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With the ever-increasing cost of campgrounds, many RVers are looking for free overnight RV parking and camping to save money. Many folks search on RV forums to find free RV camping or parking every day. It has just become too expensive for RVers to spend $50 or more to stay one night at a campground and then be on the way to their ultimate destination in the morning.
What is Overnight RV Parking?
Overnight RV parking means that you are parking your RV for one night to get some sleep between destinations. Rather than pay $50 or more to stay one night in a campground then leave the next morning, some folks prefer to avoid the campground fee, save their money, and find a free place to park. Hence the term, overnight RV parking.
Parking differs from camping, though. When you park overnight, you don’t set up camp by extending the awning, breaking out the folding chairs, and having a barbecue. You are typically dry camping in a parking lot to get some shut-eye, then hitting the road in the morning toward your ultimate camping destination. Why pay to park your RV in an RV park to arrive after dark and then leave in the morning when there are so many free boondocking sites to stay overnight?
What is the Best Way to Find Free Overnight RV Parking?
The best way to find free overnight RV parking is through a website called OvernightRVParking (or what we lovingly call ONRVP) which is available as part of the TOGO RV website. It is the largest database of free RV parking locations in any state or province in the U.S. and Canada—and it is incredibly cheap to join!
Their impressive database consists of over 15,000 RV parking (and non-parking) locations. There are a ton of free camping spots all around the country. When I spoke to the owner of ONRVP, I learned that he and his subscribers have been adding locations to the database for over 12 years now, and the database keeps growing with more subscribers adding new locations and updating existing ones.
How Does Overnight RV Parking Work?
ONRVP allows its members to search by location to find free overnight RV parking locations. You can either search from your computer or download the app and search on your phone. When you search, a map will appear with all of the locations in the database in your surrounding area.
The locations are marked by different colored pins, which denote the overnight parking status for each location. For example, a bright green pin means it’s okay to park overnight, but a red pin means overnight parking is not permitted. There are seven informative pin colors, each with its own meaning.
When you hover over a pin, the name of the location will pop up. Then when you click on it, an information box appears to the right, as shown above for a Walmart SuperCenter. As you can see, the information includes the store name, parking status, address, and telephone number.
It also includes comments, directions, and the date of the most recent update to the location. The comments include essential information such as instructions to speak to the manager before your stay. Also included is a description of the parking lot, nearby restaurants, and gas stations too.
Another important feature is that you can see what other RVers say about a particular location’s privacy, security, and safety. They offer some great tips for finding nearby food and gas locations.
You can learn if a particular business is RV friendly. However, not all businesses allow overnight parking, so be sure to ask permission before staying the night to avoid violating a store or city policy.
Can’t I Stay Free at Any Walmart Overnight in My RV?
We used to stay at pretty much any Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and other free locations, but not every location allows free overnight RV parking anymore. The only way to know for sure is to call ahead or show up and hope for the best.
That’s why we love ONRVP so much. It’s as easy as opening it up on your cell phone; then the site lets you know which locations allow overnight parking and which locations don’t!
Best of all, these locations are reviewed and updated by our fellow RVers, so we always get the latest and greatest info. Over 800 Walmarts have stopped allowing overnight parking in the past year alone, but all of these locations have been updated on the site.
How Many Locations Are In The Overnight RV Parking Database?
There are over 15,000 locations in the database! There is no other database as extensive or complete, and you’ll be happy to know that there are thousands of places to stay overnight for free besides a Walmart parking lot. There are free overnight RV parking maps of the U.S. and Canada showing all of the locations in the database. They are everywhere!
Examples of Locations That Allow Free Overnight Parking
Many locations allow free RV overnight parking. I have written articles about free overnight parking at Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and Costco, but many other locations allow free overnight RV parking. Here is a list of some locations you are sure to find along your road trip.
- Bass Pro Shops
- Home Depot
- Grocery Stores
- Pilot Flying J Travel Centers and Truck Stops
- Rest Areas
- Planet Fitness (If you have a membership)
- Camping World
- Bureau of Land Management Locations
How Is Each Location Updated?
Roughly 100 updates per week are added for new and existing locations from subscribers and the folks at ONRVP. Subscribers are encouraged to fill out the OvernightRVParking Site Report Form and submit it for review each time they stay overnight somewhere.
ONRVP then reviews and verifies the information and, if accepted, they update the map and database. In return for the update, the subscriber has their membership extended by two weeks!
It’s an excellent way for RVers to help fellow RV enthusiasts save some money and find a free place to stay the night too. Also, ONRVP actively contacts stores, casinos, and local and state governments to find new locations and ensure that the information provided is complete, accurate, and up to date.
There are many pros involved with ONRVP—let’s examine those a little closer.
We don’t always stay overnight in a parking lot, but when we are in transit from one place to another and need a place to pull over, this app comes in handy. We don’t like spending $50 to spend one night in a campground when we arrive after dark and then hit the road in the morning.
This app helps to save us hundreds of dollars a year. For less than $2.00 a month, we can save money rather than pay $50 a night at a campground!
2️⃣ Accurate Updates
We like to receive updates from other RVers with info about the location. We can quickly see where we will park and if there are gas stations or restaurants around too. Other RVers are interested in the same info, so their updates are right on target.
3️⃣ Updates From RVers are Verified
When an RVer updates a location, the admin team takes the time to verify the info by calling the store or municipality to confirm. This helps to ensure accurate information and is what sets ONRVP apart from other apps.
4️⃣ Information on Locations That Aren’t Free
The app tells us where we can stay and where we can’t park overnight. It’s great because we don’t waste time driving to a Walmart that doesn’t allow overnight RV parking.
5️⃣ Helping Other RVers
We like the idea that updating or creating an overnight location helps our fellow RVers. It’s nice to have a way to give back to the RV community.
6️⃣ No Auto-Renew Feature
The app does not auto-renew your membership, so after your 15-month subscription ends, your credit card won’t automatically be charged for another year.
How Much Does Overnight RV Parking Cost?
To have access to OvernightRVParking all you need to do is purchase an annual subscription with TogoRV for $39.99 a year! And not only will you have access to OvernightRVParking but you also get:
- RV Safe GPS
- Save up to 45% on tires from Bridgestone, Firestone, Michelin, and BFGoodrich.
- Get up to 25% with discounts from some of your favorite RV, camping, and gear brands.
- Free access to Roadtrippers PLUS Trip planning App
CLICK BELOW and save $10.00 off the Subscription!
Then Use Discount Code RVBLOGGER (all Caps)
Why We Love the Overnight RV Parking App
If you’re like us, when we travel a long distance and need a place to sleep overnight, we think it’s way too expensive to spend at least $50 a night to stay in an RV park. Staying for free at a location that is reviewed by other RVers is a way better option.
OvernightRVParking is the best source for free and inexpensive places to stay overnight in our RV. The database now has more than 15,000 locations listed! We absolutely love this app, and we highly recommend it for beginners or experienced RVers alike.
Go to ONRVP and sign up on the website for a one-year subscription—and get three months for free! You really can’t go wrong with a deal like that!
Note: If you are interested, it’s best to sign up online first through one of our page links. Then you can visit the app store and download the app afterward by using the username and password you set up when joining through our link.
When making the long trip to your ultimate camping destination, we know that ONRVP is the best option for you to save your hard-earned cash. Instead of blowing money on a simple overnight stop, put it towards making a fantastic RV adventure!
Alternatives to ONRVP to Find Free Overnight RV Parking
Although OvernightRVParking is our favorite resource for finding the best free overnight RV camping spots, it’s not the only resource out there. Here are two of the best alternatives to the ONRVP website and app for finding free RV parking.
Boondockers Welcome is a membership that connects private property owners with RVers looking for a free place to stay for the weekend or overnight. With Boondockers Welcome, members have access to a database of hosts willing to park RVs on their property.
Boondockers Welcome properties are legal, safe, and totally free. You might stay on a farm one night and in a city driveway or lot the next! Hosts are varied and each experience is unique.
Harvest Hosts is another great camping membership to find free overnight RV parking across the country. A Harvest Hosts membership grants members access to over 2,800 free RV parking and camping spots at places like wineries, breweries, restaurants, museums, farms, and much more.
A Harvest Hosts membership opens up more private businesses to RVers than are available on ONRVP and aside from the yearly membership, camping is always free. Members are always encouraged to support the businesses as a thank-you, but there is never any fee to stay at a Harvest Hosts location.
Free Overnight RV Parking Etiquette
There are a few unspoken rules when it comes to being respectful at free parking locations. Here are the top rules to follow.
- Pack It In, Pack It Out: Clean up after yourself and practice “Pack it in, Pack it out” principles. Don’t litter and never dump your tanks on the ground. This means cleaning up after your pets, too!
- Keep a Low Profile: Don’t set up camp outside your RV unless you’re somewhere like a Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, or other approved “camping” location. If you’re parked in a parking lot overnight, stay inside.
- Avoid Using Slides or Jacks: Most parking lot owners frown upon the use of hydraulic leveling jacks or slide-outs for overnight parking. Jacks damage soft asphalt and slide-outs look like you’re setting up camp. If you can’t access your RV without opening slides, it’s acceptable. Otherwise try to keep as low of a profile as possible.
- Arrival and Departure: Arrive late, leave early at free parking spots in parking lots. These locations are busy during daylight hours and should only be used for short periods for sleep and rest.
Quiet Hours: Observe general quiet hours and avoid playing loud music or running your generator all night long.