Where Can You Park Your Camper For Free?

If you’re an avid camper, finding the perfect spot to park your camper can sometimes be challenging. However, did you know there are plenty of places to park your camper for free? That’s right! In this article, we’ll explore the various options available for free camper parking and provide you with valuable information to improve your camping experience. Whether you’re an avid camper or just looking for a budget-friendly way to explore new destinations, this guide will help you make the most of your camper parking experience.

First, Understand the Basics of Free RV Camping

You can park your camper for free at various places, including free campgrounds. However, it’s essential to consider a few things when using free spaces for your RV. The most important thing is to ensure you have permission to park there.

Before diving in, let’s familiarize ourselves with some common terms used in free camping:

Boondocking/Dry Camping

One of the most popular free camping methods is boondocking, or dry camping. Boondocking refers to parking your camper in remote areas, away from developed campgrounds, without hookups. This means you won’t have access to sewer, water, or electric services. However, with proper preparation and self-sufficiency, boondocking can offer a unique and rewarding camping experience.

To make the most of boondocking, ensure your RV is equipped with solar panels or a generator to power your appliances and charge your batteries. You’ll also need to conserve water and manage waste effectively. It’s essential to have a plan to dispose of your black water and the wastewater from your RV’s toilet. This leads us to our next topic.

Black water tank

The black water tank in your RV is designed to hold the wastewater from your toilet. Proper tank management is crucial to avoid unpleasant situations. Regularly emptying and cleaning the tank is vital to maintaining hygiene and preventing odors from permeating your living space.

Blue Boy

A Blue Boy can be a lifesaver when camping without access to a dump station. A Blue Boy is a portable container that allows you to collect and transport your black water to a designated dump station. It provides a convenient way to dispose of your waste without having to move your entire RV.

Bureau of Land Management Land (BLM)

If you’re looking for extended free camping opportunities, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offers a fantastic option. BLM manages vast amounts of public land in the western states, and many of these areas allow free camping for up to 14 days. This means you can immerse yourself in the beauty of nature without spending a dime on campground fees.

However, while BLM land may be free to camp on, it often lacks amenities such as toilets and potable water. As a responsible camper, prepare accordingly by bringing enough water, food, and other necessary supplies for your stay.

Honey Wagon

If you’re camping in an area without access to a dump station or a portable container, a honey-wagon service can help. A honey wagon is a truck equipped with a large holding tank that can efficiently and safely dispose of the black and gray waste from your RV. While this service has a fee, it provides a convenient solution for campers who want to enjoy longer stays without worrying about waste management.

Dump station

Finding a dump station when you’re on the road is essential for maintaining a clean and functional RV. A dump station is a specified area where you can properly and lawfully empty your black and gray water tanks. These stations typically also provide access to fresh water for rinsing and flushing your tanks. Many campgrounds, RV parks, and rest areas offer dump stations for a small fee or sometimes even for free.


If you’re in a pinch and need a quick place to park your camper overnight, Walmart can be a reliable option. Many Walmart stores allow RVs to park in their parking lots for free, a practice known as WallyDocking. While this is not a long-term solution, it can be a convenient and safe stopover for a night of rest during your travels. However, it’s essential to check with the specific Walmart location beforehand, as some may have restrictions or time limits on overnight parking.

Free camping can save money, ensure you adhere to local regulations, respect the environment, and plan for waste disposal.

Can You Park Your Camper for Free? Yes!

You can park your camper for free in various places across the United States. Retail stores like Walmart, Cracker Barrel, Bass Pro Shops, and Cabela often allow RVers to park on their premises. It’s important to check in with the manager and follow their rules.

During our recent trip, we called ahead to a Cracker Barrel to make sure we could park there. They said yes, but the parking lot was nearly full when we arrived, and maneuvering our 37-foot travel trailer was a bit challenging. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan, just in case.

Other options for free parking include home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot and some casinos with designated RV parking areas. Remember to check with the manager for specific rules and always be respectful. If RVers cause issues, these places might stop allowing overnight parking for everyone’s benefit.

Truck stops also offer overnight parking, but make sure to park only in designated RV spots and avoid using amenities meant for trucks. Rest stops generally don’t allow overnight parking, but stopping for a few hours of rest is usually okay. Just remember not to set up camp or take up truck spots.

Other Free and Cheap RV Camping Options

State and National Parks typically charge a fee, but it’s often reasonable. These sites offer limited hookups but provide a serene environment away from crowds, with amenities like bathrooms or pit toilets. This saves you the hassle of dumping waste tanks elsewhere.

Many RVers opt for Harvest Hosts, which involves an annual membership fee of around $100-$150. In return, you gain access to over 2,000 wineries, breweries, farms, and golf courses where you can park for free. Boondockers Welcome, recently acquired by Harvest Hosts, operates on a similar model, offering diverse parking options along your route for an annual fee.

RV LIFE Trip Wizard can help plan routes for those seeking free overnight RV parking, highlighting such locations. Additionally, parking on a friend or family member’s property or BLM land is an option. However, it’s crucial to adhere to any regulations, such as stay limits, and ensure proper waste disposal upon departure.

Boondocking away from established campsites often provides a quieter atmosphere and unobstructed night sky views, attracting many to this lifestyle. Conversely, parking at commercial establishments like Walmart or Cracker Barrel may expose you to noisy highways or roads, so location considerations are important.

Why camp for free?

Boondocking offers a fantastic opportunity to explore the country and enjoy free camping. These sites are often nestled in expansive landscapes, providing ample space for your stay. However, planning ahead is essential as amenities like grocery stores may be miles away. Additionally, safety could be a concern, especially if you’re in a remote area with limited human presence.

Staying on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land is another cost-effective option. While the isolation can be refreshing, it’s worth noting that you might encounter other campers with noisy off-road vehicles nearby. States like Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming boast beautiful BLM lands perfect for dispersed camping, offering tranquility away from crowded RV parks.

Keep in mind that there are regulations for BLM camping, typically allowing stays of up to 14 days within 30 days. You must also maintain a 100-200-foot distance from roads, trails, and water sources. You must also relocate to empty holding tanks and replenish water supplies during your stay. Consider investing in a generator, solar power, or a battery bank for electricity needs.

While enjoying these natural settings, internet access may be limited. A cell phone booster can help improve signal strength without park Wi-Fi, ensuring you stay connected during your adventures.

What do you need to camp for free?

Boondocking in your RV can be incredibly rewarding, but it requires some investment in additional equipment, particularly power sources.

Expanding your battery capacity by adding one or two extra batteries can significantly extend your boondocking time. Additionally, having a generator is crucial if you intend to frequently camp for free. Generators can power essentials like the air conditioner, ensuring comfort even in remote locations. Propane is a reliable option for other appliances like stoves, refrigerators, and furnaces. Harnessing solar power can provide a sustainable energy solution for your boondocking adventures.

What about water and sewer when camping for free?

When searching for free camping spots, you must rely on your onboard water and sewer tanks. This is typically not a concern for short boondocking stays en route to a destination, as the tanks won’t fill up quickly. However, for extended off-grid stays, you must plan trips to dump stations or use portable tanks like a Blue Boy or Honey Wagon.

Before boondocking, ensure your water tanks are full, and consider carrying extra water containers for drinking and washing. Depending on your camping duration, water conservation methods such as sponge baths or using wet wipes can be helpful.

Emptying your holding tanks before boondocking is crucial. Never discharge gray or black tank contents onto the ground. Composting toilets can extend the usability of black tanks while collecting dishwater, which can help delay filling gray tanks. Regardless of your chosen free camping method, enjoy the freedom and savings of self-sufficient camping.

Laws and Regulations for Free Camper Parking

While free camper parking is a convenient option for many travelers, it is important to be aware of the laws surrounding it. Each country, state, and even municipality may have different rules regarding where you can park your camper overnight. Researching and understanding these regulations before embarking on your journey is crucial to avoid any legal issues or fines.

In some areas, overnight parking is strictly prohibited in public spaces, while other places may have designated areas specifically for campers. It is also common for certain restrictions to be in place, such as a maximum number of nights you can stay in one location or requirements for self-contained campers. Familiarizing yourself with these regulations will guarantee a seamless and trouble-free camper parking experience.

To familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations, consult official government websites, travel forums, or local camper associations. These sources often provide up-to-date information on the specific requirements for camper parking in various regions.

The benefits of free camper parking in points

When you choose to park your camper for free, you not only save money but also enjoy several other benefits:

  1. Cost savings: One of the clearest advantages of free camper parking is cost savings. By eliminating campground fees, you can allocate your budget to other aspects of your camping trip.
  2. Flexibility: Free camper parking allows you to explore different locations and change your plans on the go. You’re not tied down to a specific campground or reservation, allowing you to be more spontaneous during your travels.
  3. Closer to nature: Many free camper parking spots are in scenic areas, such as national parks or public lands. By parking for free, you can fully immerse yourself in nature and savor breathtaking views right from your camper.

Free Camper Parking Apps and Websites

In the digital age, numerous apps and websites are dedicated to helping campers find free parking spots. These platforms provide valuable information and user-generated reviews, making it easier than ever to locate suitable parking options. Here are some popular apps and websites to consider:

  1. iOverlander: This app offers a comprehensive database of free and paid camping spots worldwide. Users can contribute their recommendations and updates, ensuring the information remains current and reliable.
  2. Park4Night: Park4Night is a user-friendly app providing detailed information on campers’ overnight parking spots. It includes filters for specific amenities, such as water or electricity hookups, allowing you to find the perfect spot for your needs.
  3. Freecampsites.net: This website features a vast collection of free camping spots across North America. It offers detailed descriptions, user reviews, and photos to help you make an informed decision.
  4. Campendium: Campendium is a famous website and app that provides a comprehensive directory of camping spots, including free options. It includes a user-friendly map interface and allows users to filter spots by amenities and user ratings.

When using these apps and websites, it is important to cross-reference the information with other sources and read recent reviews to ensure accuracy. Remember that availability and conditions may change over time, so having backup options in mind is a good idea.

Safety Considerations for Free Camper Parking

While free camper parking can be a cost-effective and enjoyable way to travel, safety should always be a top priority. Here are some safety considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Research the Area: Before parking in a free camper spot, research the area to ensure it is safe and suitable for overnight stays. Look for information on recent incidents or any known risks in the vicinity.
  2. Park in Well-Lit Areas: When possible, choose well-lit parking spots, as this can deter potential theft or vandalism.
  3. Lock Your Camper: Always lock your camper while away or sleeping inside. This simple precaution can help prevent unauthorized access.
  4. Travel in Numbers: If possible, consider traveling with other campers or joining a caravan. There is safety in numbers; having others nearby can provide an extra sense of security.
  5. Trust Your Instincts: If a parking spot or surrounding area is unsafe, trust your instincts and find an alternative location. Your intuition is a valuable tool for personal safety.

By following these safety considerations and using common sense, you can reduce risks and enjoy a worry-free camper parking experience.

Tips for a Successful Free Camper Parking Experience

To make the most of your free camper parking experience, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Plan Ahead: Research and plan your route, identifying potential free parking spots. This will save you time and ensure you have suitable overnight parking options.
  2. Arrive Early: Free parking spots can fill quickly, especially during peak travel seasons. Getting there early will improve your chances of securing a spot before they fill up.
  3. Be Respectful: When parking in free spots, always respect the environment, residents, and other campers. Follow any posted rules or regulations, and leave the area as you find it.
  4. Conserve Resources: When camping in free spots, conserving resources such as water and electricity is important. Limit water usage, use solar-powered devices, and dispose of waste properly to minimize environmental impact.
  5. Give Back: Consider returning to the community or location where you park your camper. You could do this by volunteering, supporting local businesses, or participating in eco-friendly initiatives.

By following these tips and tricks, you can have a successful and enjoyable free camper parking experience while positively impacting the places you visit.

Alternatives to free camper parking

While free camper parking offers many advantages, it may not always be suitable or available. Here are some alternative options:

  1. Campgrounds: Although they are expensive, campgrounds often provide amenities such as electricity, water hookups, and shower facilities. They can be a convenient option for longer stays or when specific amenities are required.
  2. RV parks: Similar to campgrounds, RV parks offer facilities tailored to camper needs. They may also provide additional services such as Wi-Fi, laundry facilities, and organized activities.
  3. Couchsurfing: Consider joining the Couchsurfing community, where locals offer their homes or properties for travelers to stay. This option allows you to connect with locals and experience the destination uniquely.
  4. Boondocking: Boondocking refers to camping in remote locations without access to amenities. While it may not be entirely free, it offers adventure and solitude for those seeking a more off-grid experience.

Consider these alternatives based on your preferences, budget, and desired comfort level.


Is it legal to park an RV overnight on the street?

The legality of parking an RV overnight on the street varies by city and local regulations. Some municipalities allow it, while others have restrictions or outright bans. Researching and complying with the specific rules in your area is vital to avoid fines or other penalties.

Can I park my RV for free at truck stops?

While some truck stops may allow overnight RV parking, it’s not guaranteed. Policies vary by location, and some may have restrictions or charge a fee for overnight stays. Always check with the truck stop management before assuming you can park there for free.

Are there any smartphone apps or websites that help find free camping spots?

Yes, there are several websites and smartphone apps that can help you find free camping spots. Some popular options include Campendium, FreeRoam, and Boondocking.org. These platforms provide user-generated reviews and information about various free camping locations, including boondocking sites and public lands.

How can I conserve water and energy while boondocking?

Conserving water and energy is crucial when boondocking. Some tips include taking shorter showers, washing dishes efficiently, and using water-saving devices like low-flow faucets and showerheads. To save energy, use LED lights, turn off appliances when not in use, and rely on natural ventilation instead of air conditioning.

Are there any safety concerns when boondocking?

While boondocking can be a rewarding experience, it’s essential to prioritize safety. Choose well-lit and populated areas for parking, lock your windows and doors, and be aware of your surroundings. Having a reliable communication device and emergency supplies in unexpected situations is also advisable.

What are some essential items to have for free camping?

When camping for free, it’s crucial to be self-sufficient. Some essential items to have include a reliable water supply, a portable toilet, a first aid kit, a camp stove, and sufficient food and clothing for your stay.

Is it safe to camp for free in remote areas?

Camping in remote areas can be safe if you take the necessary precautions. Research the area beforehand, inform someone about your plans, and be prepared for emergencies. Trust your instincts and avoid camping in areas with potential hazards.


Free camper parking is an excellent option for travelers looking to save money and enjoy the freedom of the open road. By understanding the laws and regulations, researching available parking spots, and following safety guidelines, you can have a successful and enjoyable camper parking experience. Whether you choose to park in public rest areas or national parks or utilize free camper parking apps, the possibilities for adventure are endless. So pack your bags, hit the road, and discover the joys of free camper parking for your next travel adventure.

Ready to embark on your free camper parking adventure? Start planning your trip today and dive into the incredible options available to you. Remember to research the laws and regulations, use reliable resources to find suitable parking spots, and prioritize safety during your journey. Happy travels!

Ready to hit the road and explore the beauty of free camper parking? Make sure you have a reliable partner for your moving and storage needs. Whether you’re downsizing, renovating, or embarking on a new adventure, SecureSpace offers secure, affordable, and hassle-free solutions for all your storage needs. With convenient locations and flexible options, SecureSpace is your trusted ally on your journey. Visit our website today to learn more and reserve your storage unit!

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