most Cracker Barrel stores welcome RVers and even allot parking space just for RVs. However, it’s a good idea to ask before you get settled in and let the manager know you’re there to spend the night. Be sure to buy a meal or some of Cracker Barrel’s very cool merchandise before you go on your way in the morning.
5. Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club is another store that may be a good spot to park for the night. The same rules of RV etiquette apply here as for other stores on this list. That is, let management know you’re there, ask permission to overnight, don’t treat it like a campsite, and buy something as a way to thank your host.
6. Rest areas
Rest areas can be great spots to spend the night. However, whether overnight camping is allowed depends on which state it’s in. Regardless of that, you’ll almost always be allowed to spend 8-10 hours at a rest area. If you’re tired, sleeping for a short while is better than being a rolling danger on the highway.
Rest areas that are close to towns and cities might not be safe for overnighting in your RV. You should definitely do some research before you park overnight in a rest area. You can use Street View on RV LIFE Trip Wizard to get an idea of what a rest stop is like before you commit to stopping in.
7. Chain-up pullout areas (Summer only)
If you’re driving through the mountains, you’ll definitely come across large pullout areas that are meant for pulling over to put on or take off tire chains.
These pullout areas often have a pit toilet and trash cans. A chainup pullout area can be a great place to spend the night in your RV; however, you should know that truck drivers also like to use these spots to rest. It’s a good idea to give them plenty of space.
8. Pilot Flying J Truck Stops
Pilot Flying J offers RV overnight parking areas, along with other amenities such as RV fueling lanes, RV dump stations, and propane filling. When you overnight at a Pilot Flying J, find a spot in the RV overnight area; if you aren’t sure where it’s located, you can always ask an attendant. Be sure to stay out of the area that is meant for truck parking.
9. Love’s Travel Stops
This isn’t just a truck stop anymore. Love’s Travel Stops are now really catering to RVs. They have a growing list of locations offering RV overnight parking areas with water, power, and Wi-Fi. And that’s not all. Love’s offers shower facilities, dump stations, and laundromats. Some Love’s locations even feature dog parks so RV dogs can stretch their legs.
Expect to pay around $40 for a fully serviced RV site. You can also park overnight in an unserviced parking area. However, be sure to park in an area designated for RVs and not the area truckers use to get rested for driving. Trucks help keep the nation’s economy rolling, so never interfere with that.
Most churches have huge parking lots and don’t mind allowing an RV or two to spend the night. Many RVers like to overnight in church parking lots because they are generally quiet and peaceful places to spend the night. They are almost always quieter than Walmart camping.
You should always ask before you park at a church, and it’s a nice touch to show your gratitude with a donation in the morning.
11. Shopping malls
Some shopping malls offer RV parking in parking areas reserved for RVs. It’s advisable to call the mall’s management and find out if they have an RV parking area, if overnighting is allowed, and where you can park.
Malls will usually be okay with RV overnight parking for one night. Mall camping is much like Walmart camping in many ways. You should not set up camp outside of your RV, and it’s a great idea to support the mall by grabbing food in the food court or shopping for something you need.
12. County fairgrounds
When counties aren’t having fairs, they often have lots of space available for overnight parking for a small fee. County fairgound camping is a huge improvement over Walmart camping. You’ll also be helping to support a small community with your dollars.
Sometimes they will offer electrical and water hookups. It’s best to call ahead and find out if overnight RV parking space is available.
Casinos frequently have RV parks or at least parking lots where you can park for the night. As always, talk to management ahead of time to make sure they will have room and where the best place to park is.
14. National Forests
You can overnight for free in most areas of national forests. That’s as long as you aren’t in a campground and you aren’t impeding traffic. If there is a wide enough shoulder or pullout for your rig, you’ll be free to use it.
If you choose to park off of a forest service road, it’s always smart to research it thoroughly first. You’ll want to make sure its in good shape and you can exit easily in the morning.
15. BLM Land
If you are in the Western US, you can usually find Bureau of Land Management (BLM) dispersed camping where you can park overnight for free. You won’t miss Walmart camping when you’re parked on BLM land. These beautiful places are free and allow you to stay up to two weeks.
Find overnight parking and more
For help mapping out your route for your next RV getaway, look no further than RV LIFE Trip Wizard. This online planning tool makes it easy to plan an RV-safe route. It can also locate interesting sites along the way, all according to your travel preferences. Get RV LIFE Trip Wizard with its accompanying RV LIFE App, and start planning your adventure today!