When you hear someone is heading to the local mall, you likely assume a few things. Maybe you think they’re planning to do some window shopping, look for an outfit, or pick up a gift for a loved one.
However, you probably don’t assume they’re talking about parking overnight.
We’re living in a time when many are embracing the freedoms that the nomadic life has to offer. Sometimes this means finding unique places to stay along the journey. So can you park overnight at a mall?
Let’s take a look.
Can You Sleep in an RV, Van or Vehicle Anywhere?
There are a lot of unique places for you to sleep in your RV (or your van or vehicle), but you can’t just sleep anywhere. While many big-box retailers are more accepting of overnight guests, some aren’t always as hospitable. This can be due to the store choosing not to accept overnight guests or local rules/regulations prohibiting overnight parking.
When sleeping in an RV, you want to confirm your ability to stay there before getting too comfortable.
You don’t want to get a knock on your door from law enforcement in the middle of the night asking you to leave.
Can I Park an RV Overnight at a Mall?
We hate to say this, but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for parking an RV overnight at a mall. There’s no predictability regarding which mall locations allow it and which don’t. If you want to stay at a specific mall, reach out to the guest services number for the mall or contact the non-emergency line for the local law enforcement.
Rules and regulations are constantly changing in these types of situations.
It doesn’t matter what you read online or what another traveler tells you around the campfire. Don’t be on the wrong side of the law or wake up to a citation.
Is There Camper Parking At Mall Of America?
Yes, there is camper parking at the Mall of America. The only lot available for campers and other large vehicles is the Lindau Lot next to IKEA. However, you can’t park overnight in any Mall of America parking lot, including the Lindau Lot.
If you plan to visit the Mall of America with your RV, save yourself the trouble and only park in this lot.
Can You Sleep in an RV in a Walmart Parking Lot?
Walmart parking lots have been popular in the past for RVers looking for a spot to park overnight. However, due to the abuse of their hospitality and increasing local regulations, a growing list of locations no longer allow overnight RV parking.
If you want to stay overnight in a Walmart parking lot, you’ll want to call ahead and confirm if it’s possible. You don’t want to go out of your way and discover signs indicating overnight parking prohibition.
What Is Parking Lot Camping Etiquette?
If you’re planning to sleep in an RV while in a parking lot, you want to be a good guest. Let’s look at a handful of parking lot camping etiquette tips you should follow. Let’s get started!
Call Ahead and Ask Permission
When you find a place to park your RV to get some sleep, you want to call ahead to ask permission. This helps you avoid wasting your time, energy, and fuel getting to a spot and then discovering you can’t park there. Stress levels can quickly rise, especially at the end of a long travel day.
Give the establishment a call and ask for a manager or a person capable of permitting you. Not every employee has the authority to grant your overnight stay request in the parking lot.
If they can accommodate your request, make sure to ask for any specific details regarding navigating the parking lot or where you could park and be out of the way.
Don’t Set Up Camp Outside
When staying overnight in a parking lot, you’re not camping. It’s not the time or place to bust out the grill or camping chairs. Avoid getting any unnecessary items out of storage and make it easy to leave first thing in the morning.
You don’t want to attract attention to yourself while parking overnight, and setting up camp attracts attention.
Keep Your Jacks Up
You want to avoid putting your jacks down onto the pavement. Your RV’s jacks may help absorb some of the movement felt in the rig, but they can do a tremendous amount of damage to the pavement. If you must lower your jacks, be sure to put a plastic or wooden block under them.
Some RVers install RV SnapPads onto their landing gear to be able to lower them without worrying about damaging the parking lot or their landing gear.
By keeping your jacks up, you’re not only protecting the pavement but also increasing your safety. While you may be hoping for an uneventful night, things don’t always go as planned. You never know when you’ll need to leave in a hurry.
If that’s the case, you don’t want to spend extra time raising your jacks and collecting the wooden or plastic blocks.
Leave No Trace
When overnight campers leave a mess behind when they leave, it ruins it for future guests. You should always leave a parking spot in better condition than when you found it. Don’t leave trash, clean up after your pets, and make sure you collect all of your belongings. It’s not the place to leave behind your broken gear or large pieces of trash.
Where Can I Find Parking Lots to Park an RV Overnight?
Two of the best options for finding parking lots to park are Campendium and iOverlander. They’re two go-to resources that we turn to almost every time we’re looking for a spot to stay overnight. You can also join programs like Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome and take advantage of thousands of fantastic locations.
Finding spots to stay during your adventures doesn’t have to be overly difficult. If you follow basic overnight parking etiquette and use the resources we’ve shared, there’s a good chance you’ll have a great stay!
Where do you turn when looking for a spot to park your RV overnight?
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