What Stores Allow Overnight RV Parking?
Overnight RV parking can be a lifesaver for those who are on the road and need a place to stay for the night. However, it can be difficult to find a place that allows RVs to stay overnight, as many businesses and organizations do not want to deal with the noise and potential for damage.
So, what stores allow overnight RV parking? Stores that allow RVs to park overnight include Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Cabela’s, Camping World, Flying J and Loves truck stops, churches, and casinos. While these businesses tend to allow RVs to park overnight, there are some restrictions and caveats, so read on to learn the fine print about what stores allow overnight RV parking.
What Stores Allow RV Parking Overnight?
You’re in a strange town or city, searching for a safe place to park your RV for the night, and you’re wondering exactly what stores allow RV parking overnight. The following stores are all top candidates, though you’ll have to check with the specific location you’re hoping to park at and make sure you get the go ahead!
Walmart is one of the most popular stores that allow overnight RV parking. Most Walmart stores allow RVs to park in their parking lots for up to 24 hours. This isn’t the case at every location, however, so make sure you contact the store manager of the location you wish to park overnight at to make sure it’s ok.
Cracker Barrel is another popular spot for RVers. Most Cracker Barrel restaurants allow RVs to park in their parking lots overnight. However, there are some restrictions, so it is always best to call ahead to check.
Cabela’s is a sporting goods store that allows RVs to park in their parking lots overnight. There are no restrictions on how long you can stay, but you are asked to not leave your RV unattended. Once again, overnight RV parking is not available at every location. Some locations have signs prohibiting overnight parking. Make sure to check with the store manager before trying to boondock at a Cabela’s or Bass pro!
Camping World is a camping and RV supply store that allows RVs to park in their parking lots overnight. For a long time, they had very liberal policies regarding overnight RV parking, but in recent years, many locations have tightened up. If you bought your RV at Camping World, they will still let you stay overnight, though many locations will turn away anyone else. Still, it’s worth calling the location you hope to stay at to ask, as some locations still allow most RVs to park for at least one night.
Pilot/Flying J Truck Stops
Flying J is a truck stop chain that allows RVs to park in their parking lots overnight. There are no restrictions on how long you can stay, but you are asked to not leave your RV unattended. Pilot/Flying J truck stops are conveniently located off of major highways, making the ideal places to park your RV overnight while on a trip. You can refuel and resupply here, as you’ll usually find propane, gas, diesel, and of course food and beverages.
Loves Truck Stops
Loves has recently been focusing more on accommodating RV travelers, so Loves truck stops are a great store to park your RV overnight at. Sometimes, you can even find dump stations and water to fill your RV, though not every location has these and sometimes there’s a fee.
Like most truck stops, you’ll often find showers at Loves truck stops. Of course, they make great places to grab refreshments and food. You can stay for multiple nights at a Loves, but you are asked not to leave your rig there unattended.
Parking your RV overnight at Lowes is kind of hit-or-miss. Not every location will allow it, though there are some that will let you if you ask the store manager. As usual, make sure you park out of the way of other customers, arrive late to the spot, and leave early in the morning for the best results.
Planet Fitness doesn’t technically have an RV policy to allow RVs to park overnight. However, they are open 24 hours, and members can park there all night. Even if you’re not a member, your RV will blend in among the other vehicles parked there in the middle of the night, and no one could tell if you’re inside working out or camped in your RV. Just make sure to leave off any interior lights in the RV or to pull the curtains down so you don’t attract attention.
Every church is its own private entity. As such, the rules about overnight RV parking will vary. Churches tend to have spacious parking lots that remain empty most of the time. Additionally, the whole spirit of the church is a spirit of giving. So, many churches will allow RVs to park for a night or two, so long as they’re respectful. You’ll need to call the church and ask for permission first, and a small donation to the church would be a good idea to thank them for allowing you to park your RV there overnight.
Personally, casinos are one of my absolute favorite places to park my RV overnight. Casinos are in most states, and most major cities. You’ll even find casinos outside of smaller towns. Most casinos have rather liberal parking policies when it comes to parking your RV there overnight. Some will allow you to stay for multiple weeks, and a rare few have no time limits! Still, some casinos do charge for overnight RV parking, and even many casinos that will let you park free insist that you get a parking permit.
Make sure you check with security to get any needed permits and so they can inform you of any rules. They’ll often want you to sign up for a player’s card, and it’s a good idea to play a little if possible to show your appreciation for the free parking. Alternatively, you could eat at one of the casino’s restaurants or enjoy one of their other entertainment offerings, as many casinos are loaded with fun things to do like bowling alleys, arcades, movie theaters, and buffets.
We’ve already mentioned that Cracker Barrels will usually allow RVs to park overnight in their parking lots, but they’re not the only restaurant you might find to park at. Some miscellaneous restaurants will also let RVs park overnight, though usually for a small fee. I once parked at a small Mexican restaurant for $10. The big advantage was, of course, the delicious breakfast burrito I bought when I woke up in the morning!
The downside to parking at miscellaneous restaurants is that they can be difficult to find. Luckily, there’s a free app you can use to find overnight parking spots for your RV: Campendium. Simply download the Campendium app and you’ll be able to see all of the available places near you for overnight RV parking. You’ll see paid and free options, as well as places where you can dump your tanks or refill your water! For more information on Campendium and other useful apps for RV life, check out my article on the Best Apps for RV Travelers.
Tips for Boondocking at Stores That Allow Overnight RV Parking
When you’re in need of a safe place to park your RV for the night, any store that allows you to boondock in their parking lot is a blessing. However, we’ve all seen someone who was abusing this privilege, setting up obvious camping equipment around their rig, making too much noise, and generally giving a bad name to those who travel in RVs.
Obviously, if stores notice that allowing RVs to park in their parking lot overnight is becoming an issue or impeding their customers’ experience, then they’ll put a stop to it and we’ll all suffer as a result. So, to help every RVer and Van Lifer, I’ve put together this list of tips to follow when overnight parking your RV as a guest. These tips will ensure you’re never a liability to the business, and that the benefits of allowing RVs to park overnight will outweigh the costs for these generous businesses.
Show Up Late, Leave Early
In most boondocking situations, you’re advised to show up early so you can get a good space, but when you’re parking your RV at a store overnight, the opposite is true because your goal is to be as inconspicuous as possible.
By showing up once it’s already dark, you’ll be less visible, and you’ll be taking up space during a time that’s traditionally less busy as well. When you leave early, you’re ensuring that you’re not impeding the business in any way since they were nice enough to allow you overnight accommodations.
Don’t Set Up A Campsite
Once again, the name of the game here is to be low key and go unnoticed by customers and anyone else. Even with the store’s permission to park your RV there overnight, it’s still respectful to keep a low profile.
To that end, you’ll want to avoid setting up anything outside of your RV. Slideouts are also generally not a great idea when parking your rig at a store overnight. The general rule is that anything making you more visible is a bad idea.
Keep Your Area (and your rig) Clean
On a similar note, you don’t want the appearance of your RV to raise any red flags or garner any unwanted attention. It’s best to keep your RV and the area where you’re parked clean and looking good enough so as not to attract any eyes.
Keep Noise to a Minimum
One thing that will make you stand out like a sore thumb is loud noise, such as a generator running, loud music bumping, or a screaming match with your significant other. All of these are practically guaranteed to get people’s attention, so they should be avoided when parking your RV at a store for the night.
Patronize the Business
No business is obligated to allow you overnight parking space for your RV. It’s very generous of any business to do so. As such, it’s always in good faith to purchase something at a business that lets you park overnight to show your appreciation for their act of good will.
Let’s discuss the answers to the most common questions related to what stores allow overnight RV parking.
Does Walmart allow overnight RV parking?
Many Walmart locations do allow RVs to park overnight, especially in smaller towns and more rural areas. Not every Walmart location does allow it though, so call ahead and check with the store manager before stopping by.
Does Cabela’s allow overnight RV parking?
Many, but not all, Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shops locations will allow overnight RV parking. It’s always best to check with the store manager before parking at any Cabela’s location.
Does Camping World allow overnight RV parking?
Camping World used to be a place that RVers could count on for overnight parking, but they’re more strict now, only allowing RVs purchased at a Camping World by regulation, though some locations will still allow most RVs to stay for one night.
Does Lowes allow overnight RV Parking?
Lowes is another hit or miss store for parking an RV overnight. Some locations allow it, but you’ll have to check with the store manager at any location before parking there overnight.
What Businesses Allow Overnight RV Parking?
It can be difficult to determine what businesses allow overnight RV parking, but some of the most popular and readily available options include Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Loves and Pilot truck stops, Camping World, Cabela’s, and most casinos.
Figuring out where to park your RV overnight can be stressful. Thankfully, there are quite a few businesses that allow overnight RV parking, simplifying the entire experience. Walmart, truck stops, casinos, Cracker Barrels, and many other retailers and restaurants will let you boondock overnight in your RV.
Just make sure to check with the store manager first and to be respectful and clean with your area, not impeding the flow of business in any way.
If you’re tired of sleeping in parking lots, then check out my article on Where to Park an RV Overnight for many more options including BLM land, State Trust land, National Forest land, and many other places where you can safely boondock in your RV.