Where Can I Sleep Legally in My RV?
If you are a Full-Time RVer or planning a long road trip, you may be wondering, “Where can I sleep legally in my RV?”
We have compiled a list of 4 options.
Before you hit the road, consider at each option and look at your travel route, the surrounding environment, and your comfort level. RV travel brings you closer to nature, tourist sites, and even urban environs.
Still, we have found that a little pre-planning relieves the stress of the lifestyle.
“RV sales and rentals are skyrocketing during pandemic”—Boston Globe
As we write this article, RV sales are skyrocketing, due to COVID-19. With the increase in sales comes a decrease in the available campsites.
How long with the latest RV travel craze last? We do not know, but this article is your resource to legally sleep in your RV—in many locations.
Campgrounds with Reservations
Both public and private campgrounds have been widespread for generations.
Prices for RV sites range from $18 a night in a National Park to over $100 a night in an RV resort. If you are trying to decide between a State Park, a National Park, or a private campground, answer a few questions.
- Do you need Full Hook-Ups of water, electricity, and sewer?
- Are you staying for a while or just passing through?
- How important is it to be near a natural attraction or parked inside a National Park?
- How necessary are amenities such as a pool, spa, tennis, or laundry?
No matter your RVing style and needs, we do know that you need to book any campground, with a reservation, in advance. Sure, you may be able to luck into a site as a walk-up, but in the current market, we suggest pre-arrival reservations. (By the way, National Parks and some State Parks are booking 9-12 months in advance)
Overnight Parking Options
If you are just passing through, as you travel to another location, consider an overnight parking lot. There are national business chains that do allow RVers to park in their lots for a one-night stay.
Here is a list of national business chains that do allow overnight parking in some of their lots. Keep in mind, every store has different rules, and not every store allows overnight parking.
- Cracker Barrel
- Bass Pros & Cabelas
- Interstate Rest Stops
As you consider this free and convenient option, please follow our suggested guidelines.
- The parking lot sites are intended for a one-night stay.
- Not all locations, within the national chain, allow overnight parking. Do your research and speak to the manager upon your arrival.
- Ensure that you park in a designated area
- The parking lot sites are intended for a quick overnight stay. Please do not put your slides out, set up outside seating areas, or prepare meals in the parking lot.
- Ensure that any trash is disposed of appropriately and keep your dog on a leash.
Boondocking on Federal Land
Boondocking on federal land, including BLM land and National Forest land, is a popular alternative to traditional campground sites. Although boondocking is popular, it is not an option for all RVers. Before considering this site option, ask yourself a few questions.
- Do I want to dry camp, and do I know how to dry camp? How long can I enjoy a site without provided water, electricity, or a sewer hook-up?
- Is my RV ready for dry camping, including solar, water storage, and food storage?
- Is being close to an urban area, stores, and amenities important?
If you would like to try boondocking on federal land, perhaps plan a short stop before deciding to stay for an extended period. Keep in mind that most BLM and National Forest Service land does require a registration process and most limit your stay to 14 days.
If you love to be close to nature, a quiet site away from urban development, and your RV is prepared to dry camp, consider boondocking as a site alternative.
It is unique and the unexpected that sparks the love of Full Time RVing or planning a long RV road trip. We are all looking for that individual and memorable experience.
Many RVers also enjoy immersing themselves in the local culture. They enjoy ending the day with a cold local beverage and favorite meal. Everyone is looking for the experience to share with new and old friends.
In the past ten years, two unique site options have gained a large fan base. As the RV marketing booms, it is nice to know that you can end your travel day at a unique location along your route.
Harvest Hosts – A yearly membership that provides camping at sites across the nations. When first founded, Harvest Hosts was a network of vineyard land and wineries. Today, Harvest Hosts has added agritourism sites, museums, breweries, and cideries. Although your one-night stay is included in your membership, you are encouraged to purchase food and/or beverages from your host.
Boondockers Welcome – Driveway Surfing Across the USA—It is like staying in your family’s driveway. Still, you get to meet fellow RVers across the nation. If you like unique experiences and meeting new people in cool places, this is the membership for you.
We all have a favorite way to RV and to travel. Even though many new RVers are joining the lifestyle, with pre-planning, we will all be able to find the unique adventure that we love. Make a list of “Where can I legally sleep in my RV” and start planning today.
Discover the 20 Best Free Camping Spots in America
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy). You should give it a try! As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours.
Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.
Small towns often have parks/playfields where one can park overnight. Just ask the police. Flag down a patrol car, or find the police station. They all know where to park free overnight.
Just remember that some towns have ordinances against overnight sleeping in an RV.
Also check out ALLSTAYS Camp & RV! You can access online, but it’s easier and better to get the app. It was $10 when we got it ~ 7 (?) years ago, and it continually updates. Coast to coast, one of the best tools we’ve had. Aloha 🙂