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You’ve been ont he road for at least eight hours and it’s starting to get dark.
The last thing you feel like doing, is setting up camp, especially when you know you have an early start tomorrow.
You don’t have to set up camp. You can just park and sleep. It’s called overnight RV parking.
Urban legend: Sam Walton was an RVer
Walmart has been among the most friendliest towards RVers. You will usually find an RV section in a Walmart store and Walmart has always been welcoming towards overnight RV parking.
I spent a rainy, stormy night in the parking lot of a new Walmart store in Ogallala, NE. The next morning, a store employee engaged me in conversation about my T@b and she said it was not only alright that I spent the night there, but that overnight RV and truck parking was part of the plan when the store was built. They had a huge parking lot in the back for trucks and they encouraged small trailers, like my T@b to stay in the main parking lot.
It’s a changing landscape
It’s important that you check to make sure overnight parking is still available every time you travel because sometimes the status can change due to a management decision or a change in local ordinances.
As more people take to the road, and the surge in RV sales, you also see more people abusing the privilege of Overnight RV Parking. For example, since 2010, the number of Walmarts that allow overnight RV parking has dropped from about 78% to approximately 58%.
The Good Neighbor Policy
To help stem the increasing restrictions on overnight parking, several groups within the RV community worked together to craft the “Good Neighbor Policy.” Essentially, the policy is compromised of eight guidelines to provide guidance on behaviors that will enable us to continue to take advantage of overnight RV parking.
The guidelines are as follows:
1. Stay one night only!
2. Obtain permission from a qualified individual.
3. Obey posted regulations.
4. No awnings, chairs, or barbecue grills outside your RV.
5. Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt).
6. Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.
7. Purchase gas, food, or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible.
8. Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe..
Bonus Tips for Overnight RV Parking
Just because overnight parking is allowed somewhere, does not mean its a desirable spot to stay.
I will typically usually Google Maps Street View and check reviews of locations to get a feel for whether it is the right stop. The Overnight RV Parking app also will have notes from people who have parked their to help you know what to expect.
When I first got started, I kept a list of spots that were desirable, and spots that were not. I also pre-scanned my route for the best options along the way and it I had a choice between going two different ways and one offered more overnight parking opportunities, I will typically default to that route.
It is fairly common to endure the sound of large trucks running overnight. For the most part, I have been able to sleep through that, although it is more di
The Joy of Overnight RV Parking
I have spent countless nights overnight parking and consider it as one resource for trip planning. You probably won’t find me overnight RV parking in hot, humid weather as I tend to opt for campgrounds with shore power so I can run the AC, but it has been a welcome relief on countless nights as I pull in, unplug the seven pin connector on my Jeep, and catch a good night’s sleep.
Is overnight parking a part of your experience?
Do you take advantage of overnight parking when you travel? Let me know in the comments.