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Depending on where you live, RV storage is easy to find. Finding an RV storage solution for free might take a little more work and it may leave you wondering: Where can I store my RV for free?
I live in the Phoenix area and there is probably a storage unit on about every corner. Some are high-dollar storage that is inside and climate controlled. There are some with covered areas, for our triple-digit hot summers. Others have a place to dump your black tanks or wash your rig, and still, some are nothing but a fenced-in parking lot.
Finding free RV storage solutions might be a little more difficult but there are places out there that will allow you to park your RV. Let’s look at some of the options.
Where Do You Keep Your RV When Not in Use?
There are plenty of places to keep your RV when it is not being used. Off-site storage with limited access and plenty of security is probably the best option. This situation is not free, of course. You can also store your RV on your own property, keep it in an RV park or site, or find a friend who has room on their property.
No matter the cost, these short-term storage places should be easily accessible for you to take your RV out when you want to travel.
How Do You Store an RV Long Term?
Storing your RV for a length of time requires more thought than just parking it and leaving. While covered storage or climate control is best, there are other factors to think about for long-term storage.
If you can’t have your RV under a cover or in a building, purchase an exterior RV cover. Make sure you cover all vents to keep out critters. Remove all perishables and open the cabinets. Cover all the furniture, as well as prepare your refrigerator and freezer. This means cleaning and defrosting.
Remove your battery and drain all fluids. You will want to add antifreeze to your water tanks, piping, and valves. Make sure your tires are in good condition and covered. Lastly, add a fuel stabilizer, change your oil, and remove your battery.
10 Best Places to Store Your RV for Free
1. Your Property
Your own home or property is probably the best place to store your RV for free. If you have the land, you can check on your RV whenever you want. You can also take it out when you want without the hassle of getting it out of storage. If you have a large shed to store your RV, you can keep it out of the elements and safely locked inside a building.
If you don’t have a lot of property, parking a smaller RV in your garage might also be an option.
2. Street Parking in Front of Your House (Where Legal)
Parking your RV in front of your house is also an option. You need to make sure you can legally park it on the street. Check with your HOA rules, if this applies, and make sure there are no restrictions for parking an RV on the street or in your driveway.
3. Property of Friends and Family
Friends and family are a great idea for free RV parking solutions. If they have property to store your RV and are willing, they can help keep an eye on it and allow you to access the RV as needed. You might want to provide something in return for their generosity. Maybe let them borrow your RV for a trip or two.
4. A Church Parking Lot
Churches generally don’t fill their parking lots every day of the week so this could be an option for free RV parking. Even if you pay nothing, you might want to get something in writing regarding expectations. You might have to move your RV if the space is needed for a special service or event.
5. A School Parking Lot (During Summer)
A school parking lot might also serve as a place to park your RV temporarily. Make sure that you have something in writing from the school, particularly with arrival and departure dates.
6. Local Lots Not in Use
This option might take some research, but there are empty lots around buildings that are not in use. Your research will be needed to find out the owner of the lot, so you make sure you have the right permission to park your RV.
7. RV Dealership Lots for New RVs
If you are purchasing an RV, see if you can negotiate storage with the dealer. You might also be able to get discounted storage because of your purchase. When we purchased our first travel trailer, the dealership was willing to keep our new trailer on their site until we were able to move into a campground. This allowed us a couple of months to get everything ready to live in it permanently.
8. Closed Campground
If you find a campground that is closed for the season, it might work to be able to park your RV there. Again, make sure you have something in writing. If the campground were to change hands, you would not want someone to think your RV had been abandoned.
Neighboring farmers might be willing to let you park your RV near their trucks and farm equipment that are not currently in use.
10. Make It a Rental
There are many positives and negatives to making your RV a rental, but one positive is you will likely not need storage if you do. RV rental companies can help you connect with people who want to rent an RV. You can usually work around your own trip schedule to keep getting income from your RV while it’s not in use.
If you are going to rent out your RV we recommend 2 things:
- List your RV on several RV rental sites to make the most money. Here are the best peer-to-peer rental sites that we recommend:
- Get the proper insurance if you decide to rent out your RV. The insurance carrier you use, like Geico, Allstate, Nationwide, State Farm, etc., will not cover your RV if you rent it out. So we highly recommend that you insure your RV with Roamly if you plan to rent it out.
Where Can I Park My RV for Short-Term Storage?
There might be a time when you want to leave your RV in short-term storage so you can take a trip away or spend some time in another dwelling. With any of these options, you want to make sure that you have permission and are clear about the time that you need to be gone.
Walmart is generally accepting of overnight parking, but if you want to stay a bit longer, make sure that you have an ok from the manager. They will tell you where you can park and what rules you may be required to follow. You don’t want to have your RV towed away while you are gone.
Cabela’s is known for allowing overnight parking. Again, you need to ask permission even if there is designated RV parking. If you plan to stay for more than a night or two, make that clear to the manager and be sure and follow any instructions. You might also be aware of any city ordinances that would restrict the amount of time you could leave your RV.
Cracker Barrel is another business that is known for allowing overnight parking. Many of these places also have designated RV parking. Be sure and call the restaurant to get permission, and then don’t overstay your welcome.
Casinos generally have very large lots with designated RV parking. We recently found a casino online that said it had overnight parking. When we got there, we saw signs saying no RV or truck parking. Sometimes a phone call to the business is needed to confirm if parking is allowed.
Truck stops are another place where you can park your RV overnight. Don’t assume that you can leave it there for an extended period. Also, follow any rules that are posted and make sure you stay out of the way of trucks.
While these places are great for overnight stays, make sure you get permission to park your RV for more than a night or two.
Is Neighbor.com a Good Way to Find RV Storage?
Neighbor.com connects landowners who are willing to allow RV parking at their location with those who are looking for storage. You simply enter your zip code or click on your particular state and city to find storage options.
These are not necessarily free storage options but can be much cheaper than a conventional storage lot.
How Long Can I Park My RV in a Walmart Parking Lot?
In most cases, you can park your RV overnight in a Walmart parking lot. Make sure and ask for permission and follow any rules that are set forth. You might want to ask whether or not you can run a generator. You can sleep overnight but don’t put out your slides, set up chairs, and start a campfire.
Where Can I Find RV Storage Near Me?
You can find RV storage nearby via neighbor.com, a google search, or via other RVers who can give you their reviews of different places. Make sure that you find a storage place that is close to where you live if you don’t full-time RV. The closer you are, the more likely you are to want to take your RV out more often. If you must drive a long way, it’s likely you will take the RV out less often.
How Much Do RV Storage Facilities Cost?
The amount you pay for RV storage ultimately depends on what you want at the storage facility. You will pay the most if you want inside, climate-controlled storage for your RV, which could be $400 per month or more.
A facility that has good security, meaning fencing and security cameras, could cost around $100 per month. You could only pay $40-$50 dollars a month for a fenced parking lot.
Of course, all of this depends on where you live.
What Is the Cheapest Way to Store an RV (If You Can’t Find Free RV Storage)?
The cheapest way to store an RV is likely to be a fenced parking lot. While its purpose is to house RVs, it may not have all the security measures you would like. You can also find a place with storage units that allow RV parking or some other non-traditional parking situation.
Ask RVing friends in your area for recommendations and look for discounts. You might get a better price if you plan to store it for a longer period of time. Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate with storage providers to get the best deal.
Final Thoughts on Finding Free Storage for Your RV
Getting free storage for your RV is great. Who doesn’t want to save money? However, take into consideration what you are getting for free. Is your high-dollar Class A going to deteriorate while parked in someone’s field? Will it be more susceptible to theft or vandalism?
You have a lot invested in your RV, so make sure you keep that investment safe and ready to take you on plenty of adventures in the future.
1. Indoor Versus Outdoor RV Storage Facilities
2. Should You Store an RV With the Slides In or Out?
3. 10 Steps to Properly Store Your RV for Winter Without Doing Damage
4. 25 Essential Tips for Storing an RV in Hot Weather
5. How to Store an RV Water Filter Between Trips
About the author:
Terri Nighswonger and her husband Todd are full-time RVers and work campers. They have been living full-time in their RV for nearly three years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Minnie Australian Shepherd, Remi.
They originate from the Midwest but plan to enjoy the west for a few years, wintering in Arizona and summering wherever the road may lead. Writing is Terri’s passion, but she also loves hiking, kayaking, walking her dogs, and anything she can do outdoors.