Is It Legal to Sleep in Your RV on a Neighborhood Street?
RVing is a great way to travel the country and save money. So what about when you’re traveling through a city but don’t want to get a campground for the night?
Urban campgrounds can be quite expensive. We’ve paid over $100/night to camp in some big city RV parks.
But, is it legal to sleep in your RV on a neighborhood street?
The answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no.
Let’s dive in!
Is It Legal to Sleep in Your RV on a Neighborhood Street?
It is legal to sleep in your RV on a neighborhood street in some cases, but this will vary from city to city and state to state.
Some cities have laws that make it illegal to sleep in a vehicle overnight, and RVs are considered vehicles. Other cities may have HOA restrictions that ban overnight RV parking in their neighborhoods.
But, there are many locales where it is perfectly legal to sleep in your RV on the street overnight.
Pro Tip: If you know it’s not legal to camp on the city street and still want to risk it, that’s called stealth camping. And many van campers do it regularly.
How to Find Out If Overnight RV Street Parking is Legal
To find out if overnight RV street parking is legal there are a few places you can look. The first and most obvious thing to check for are street signs! If there aren’t any signs around that say “no overnight parking”, then you may be just fine.
Another place to look to find out if overnight RV street parking is legal is the city’s government websites. Google things like “overnight parking (city name)” or “overnight RV parking (city name)”.
If you are unable to find laws or ordinances banning it, you may be in the clear!
Another telltale sign that you are safe to park your RV overnight is the presence of other RVs on the street in the same or surrounding neighborhoods. This doesn’t always mean that it’s legal, so you should also do your own research.
Is it Safe to Sleep In Your RV on a Neighborhood Street?
Some neighborhoods are safer than others, there is no doubt about that! You should be able to tell by driving through. And since your home is on wheels, you can always leave if you feel uncomfortable.
Where Can I Sleep in My RV Overnight?
Whether you’re in a city or in a rural area, there is always somewhere to park your RV to sleep overnight! If you don’t want to (or can’t) park overnight on residential streets, here are some other places to consider.
Rest areas and some gas stations or truck stops can be a viable overnight parking place for your RV. These are typically high traffic and noisy locations, but good in a pinch.
Did you know that you can sleep in your RV overnight at many Walmart stores? Check out this article to learn more about overnight RV camping at Walmart.
Other places you can park your RV at overnight include Cracker Barrel, Cabelas, Camping World, and of course, campgrounds and RV parks.
How to Find Free Overnight RV Parking in Cities
So how do you find a place to park for free overnight when you’re traveling through a city? It’s not fun or practical to have to pay a full night at a campground when you’re literally just trying to park and sleep. Here are some websites and apps you can use to find free parking in cities or anywhere across the United States.
Allstays is an app and website where you can find campgrounds, overnight parking options, and so much more. Allstays has a paid app called ‘Walmart Overnight Parking’ that gives you all the legal Walmart overnight parking locations near you. This app is super handy and only $2.99.
Campendium has a website and an app for iOS with filters for free camping and overnight parking locations.
Freecampsites.net is a handy website for finding free camping all over the United States! This includes free camping spots in cities and more.
Boondockers Welcome is a RVing membership with over 2,700 hosts all over the US. There are many Boondockers Welcome hosts located in cities offering up their driveway, street parking, yard and more to RVers passing through who need a spot to legally park for the night.
Tips for Sleeping In Your RV Overnight on A Street
Here are some tips and ‘unwritten rules’ for sleeping overnight on a residential street in your RV.
Make Sure It’s Allowed
First and foremost, you need to make sure it’s legal! You don’t want to get a ticket or worse, towed. Be sure and check for signage in the area before you decide to stay somewhere for the night.
If you don’t see any “no overnight parking” signs, you should be okay!
Don’t Set Up Camp
This should be obvious but it needs to be said… don’t set up camp. If you don’t have to put your slides out to access an area of your RV, leave them in.
Don’t put your jacks down on the asphalt – they can actually leave dents.
Be Quiet and Inconspicuous
You don’t want to disturb the residents of the neighborhood or draw any unnecessary attention to yourself. So, be quiet and inconspicuous. Don’t run your generator, play loud music, or otherwise draw attention to yourself. Just park, get your sleep, and head out.
Don’t Stay More Than One Night in the Same Place
Even if it is legal to sleep in your RV on a residential street, not all residents of the neighborhood will be happy about it. Do your best to be respectful and don’t overstay.
Typically you should arrive late and leave early, just enough time to eat and sleep.
Don’t ever stay in the same spot more than one night in a row – this can be a nuisance to residents and will also draw attention to you.
Don’t Dump Trash or Waste Water
Never litter or dump waste water anywhere but in an approved dump station or garbage receptacle.
Do Your Research and Be Respectful
It is totally legal to sleep in your RV on a neighborhood street in many cities and towns across the US. The key to doing it successfully and legally is to do your research, be respectful, and never stay if it doesn’t feel right!
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In visiting family and friends in various suburbs around the heartland, we have parked our 35′ 5th wheel trailer and 38′ semi tractor on the street in front of a residence. We have had our hosts check with their city and HOA (if any) to determine the feasibly of our parking there for a few days and they spoke to the neighbors to prevent any ill will. In those times, there were zero problems. Even local police or security have passed by and simingly ignored us. And in both cases we had to park facing the wrong direction (against the normal traffic pattern).
And we were mindfull of every suggestion in the article. We did put out orange cones with warning lights (dimly lit so as no to be too obnoxious) at the corners of the trailer in the street and put reflective tape at strategic locations (slide outs, front and rear ends) on the trailer to make it more visible. While maybe not too attractive, I feel better knowing I’ve done all I can to prevent an accident. I first did the reflectors at a Walmart parking lot for these same reasons, especially with opening slides and leaving the folding stairs mostly open.
Very doable. Just don’t appear to be camping; appear to be temporarily visiting.
Even the homeless these day are camping out on neighborhood side walk and the city are not doing a damn thing about it.
Where are the homeless supposed live if there is nothing provided for them? Most of them are mental hospital patient who were thrown out on the streets when this country decided they weren’t going to pay for them anymore and closed all of the state hospitals up. Or divorced women who never worked a day in their life and don’t know how to work or get a attorney etc. Or single Moms with kids and no one to watch them so they can work. Not everyone has a family to help.