You can park overnight at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, Home Depot, Camping World, and a few other big box stores. You can also park along most city streets as long as you don’t see any “No Parking” signs. Rest areas are a good choice too. Most stores don’t mind overnight parking in their lots. Usually, it is the city that has enacted laws against overnight parking, or “camping”. Sometimes, the owner of the property will enforce overnight bans.
Where You Can Park Overnight
Walmart & Sam’s Club
Most Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs allow overnight parking, however the cities they are located in may not. The larger cities typically have laws against sleeping in your car, or camping. If you happen to be in an RV, they consider that “camping”. Meanwhile, Walmarts located in smaller towns, or rural areas, are generally safe for overnight parking. Calling a Walmart to inquire about their overnight parking policies is a good idea, however we’ve found that you often get different answers depending on whom you talk to, the store manager or assistant manager. 24-hour Walmarts are better because it’s harder for security or law enforcement to determine if you’re sleeping overnight or parked to go shopping. Read more about Walmart at, “Can You Sleep in Your Car at Walmart?”
Home Improvement Stores
Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, and other home improvement chains are often popular choices for overnight parking. Like with Walmart, the stores themselves generally don’t mind. However, the cities may have laws against sleeping in your car, or camping. The reason why home improvement stores are popular choices is because they open very early, hence security or law enforcement may think you’re just getting there early when the store opens. Most Home Depots open at 5:00am. Lowes, Menards, and others usually open at 6:00am. Read more, “Can You Park an RV Overnight at Home Depot“.
Costco and Other Big Bulk Retailers
Costcos are another popular choice for overnight parking. The large parking lots make it easier to maneuver longer RVs. The larger cities will usually have laws against sleeping your vehicle overnight, or camping. Smaller cities and rural areas are generally safe for parking overnight. You don’t need a membership to park overnight in their lot. Read more, “Can You Park at Costco Overnight?”
There are still several Camping Worlds that allow overnight parking in their lots, but many are starting to prohibit it. In the past, some Camping Worlds offered electrical and water hookups too, for free. If a Camping World doesn’t permit overnight parking on their lot, you can usually parking along the street (city property), as long as there are no “No Parking ” signs. Usually, the staff at Camping World will think you are arriving early for service work, and won’t question it. Read more, “Can You Sleep Overnight at Camping World?”
Cracker Barrel restaurants have emerged as a popular overnight parking choice. Most locations don’t mind you parking your RV overnight. However, most Cracker Barrel locations have small parking lots. And when you consider that Cracker Barrels do most of their business for breakfast, you may find your rig blocked in by other customers. Cracker Barrel typically opens at 8:00am, so if you can leave by then, you’ll be fine.
24 Hour Fitness Centers
Fitness centers open 24 hours a day, like 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, are popular choices for overnight parking. These places have smaller parking lots, so larger RVs may not be a wise choice to park here. Because these gyms are open 24 hours a day, security and parking enforcement won’t know if you’re sleeping in your vehicle, or working out.
Some truck stops have set aside longer parking lanes specifically for RVs. These are usually located away from the truck parking area, and are generally free to park overnight. If you have a small RV or van, you can often get away with parking overnight in a smaller lane. Some truck stops will allow you to park your RV in the truck lanes. Many of them charge a fee. However, some truck stops simply have a large dirt lot where trucks can park for free. RVs are usually allowed to park there too.
Most casinos have large parking lots, and many have set aside spaces for RVs and trucks. The majority of them don’t mind you parking overnight. Many even allow you to remain for up to three nights. Some have their own dedicated RV parks, that cost money to stay. But even then, these casinos will often let you park overnight in their general parking, if it’s just for one night.
If you plan to stay for several nights, make sure to take their parking lot shuttle into the casino. These shuttle drivers act as the eyes of the parking lot, and will report RVs who have remained for many nights. As long you use the shuttle, and tip the drivers, you’ll often remain in good standing.
Rest Areas and Travel Centers
All states allow you to sleep in your car or RV at a rest area, however, most do not allow you to sleep overnight. It’s a gray area that law enforcement officers typically don’t bother with unless they’re dealing with someone who consistently sleeps at the same rest area for several nights.
Travel Centers are similar to rest areas, except they include an information kiosk, usually staffed by an employee. These places often include RV parking lanes, and will permit overnight parking.
If a stretch of curb does not have a “No Parking” sign, and the curb is not painted red, yellow, or any other color, then you can legally park your car or RV there overnight. However, this does not mean you are allowed to sleep in that car or RV. But, if you can make it look as if no one is inside the vehicle, you won’t have a problem with parking enforcement. To do this, make sure no light escapes from your window at night. Block it off with Reflectix. Keep your doors and windows closed. Do not run the generator. Do not play loud music or television.
Street parking is generally permitted for one night. If you remain parked there for several nights in a row, parking enforcement will generally cite you for “storing your vehicle” along a city street. If they find out you have been in your vehicle overnight, they may cite for sleeping in a vehicle, or camping within city limits.
Street parking in areas zoned as “industrial” are ideal. This is because industrial parks rely on a steady stream of trucks to deliver materials and carry out finished products. It’s common to find trucks parked overnight along these streets, and parking enforcement typically don’t patrol these areas. Cul de sacs in industrial parks are best because there is less traffic.
Note also that parking enforcement officers typically stop working at 6:00pm, but they resume working at 6:00am. So if you can arrive after 6:00pm, and leave by 6:00am, you can often get away with parking in a “no parking zone”.
Read more, “Can I Park on the Street Overnight?”
If you are in a small RV or van, you can often get away with sleeping overnight at a train station. Most passenger trains run 24 hours a day. Hence, parking lots at train stations are usually open 24 hours a day. Moreover, it’s common for commuters who work graveyard shifts to park their vehicles at a train station, then come back the next morning. Note that some train stations charge for parking, but most still do not.
Empty Dirt Lots
You can often scan Google Map’s “satellite view” to find empty dirt lots. Many of these exist without fencing, allowing trucks to park overnight. Often times you find these on the outskirts of town. Even though these lots are owned by a private owner, they are rarely enforced. These lots exist because they are planned for future development, but the owner is waiting for the local economy to improve before moving forward.