If you are new to the RV life, you might not yet realize the many different places you can stay outside of the typical RV park. There are plenty of less well-known RV friendly places that allow short and long-term overnight parking. Some provide unique experiences with extra amenities and facilities, while others offer a basic place to park for just the night. Consider these 12 alternatives and get your adventure on!
- Wineries and Vineyards
Wineries, breweries, and distilleries across the country welcome RVs for overnight stays. The best way to do this is to join a membership club like Harvest Host. For a small annual fee, you can park your RV at 500 locations in 49 states and Canada. Volunteer to help out with the harvest or just kick back with a bottle of vino and enjoy the vineyard life.
- Municipal Airports
For aviation enthusiasts, you can park your RV at hundreds of local municipal airports across North America. Whether you are a pilot yourself or just enjoy watching small planes taking off and landing, you will find plenty of airstrips that offer onsite camping facilities. Private pilots and RV travelers have a lot in common, so airport fields are a great place to meet with fellow wanderlust lovers.
- Gambling Casinos
Casinos are generally RV friendly, and many of them have designated RV parks within walking distance of the poker tables. Many casinos provide water, sewer, and electric hookups, shower and laundry facilities, and pools and playgrounds for the kids. Even if they do not offer RV accommodations, most casinos turn a blind eye to overnight parking, as long as you are putting some coins in their slots.
- Urban RV Parks
Most people think of RVing as a way to enjoy nature and the great outdoors, but you can also go on some urban adventures too. You might be surprised to learn that many big cities have RV parking with easy access to their bustling downtown areas. Cities like Chicago and New York have RV parks close enough to walk, bike, or ferry to their city centers.
- Private Property
Once you join the RV community, it is like being part of an exclusive club with benefits you didn’t know about before you bought an RV. Fellow travelers are almost always happy to help, and that can often include allowing you to park on their private property when passing through town. Online membership clubs make it easy to find safe, legal, and free private parking spots.
- Walmart Parking
Walmart is the most common retailer that allows overnight RV parking. This is so common that they even post a list of RV friendly lots online. The general rule of thumb is to blend in and not to be a nuisance. Other retailers often have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, but this can be risky, and security might kick you out at three in the morning.
- Military Installations
Many military recreation facilities offer RV parking to active duty, reservists, and retired veterans. Some of them also allow most government employees and even civilians during certain months of the year. Most of these sites have extensive amenities and facilities available, such as Wi-Fi, restaurants, fitness centers, and exchange stores. These military and government land sites also often allow long-term parking, usually during the slower winter months.
- Luxury Parks
For luxury RV living, there are plenty of upscale parks available. With overnight fees up to $100 per night, they are more like resorts than camping. From amazing ocean views in Key West to luxury yacht clubs in Palm Springs, these country club facilities offer the best money can buy. Many feature spas, golf, watersports, gourmet restaurants, and everything else you would expect from a high-end resort.
- Alaska Ferries
If you have ever wanted to RV in Alaska but didn’t want to drive the 2,000+ miles each way through Canada, you can take a ferry one way and drive back the other. Alaskan ferries can accommodate RVs of all sizes, and there are ports of call all the way from Seattle to the Aleutian Islands. These ferries have become very popular, so reservations are highly recommended.
- Elks and Moose Lodges
Elks and Moose Lodges allow members to park their RVs on lodge properties. This might include the back corner of their parking lot or full-fledged RV parks. There are more than 2,000 Elks Lodges in the U.S., and half of them offer some type of RV accommodation. You must be a member in good standing and some allow non-Elk traveling partners to park with them.
- Small Town Communities
Many small towns gladly welcome RVers in hopes that you will spend money at their local shops, gas stations, and restaurants. As a result, small town RV rules are often more relaxed, allowing overnight stays at local fairgrounds, community parks, or small business lots. Just stop by the local police station and ask them where you can safely and legally park for a night or two.
- UFO Sky Watching
Most RV parks are located away from the light pollution of the cities to provide plenty of stargazing opportunities. If you are interested in searching for more than shooting stars, then you might want to park at a UFO hot spot. Little green men tourist locations, like the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada and the UFO Watchtower in Colorado, welcome RVs for dark sky UFO hunting adventures.