Where to Stay When Campgrounds are Full: A Guide To Alternative Overnight Stays
RV travel has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, and as a result, many traditional campgrounds are now selling out months in advance. While this can be discouraging for those who want to hit the road, you don't have to abandon your travel plans.
There are plenty of alternatives available when traditional campgrounds are fully booked. Whether you choose to go boon docking, park at rest areas, stay at unique locations with Harvest Hosts, or utilize Walmart parking lots and casinos, there are a variety of options for overnight RV parking. So, go ahead and plan your next RV adventure - it's time to hit the road and explore all the beauty this country has to offer!
Boon Docking (Dry Camping)
Boon docking is the act of camping in an RV without hookups in remote locations, such as Bureau of Land Management lands, National Forests, and Walmart parking lots. You can use websites like FreeCampgrounds.com (https://www.freecampgrounds.com/) to find designated boon docking locations.
Some rest areas along highways and interstates allow overnight RV parking, with restrictions. You can find these areas by searching for "rest areas" or "overnight RV parking" on websites such as the Federal Highway Administration's website (https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/) or websites like iExit (https://iexitapp.com/).
This is a membership-based program that allows RVers to spend the night at over 900 wineries, breweries, farms, and other unique locations across the United States and Canada. With a Harvest Hosts membership, you can enjoy a unique camping experience while supporting local businesses and communities. From vineyards and distilleries to museums and historical sites. In addition to the opportunity to stay overnight, members have access to exclusive discounts and events, as well as the chance to learn about the local culture and history of each location. Whether you're looking for a quiet getaway or a lively adventure, Harvest Hosts offers a unique and memorable RV camping experience. Here is the website, https://harvesthosts.com
Walmart Parking Lots
Some Walmart stores allow overnight RV parking in their parking lots. You can check with each store for their specific policies, or use websites like Overnight RV Parking (https://overnightrvparking.com/) to find Walmart locations that allow overnight stays. Walmarts in Las Vegas are very strict and will not allow you to park there overnight.
Some casinos offer overnight RV parking in their parking lots, and you can check with each casino for their specific policies or use websites like CasinoCamper (https://www.casinocamper.com/) to find casinos that allow overnight stays.
Most truck stops allow overnight RV parking, and you can check with each truck stop for their specific policies or use websites like AllStays (https://www.allstays.com/Truck-Parking/Truck-Parking.htm) to find truck stops that allow overnight stays. Truck stops are definitely the noisiest option and because people constantly come and go, it may be a little scary for someone who's never slept at one before.
Shopping Plazas & The Streets (use discretion)
In addition to the above options, camping in shopping plazas or on the street can also be considered as a last resort, as long as it's not illegal and you feel safe. However, it's important to check local laws and regulations before setting up camp in these areas, as some cities and towns may have restrictions on overnight RV parking. Additionally, it's always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and make sure you're parked in a safe location. Always be mindful of the people and neighborhoods around you, and be respectful and considerate of their needs. Don't run the generator so you don't disturb the residents. Avoid major streets and try to look for a quiet residential or commercial neighborhoods instead. Be discreet.
While these options may not always have electric hookups, they offer a level of flexibility and variety in your RV travels. Keep in mind, it's important to check local regulations and restrictions before setting up camp and to follow the Leave No Trace principles to maintain the natural beauty and preserve the environment. So, go ahead and try something new and take your RV adventures to the next level.
(RV in the Alabama Hills, CA)