Anglers aren’t the only ones who flock to Bass Pro Shop as often as possible. The large outdoor retailer is also a popular destination for nomads and travelers looking for a place to stay for the night.
However, with overnight parking regulations constantly changing across the country, will Bass Pro Shops still allow RVs in their parking lots?
Today, we’ll look at what travelers can expect from the retailer in the future.
Let’s get started!
The History of Bass Pro Shop
Johnny Morris started Bass Pro Shop in 1972 by selling fishing tackle from the back of his father’s store. More than 50 years later, you can find 159 locations across the country selling a variety of hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation equipment and gear.
The brand operates five different types of stores: Outdoor World, Outpost, Stick Marsh Outpost, Sportsman’s Center, and White River Outpost. Each reflects its theme and location and gives shoppers an idea of what to expect. However, you’ll find just about everything you could need for outdoor recreation at each location.
Do All Bass Pro Shops Allow Overnight Parking?
While many Bass Pro Shops allow overnight parking, it’s not always possible at every location. Local laws often dictate whether a site can let guests stay overnight in their lots. In addition, Bass Pro Shops often allow management to decide whether or not to allow boondocking. As a result, availability varies by location.
Lately, we’ve seen increased regulations regarding sleeping in vehicles. This is primarily due to guests abusing the hospitality of businesses and communities. Guests are burning out their welcome, leaving messes behind, and parking in the way of customers and other traffic.
These are fantastic spots for boondocking, but they’re becoming increasingly rare. Rules and regulations make it challenging for those who follow the law to find safe and quiet places to stay for the night. While we hope this trend subsides, the future does look good for overnight campers.
Is It Safe to Park Overnight at Bass Pro Shop?
No matter where you’re staying, safety should always be one of your biggest concerns. However, boondocking at Bass Pro Shops can be as safe as parking anywhere else. Their lots typically have security features like lighting and cameras, which usually cause anyone up to no good to think twice.
You need to research the area before you select a destination. You want to ensure you can legally park there and that it’s safe.
If not, you could wake up to a dicey situation in the middle of the night. If you have no other choice, limit the time you spend in the spot before returning to the road.
What Stores Allow Overnight Parking?
While Bass Pro Shops are popular options for parking, they’re not the only ones who welcome guests overnight. Spots like Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and truck stops can also be good locations for travelers needing a place for the evening. Depending on where you stay, you may be able to grab a bite to eat or stock up on supplies during your stay.
No matter where you park, you want to ensure you pick a safe place away from traffic. You don’t want to be a nuisance to the business, its customers, or other nomads.
In addition, you want to make sure the location allows boondocking. Just because you read it online or the business has a reputation for permitting RVs doesn’t mean everyone does. Trust us; you don’t want to receive the dreaded knock on your window in the middle of the night. It’s not how you want to wake up or start your day.
How Do You Find Overnight Parking Spots?
Finding free spots can be challenging in some locations. However, as you might expect, technology can help make finding places near you or a specific location easier. We strongly suggest familiarizing yourself with a few essential apps before you’ll need to use them. This way, when you need them, you’re familiar with navigating them and filtering results.
Some of the most popular apps are Campendiu, iOverlander, and AllStays. They have massive databases with tens of thousands of camping locations. You can tailor the results by using built-in filters. You can find everything from RV resorts to free overnight parking spots.
We love these apps because users are typically great at providing reviews with helpful information regarding each location. They’ll give you some options if the nearest Bass Pro Shop doesn’t welcome RVs. Make sure you read through the comments to be as prepared as possible. If the spots have any safety or access concerns, users are quick to share them.
Tips for Overnight Parking
If you plan to park overnight regularly, there are a handful of things that you need to know. These tips will help ensure a smooth experience no matter where you’re boondocking.
Always Get Permission
You should never park on private property without permission, including retailer lots. Even if you arrive at a spot with a reputation for allowing overnight guests and others to stay in the lot, you should still obtain permission.
Head into the establishment and ask to speak to a manager or someone with authority to permit you to park for the night. They may request that you stay in a particular area or want you to leave by a specific time in the morning to accommodate deliveries or other needs.
We recommend that you support the establishment, whether it’s Bass Pro Shop or otherwise, by making a purchase. Whether stocking up on groceries or grabbing a quick bite to eat, making a purchase is a small way of saying thank you to the business for hosting you for the night.
Do You Research
As we’ve mentioned, research is critical regarding overnight parking spots. This can help you avoid finding yourself in a risky situation or violating local regulations. During your research, you want to look for any themes or patterns in reviews. However, remember that just because someone had a positive or negative experience doesn’t mean you will.
In addition, it’s essential to consider how you’ll access the spot, especially if you’re in a large RV or vehicle. You’ll want to avoid low clearances or bridges with weight limits. You want to know your entrance and exit before entering any lot. Using the satellite view on Google Maps is extremely useful in helping us devise a plan for avoiding tight spaces.
Use Your Locks
Before getting too comfortable, you should make sure you secure all of your belongings. If you have outside storage compartments, make sure to lock them. Locks on your stuff are useless if you’re not using them.
While locks may not prevent determined thieves from taking your stuff, they can make it more challenging. Thieves will often look for easy targets and don’t want to take any chances making noise or drawing attention to themselves. Because locks can slow them down, they may move on their way and not mess with you or your stuff.
Park Near Lights
When selecting a parking spot, lights can enhance your safety. Anyone up to no good will want to do their dirty deeds under darkness. Security lights can make it challenging for them to go undetected by anyone in the area. You may need to invest in black-out curtains or window coverings. However, keep in mind that you want it to be as easy as possible to quickly look out the window and investigate any noises you might hear.
Leave When Necessary
No free overnight parking spot is worth risking your safety. An area could appear safe when you are parked during the day, but who knows what kind of seedy activities can occur in the middle of the night. While it may be inconvenient, you should pack up your stuff and leave if you begin to question your safety.
We strongly advise travelers to park so they can make a quick exit if necessary. You want to be able to leave as fast and efficiently as possible. This means opening the minimum of slides on an RV and not lowering your landing gear. By not using these features, you can shave several minutes off the time it takes to pack up and head out during an unsafe situation.
Should You Park Overnight at Bass Pro Shop?
For now, Bass Pro Shops appear not to be making any significant changes to their RV policies. However, local rules and regulations can change with or without notice, especially if the management is tired of the nuisance.
These stores are incredibly convenient spots for overnight parking that we would hate to see disappear. If you frequently stay in these spots, we recommend respecting the site and the management as much as possible. Clean up after others and leave the area cleaner than you found them.
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