Asheville has beautiful outdoor spaces and a thriving art and music scene, but finding overnight parking requires some extra work.
The online nomad community is a great place to turn when you’re on the road and looking for options. Recently, they shared some great information with one van camper looking for somewhere to sleep in his rig while visiting the area.
Today, we’ll explore your overnight parking options in Asheville and give you some tips on dry camping etiquette.
Let’s hit it!
Redditors Help Vanlifer Find Overnight Parking in Asheville
One of our favorite parts of RV life is the supportive community. Asking for tips on Reddit and other social media sites offers unique insights into different parts of the country you may not be familiar with.
A vanlifer recently posted on Reddit to find out where he could dry camp near Cherokee Center in Asheville. He wanted to sleep in his van nearby so he could enjoy his night without stressing about where to stay.
Luckily, plenty of people with local knowledge came through for him. And since Asheville is a great place to visit, we thought we’d spread the word.
Pro Tip: A trip to Asheville may not be the right choice for you. Check out these 5 Reasons to Avoid Asheville, North Carolina.
Where Did Redditors Recommend for Overnight Parking in Asheville?
We gathered several overnight parking suggestions to check out, but it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience differs. Stealth camping is especially unreliable. One person’s luck might not work out for another. Always stay aware of your surroundings, and don’t take any chances.
KEEP IN MIND: We’re not verifying the legality or ability to park at any of the listed places. We’re sharing the insights found on Reddit. Always call the location before parking overnight.
While Asheville’s Planet Fitness doesn’t expressly allow overnight parking, the gym is open 24/7. Any security they may have won’t know if you’re there to work out or not.
This company is popular with nomads because membership is affordable, and you can use any location to shower. They offer over 2,000 gyms nationwide, and parking lots are generally well-lit and safe.
Address: 153 Smokey Park Hwy, Asheville, NC 28806
Walmart has a long relationship with overnight parking, so using one in Asheville makes sense. One user said security asked him to move when he tried the location in the south part of town. But he pointed out that the one on the east side allowed it.
When staying in a Walmart parking lot, checking in with the manager is always a good idea. Also, don’t forget to buy something as a thank you.
Address: 125 Bleachery Blvd, Asheville, NC 28805 & 1636 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC 28803
The Carolina Cinemark Asheville
The Cinemark 14 in Asheville, formerly the Carolina, is popular with locals who enjoy the Asheville Film Society’s programming. One Reddit user also pointed out it’s a popular spot for vanlifers.
Movie theaters have late hours and large parking lots. Employers are often there later to prepare things for the next day. It’s a good place to blend in, and they’re generally safe with plenty of lighting.
Address: 1640 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC 28803
Another user suggested Montford Park because of its proximity to downtown. They said they’d seen vans staying overnight in the past.
It’s worth noting that the park technically closes at 10 pm, so you may risk a run-in with local law enforcement. We suggest you use this as a last resort and explore other options first.
Address: 345 Montford Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
When Is the Best Time to Visit Asheville?
With so much to do year-round, there’s really no bad time to visit Asheville. The best weather for outdoor activities is in the spring and fall. But if you struggle with allergies, you may consider visiting later in the year.
The high elevation means that the daytime temperatures are usually tolerable even in the thick of summer. But you’re still in the South, so you’ll likely work up a sweat. In autumn, the leaves provide beautiful backdrops for your adventures, but it’s still warm enough to camp and hike.
Winter weather may close some popular trails, but it’s a great time to visit if you love skiing. January through March is a good choice if you’re looking to avoid crowds.
Asheville also offers several festivals and weekly concert series. You can check the local events calendar to find the best family-friendly activities for your trip.
Tips for Overnight Parking
If you’re staying overnight in Asheville, the usual etiquette applies. If you want to avoid drawing trouble your way, make sure you follow these tips.
Limit Your Stay
Dry camping in a parking lot, or lotdocking, is very different from staying in an RV park. Limit your stay to one night, and make it a point to get out early. Businesses that deal with RVs and vans taking up their spaces during peak business hours will start to crack down.
It would be best if you also stayed with your vehicle. Don’t treat it like a parking garage while you go out sightseeing.
Follow Rules and Regulations
If you have permission to stay, follow the store’s guidelines about overnight parking. They may ask you to park in a specific area and request you limit your stay to certain hours.
Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also prevents a late-night knock on the window. Of course, sometimes, you’ll find signs that prohibit overnight parking. If you see one, find another place to rest.
Remember, You’re Not Camping
If you pull in and start setting up your chairs and awning, you’re already asking for trouble. Stores that allow overnight parking in Asheville or anywhere else deserve respect.
Keep your things stowed away and minimize your generator time. If you need to charge up some electronics, that’s one thing. And if you’re trying to stealth camp, running a loud engine won’t keep your presence unknown for long.
Leave No Trace
Just because you’re in a parking lot doesn’t mean you can leave trash around. Treat the area with the same care as you would a natural park campsite. If you have pets, pick up after them (and leave them on a leash), and don’t leave anything but a good impression behind.
Even if you didn’t make a mess, cleaning up the area around your spot is a respectful act. It helps build a better reputation for the nomad community. Plus, doing the right thing always makes us feel good.
Don’t Impede Traffic
Most lots that allow overnight parking have plenty of space. But that doesn’t mean you can have four spots all to yourself. Be mindful of where you’re parking and how it’ll affect the other cars around you.
If you don’t have to pull your slides out to sleep, consider keeping them tucked in. Also, make sure you can get out before you pull into a lot. You don’t want to get yourself blocked in when morning traffic arrives.
Pro Tip: After visiting Asheville, check out these 7 Amazing Waterfalls in North Carolina.
Overnight in Asheville During Your Adventures
Asheville is a quirky town filled with arts and music, as well as plenty of outdoor adventures worth an overnight trip. And while in the area, you’ll find ample spaces to park for free.
But if you want to switch things up once you’ve had your fill of the city, Pisgah National Forest is just a short drive away. You’ll find plenty of options for primitive camping and sites with more amenities.
When in doubt, you can always count on the nomad community to share their experiences. All you have to do is ask!
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