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Is RV Moochdocking Legal?

Maybe you’ve heard of boondocking when RVers dry camp without hookups.

Sometimes they use solar power or a generator since they don’t have a power source like a pedestal at a campground. But moochdocking? What is this, and where can you do it?

Let’s dive in!

What Is RV Moochdocking?

Are you familiar with couch surfing? You know, when you hang out at a friend’s house and sleep on their couch for a few nights.

Moochdocking is the same idea but in an RV. If a friend or family member has space where you can park your RV and stay for a few nights, then you’re moochdocking.

It’s a great way to save some money and spend quality time with loved ones. They might even have partial hookups, so you don’t have to boondock.

Family in front of RV
Moochdocking involves spending the night in your RV in someone’s driveway.

Where Can You Moochdock? 

You can moochdock in someone’s driveway or on the street in front of someone’s house. Or maybe a cousin has 10 acres of land and invites you to park somewhere on it.

As long as you have permission from a friend or relative, you can moochdock wherever there’s room.

However, there are some things you’ll want to consider before pulling up to grandma’s house in San Antonio for the holidays. We’ll discuss those below.

RV moochdocking is legal as long as you’re following the local regulations. If you park illegally in front of someone’s house, then you can get a ticket.

But moochdocking itself isn’t illegal.

Conduct yourself with courtesy and remain quiet during your stay, especially if parked in a neighborhood. You won’t be unpacking all of your camping gear either.

There’s no need to put out your RV mat or extend your awning unless you have ample room on a piece of land.

Pro Tip: Unsure if moochdocking is right for you? This is why we think you should Forget the RV Park and Give Moochdocking An Old College Try.

Woman entering into her mobile home.
Follow local regulations to legally moochdock.

Consider These 4 Things When RV Moochdocking

Even though moochdocking is legal, there are four things to consider. Following these guidelines will ensure that you and your host have an enjoyable experience during your visit.

Let’s take a look!

There May Be HOA Restrictions

If staying in a neighborhood, it’s very important to check the HOA restrictions. Some HOAs don’t allow RV parking or storage at all, so if you show up planning on living in your RV, there’s going to be a problem.

Don’t tick off the neighbors or get your friend or relative in trouble. 

This is also true for parking on the street. If your friend or relative lives in a townhouse, are you allowed to park on the street overnight?

First, is there room?

You don’t want to wake up to a ticket or a police officer knocking on your door.

Prepare for Dry Camping

Most friends and relatives don’t have electrical hook-ups or a water source waiting for you. They would love for you to visit, but they aren’t a campground. Don’t expect hook-ups.

Be prepared for dry camping with your energy source charged, your freshwater tank full, and your black tank empty.

Maybe you’ll get some free loads of laundry done, but don’t plan on any additional amenities.

Man and dog inside parked camper van.
Keep in mind you will be dry camping while moochdocking.

Don’t Overstay Your Welcome

Moochdocking usually only lasts a few days. Your host is being generous in allowing you to park on their property, so don’t overstay your welcome.

Enjoy the time you spend with your friends and family members, but know when it’s time to leave.

They’ll probably say, “Oh, stay as long as you like!” But they don’t really mean it.

Compensate Your Host With Cash, a Gift, or a Meal to Show Appreciation

Make sure you show your appreciation when you leave. Even if it’s your parents, offer to take them to dinner or make dinner for them. Do something to say thank you.

They saved you some money by providing a free spot to camp for a few nights.

They might have saved you money by cooking a few meals and letting you do laundry. Don’t take advantage of your friends and relatives. 

Other Free RV Camping Options That Aren’t Moochdocking

If you don’t have friends or relatives with adequate space for an RV, there are other free camping options.

Many people live in neighborhoods where an HOA isn’t going to permit an RV to park overnight. Other people just don’t have the room in their driveway.

Let’s take a look at these other free camping options.

Find Free Overnight RV Parking

Cracker Barrel restaurants, Walmart shopping centers, Bass Pro Shops stores, and additional locations offer free overnight RV parking.

These stays are limited to one night, so don’t plan on boondocking at Camping World for the week. Call ahead and ask the manager for permission.

Some locations have local restrictions that don’t permit overnight RV parking. But staying one night in a parking lot for free will save some money.

Try Boondocking

Boondocking is similar to moochdocking, just not on the property of someone you know. The Bureau of Land Management has sites all over the country for boondockers and tent campers who want to get away and explore the outdoors.

You can find some land off the beaten path and set up for the night or a couple of weeks.

Just pay attention to any restrictions or guidelines. Remember, boondocking is dry camping, so don’t expect hook-ups.

Keep in Mind: Moochdocking isn’t the only type of camping! Try out these 11 Types of Camping.

Woman leaning out RV door.
If you can’t find a spot to moochdock, you can always try boondocking.

Try Boondockers Welcome

Or if you’d rather stay near a town, try Boondockers Welcome. This membership service connects people and businesses with RVers who want to boondock for a night.

Call the host to see if they have availability, and then park your RV on their property. Some of these sites offer partial hook-ups, but most don’t.

Use Harvest Hosts for Free Camping at Unique Spots

Recently, Harvest Hosts purchased Boondockers Welcome. Currently, you can still use one or the other. A Harvest Hosts membership is more expensive and offers more than 2,800 locations for free camping.

Like Boondockers Welcome, you first call the host to see if there’s availability, and then you park your RV on the property for the night.

You have access to farms, wineries, museums, and more with a Harvest Hosts membership.

Would You Ever Try RV Moochdocking?

If Uncle Dan lives on a farm in Texas, why not call him up to see if you can visit?

What a great opportunity to spend quality time with a relative, catch him up on your latest travels, and even help around the farm for a few days.

Moochdocking is a great way to see family and friends while still maintaining your travel lifestyle.

Would you ever try moochdocking? Drop a comment below!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

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.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

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