Yes, for the most part, you can park on the street overnight. You will want to make sure that police and security can’t see the lights on in your vehicle. Otherwise, they will cite for you for camping, or sleeping in your vehicle. As long as no one can easily see that you’re inside your vehicle, you generally won’t have a problem. However, parking on the street overnight is not quite the same as sleeping in your car overnight.
Can I Park on the Street Overnight?
Most cities don’t have laws against parking overnight on the street with the exception of certain streets where signs are posted. However, they do have laws against camping within city limits, or sleeping in vehicles.
So, as long as law enforcement cannot easily tell if you’re inside your vehicle, they’ll just drive on by. However, if they can see lights on inside your vehicle, or if they can see you moving around in your vehicle, they will stop and force you to move along. For that matter, it’s recommended to shade your windows completely, and make sure that no light can be seen from the outside. Generally, you can easily get away with sleeping in your vehicle overnight, along city streets, as long as police cannot tell if you are inside.
Most Cities Make it Illegal to Camp
Just about every city has a law on the books making it illegal to camp within their limits. These laws apply on both public and private property. RV parks and campgrounds are exempted from these laws. Police officers generally consider you a “camper” if you’re sleeping in an RV.
Even though most cities have these laws, they often enforce them selectively. They will ignore campers on certain streets, while enforcing the law on others. This allows cities to let RVers camp along run-down areas of town, while keeping the nice areas clean and pretty.
Most Cities Make it Illegal to Sleep in a Vehicle
Almost all medium to large cities have laws making it illegal to sleep in your car while parked on the street overnight. This is basically the same law as above, “illegal to camp”, but because it’s more difficult to define camping with a car or van, they came up with this law. This law also applies to private property. This is why many Walmarts and Home Depots post signs against overnight parking. They don’t want cops in their parking lot with red & blue lights flashing.
Tips for Parking on the Street Overnight
- Look for wide streets where other semi-trucks parks. This usually means the city has allowed large vehicles to park there.
- Make sure you are not parking overnight along a street with limited hours. Look for no parking signs, or signs that prohibit parking within certain hours.
- Keep all windows blocked off with Reflectix or black-out curtains, so that no one can see light from your RV at night. As long as cops can’t tell if you’re inside, they won’t bother you.
- Keep the noise down. Don’t run your generator. Don’t play loud music or TV.
- Don’t put chairs and tables outside. Don’t roll out your awning. Don’t keep your door open. Make it look like your vehicle is parked, not camped.
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