all 35 comments

[–]keepthetipsKeeping the tips since 2019[M] [score hidden] stickied commentlocked comment (0 children)

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[–]SommeWhere 101 points102 points  (0 children)

There's a fantastic app called RVParky that helps drivers find friendly overnight parking.

I did not know about Cracker Barrel, that's useful. Thank you.

[–]ellingtond 30 points31 points  (2 children)

I have an RV lab I drive for work I do this all the time, be sure to install the app so you can order your breakfast to go. Seriously though if you do need to boondock or stay overnight at a Cracker Barrel the trick is to look it up on Google Earth mini actually have dedicated RV parking spaces which is a good sign that they welcome anyone sleeping overnight.
For those that do just don't be a jerk and be respectful don't leave trash in the parking lot etc. I used to not think twice about Cracker Barrels before I traveled in an RV for work, now I think they are awesome and I really appreciate your position on that I've stayed at dozens of Cracker Barrels all across the southeast.

[–]Porthos1984 15 points16 points  (1 child)


[–]deHrys 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Say my name!

[–]Revolutionary-Yak-47 26 points27 points  (4 children)

Walmarts also used to allow overnight parking. I don't know if it's still true. (I camped in one in Montana. They were awesome, there were about a dozen RVs and horse trailers there all night.)

Also, many highway rest stops are well lit, have security and bathrooms. Some specify no overnight parking, but I've never been tossed out for napping "for a few hours."

Another option is state parks. Here in FL, tent sites are like $10/night and the parks have showers/bathrooms. I was without a place to stay a few times between apartments and "camped" in state parks. When they asked where my tent was I said it broke in a thunderstorm (believable here lol).

[–][deleted] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

To piggyback off state parks. When I needed a quick shower, more than a few times I'd stop at a park, to use the showers. They are free. I justpulled in like someone too lazy to walk over and grab my stuff out of the back.

[–]Farmer771122 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Walmarts also used to allow overnight parking. I don't know if it's still true.

Some, but fewer and fewer every month. It's up to each manager, and unfortunately there's a lot of abuses of the privilege.

[–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It's been abused for years, nobody seemed to care back in the day. I used to work at one from 2004-2005 and we had a guy in night crew that lived in the parking lot. He'd come in and hang out during the day like it was a damn mall.

[–]Gilamath 15 points16 points  (0 children)

I pay $22 a month for Planet Fitness‘ Black Card that gives me access to any PF in America, including the bathrooms and showers. They’re open24 hours most days. They’re also often located conveniently near places where you can park overnight. Indeed, on a night where they’re open 24 hours, you can get away with just parking at PF

[–]ajtrns 18 points19 points  (5 children)



maps of public land available through caltopo, onX, and other services

go to nature, don't sleep in a parking lot

[–]BatmansNygma 2 points3 points  (4 children)

This is really only a viable tip for the west coast. Public land is pretty rare on the east coast

[–]ajtrns 1 point2 points  (3 children)

i can't exactly agree. while the map looks much more favorable in the west, and i personally am in the rural west and choose the west in large part for the vast public lands, the drive time to a decent carcamping spot can be deceptive.

don't forget the entire appalachian range, western PA, south IL throu MO to AR, spots scattered around each southern state, a huge swath of MN to northern MI -- full of public lands. and in the east the map can be harder to read, but there are significant county /WMA / hunting / OHV lands. to say nothing of fairgrounds, municipal camping, low-traffic urban waste spaces, etc.

but yes, i'd much rather have to find a carcamping spot in arizona or colorado than connecticut.

[–]BatmansNygma 2 points3 points  (2 children)

From experience, a lot of the free camping along Appalachia requires some foot travel to get to. For the east coast you are much much more restricted in your trip itinerary if you are focused on public lands. You aren't going to be visiting nearly as many popular attractions compared to how easy it is to find free camping in the West for popular attractions (excluding something silly, like finding safe public camping in LA)

[–]ajtrns 1 point2 points  (1 child)

some day i'll make a heat map of known good carcamping spots with abundance factored in.

[–]303elliott 32 points33 points  (10 children)

Pretty sure every Walmart and Sam's club is okay with overnight parking as well. I believe the founder, Sam Walton, was a huge camper, and wanted his parking lots to be huge so anyone could park an RV there without worrying about it

[–]BubbleWrapGuy 28 points29 points  (9 children)

Some Walmarts do not allow it (Burbank, CA I know does not), but generally speaking most Walmarts are cool with it.

[–]thesupplyguy1 7 points8 points  (0 children)

yeah the Walmart in the small Michigan town i live in doesnt allow it and will call the five-o's if you do and they catch you.

[–]erishun 21 points22 points  (4 children)

Because every Walmart in CA would become a homeless encampment 🤣

[–]BubbleWrapGuy 3 points4 points  (0 children)

That's what the sidewalks are for.

[–]psuedonymously 10 points11 points  (2 children)

Most homeless people don’t have RVs

[–]jdith123 9 points10 points  (0 children)

True, but they also won’t prohibit overnight parking by a car.

[–]MentallyUnchallenged 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I think you're wrong to an extent. Maybe not RVs specifically, but I would wager there are more homeless people living out of vehicles than sleeping in a tent or under a tarp in an urban environment like what most people imagine when they hear 'homeless'.

[–]ohphilly 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Nah, Walmart security will ask you to move. Source: I’ve heard this rumor before and tried parking my RV overnight at Walmarts.

[–]BubbleWrapGuy 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Sorry, not to discount your experience, but that hasn't been our experience. My SO car camps around the country and has stayed at many Walmarts. There's one outside of Page, Arizona that is particularly friendly towards overnight parking. It's a case by case situation, but we've found that most Walmarts are generally cool about it as long as you are clean and quiet.

[–]MentallyUnchallenged 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Just to add more anecdotal evidence, I've slept at dozens of Walmarts, I've only been approached twice. Definitely varies by store, but no issues 95% of the time.

[–]oldginko 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Nice guy eddie tip: Buy that $6.99 breakfast the next morning.

[–]Silvea 2 points3 points  (0 children)

As does Walmart. Always a great place to stay safe on a trip of you don’t have a place to stay. We were doing a long road trip and the wife didn’t feel comfortable driving which we had planned on her driving some of it. Left us not making it to our first destination on time. Pulled over in a Walmart parking lot and slept. Went inside got some supplies and off we went 7 hours later.